My friend Nate, a landscaper, can often be heard saying something like this: “Well, if three plants are good, a dozen is even better, right?” So it’s not suprising to me that he has a windowbox on his house that’s almost 10 feet long. Oh yeah, there are two of them.
The antique wooden boxes, decorated with an elegant scroll pattern, were found in an old barn behind his house. With a little repair and some paint, the boxes were perfect for his yellow farmhouse. One box is mounted beneath a pair of windows on the back side of the house, looking as if it were custom made. The other fits perfectly along the back-porch railing.
Every year, he and his wife, Stacy, come up with a new combination of annuals for the boxes. This year, they chose a harmonious blend of blues and purples, featuring blue anagallis, angelonia, pentas and a couple types of verbena. At planting time, they mix slow-release fertilizer into fresh potting soil. To keep it flowering through the season, they feed every two weeks or so with water-soluble fertilizer.
In designing such a long windowbox, it helps to repeat a theme, using a limited number of plants, as Nate and Stacy have done. The harmonious colors ensure continuity instead of chaos. A box with too many colors and shapes might overpower the graceful lines of the antique windowbox.
“Spacing the plants is the trick,” Nate says. “We wanted a good rhythm but didn’t want to repeat a pattern. So, the order of the plants isn’t identical, and some are positioned slightly off-center. This technique, which we have only tried this year, gives it a shabby-chic feel. You can tell there is something to it, but it isn’t all Church Lady.”
Here at Gardener’s Supply, we created an extra-long box with two of our 39″ Self-Watering Windowboxes. We used them to line each side of a large arch that leads to our display gardens. Because the arch is quite grand, we needed something that could fit the scale, and the windowboxes, because they are modular, work perfectly.