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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Window Box- Window box-- How do You Do? Tootsie Tip #2

I have decided to link this post to Welcome Wednesday. Thank you to the lovely host blog!

Please join me in revisiting my Tootsie Tips Posts. They have been updated and revised a little bit, and I thought that this might be a good time to get inspired and take a peek!

Window boxes are among the containers that every gardener dreams of having.
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This one hung on the front of my house. It faces North.

There are unlimited options for planting a window box, and this can be daunting for many people. When I first started to plant pots and containers, I was overwhelmed with all the different things that the garden books and the garden centers offered for such a task.


How HARD can that be?

I am here to tell you that it does not have to be a tough choice or a high maintenance project!

You simply need to make a few decisions.

First, you will need to decide WHERE you plan to put the window box in your garden. Will you be placing it on the fence? On the side of your house? On the patio? Will it be in the sun or the shade? Do you wish for it to have flowing/trailing plants or just upright and tidy- or both? Do you want loads of glorious color or just foliage.....

Once you know where and how big your window box will be, you will need to plan for the things you will need to have in order to make your plan a reality!

If you don't already have a window box you will need to purchase one and the appropriate brackets to hold it.
There are several different types of window box available to us. The only prerequisite is your decorative preferences!

There are the wire ones that you will need to add a liner to in order to keep the soil from falling out. These are very decorative and can be found in almost any style, size,and price range.
I have used this system before. I purchased a pretty wire window hanger, and added one of the moss-type liners to it. I did not use anything else in it but the liner, and was very disappointed. Not only did I need to replace the liner the following year (and they are not cheap), but the whole container garden did not do well at all! The soil would leach out and run down the side of my building every time I watered. I also had to water much more often , as the liner is all natural, and it allowed the soil to become very dry very quickly. (much like a clay pot versus a plastic pot does) It did not retain much moisture for the reserve that the plants needed during the warmest parts of the day.

This issue called for some serious Tootsie Thought. I mulled it over during the winter months, and this is the solution I came up with:

I took my wire window box, and put the new (and rather hard to find -not to mention over priced) window box liner inside it. Next I added a small kitchen garbage bag. I simply opened a garbage bag, and positioned it the same way I would if I were putting it into a garbage can. It did not fit perfectly, but that's okay, as no one would see it anyways. I filled the open bag with potting soil, and proceeded to plant my annuals into it. Once the planting was done and enough soil packed into the bag to fill the liner...I watered the whole thing. After I watered, I took a pencil and poked a few holes in the bottom, and a couple on the sides. Just stab through the basket liner into the plastic bag to allow for proper drainage. This will solve the issue of over watering the pot, but will not allow the whole thing to dry out as quickly. After all the planting, watering and drainage hole creation, trim your bag with a pair of scissors. Tuck in the last bits of plastic that may be showing and you are done!

The photo below shows the finished project!


Once the window box has matured, you will never know that the plastic bag is there! You can use any color of bag-even clear-or perhaps a grocery bag....just so long as it is a piece of plastic that will help retain the necessary moisture! It's just that simple!


(above: sweet potato and lobelia)

Now...what exactly will you be wanting to plant in these window boxes?


(above: a window box planted with swedish ivy that has been set onto a saw horse…gone wild!)

A window box can be placed anywhere. The style or type does not matter a bit. It is the plants you put into that window box that will determine your over all outcome.
If you are planting in a very sunny location, and want some plants that enjoy hot summer days....perhaps considering portulaca as the edging all the way around would be practical. Portulaca is a drought resistant and very heat/sun loving plant. Marigolds, petunias, short snap dragons, Osteospermum and Dwarf Dahlias are nice choices for window boxes. Wave petunias or Bacopa will flow over the edges and cause a nice hanging display....the plants available in your local garden center will help determine this.


This one hangs on the door under the has lobelia, Trailing Geranium....

Full sun! Gerber Daisys...

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Same box...different look.....Geranium and wave petunia.

These have cheap plastic window boxes inside the wooden frame...full sun/part shade....


(above : Swedish Ivy and lobelia mixed with Geraniums)

If you are planting in a partly shaded location, lobelia, alyssum, bacopa, impatiens, snap dragon, Gerber daisy, and nicotana are nice to use. They thrive in a little cooler conditions, but will also do well in sunny locations.

Plants in partly shaded locations do not need as much watering as do those in the hot summer sun. The one below is in my shadier area...on the kid's play set.


This one hangs across from the other on the side of the liner at all...just plastic grocery bag....Pansy and Lobelia


Same planter...different year...the one below has Calibrachoa and Swedish ivy.

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So you see...with a little planning and some creative thought...a window box is a thing of simple beauty!

What do you plant in a window box?

If you would like to share some of your window box photos…click over to the Tootsie Time Facebook page and leave a photo there! I would love to see!

Until Next time… are you almost ready for the Fertilizer Friday Flaunting??? I can't wait to see what you all share this week!

Happy Gardening!

*)*)*) (you know who you are) MWUAH!

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