Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Planting Windowboxes -- No pane, no gain!

It began with one.  Soon they grew--and multiplied. A bit of a theme for gardeners.  Windowboxes.  Small, contained minigardens, at your windowsill.  The eye is drawn outwards from in, and homewards for the inbound. 

Ours don't retire in the winter.  Before the soil freezes, I fill them with an eclectic (and cheap) collection of twigs, branches, figures and a few dozen varied sprigs from the local dollar shop.  If you haven't looked lately, these are not your momma's artificial flowers. Once frosted with snow, they create a beautiful celebration of winter.  The full boxes add depth and character and send a message to those who approach that the place is loved and cared for.

Chose a base stem such as a pine, holly or spruce.  About eighty percent of the box should be filled with a similar base.  Don't line them up like soldiers, but begin in the center, plugging the stems into the soil at a slight inward angle (close to forty five degrees) decreasing the angle moving towards the outside of the window.  Slightly higher in the back for volume.  Save the most interesting pieces for last, placing them near the center.

Heavy concrete or other outdoor pots which just don't quite make it back to the garage in the fall can be filled in the same way. A home whose porch pots are filled with pine and other greens and winter browns feels so approachable.

I like to set aside nut buds, dried catttails and squiggly sticks that come in flower arrangements to use in my windows long after the cut flowers are composted and gone. Any interesting branches  various and sundry garden elves, angels (and a few demons) eventually find their way into these constant works in progress. Reuseable, the stems get stored in a cardboard box once spring takes over.

Just like the local discount store, these boxes are never the same place twice.  Gardeners are artists with dirtier tools.  Windowboxes are a creative outlet for busy lives.

                            Dig in!