Thursday, April 26, 2012

Window boxes

Most of my friends know of my great admiration of the Europeans and their great zeal for gardening.  I am the president of a college garden club and in our meetings I feel like I am always making references to one of two things:  a.) hydrangeas, or b.) Europeans!  Thankfully I have a good deal of English and Dutch blood so my green thumb is more like a green hand!

For several years I wanted to become a residential architect.  I believe that my keen eye (and appreciation!) for aesthetics is derived from years and years of cultivating flowers.  Well let me just say that those Europeans know how to make a house look good!  Their windows, doors, trimwork, and their gardens are generally a bit more "refined" than the average American residence.  Even the smallest, dinkiest Euro cottage is likely to be significantly more attractive (one might say "charming") than the smallest, dinkiest American shack.  I think I know one of their secrets....

Enter my appreciation for window boxes.  I love the things.  So do those Old Worlders across the pond.

Not only are they nice to look at and can they "soften" the facade of a house, but they are a cool way to maximize one's effective gardening space (which is certainly the primary reason why they are generally more prevalent in urban gardens in Paris, Rome, Berlin, others).  A few American cities are particularly noteworthy for beautiful window boxes, especially Boston's Beacon Hill neighborhood (probably my favorite urban district in this country) and essentially anywhere in Charleston and Savannah, two of our most gorgeous American cities.

While we do not have bona-fide window boxes (i.e. underneath, well, windows) we do have window boxes along the railing of our backyard deck.  For a space such as a deck, it is a great idea to use plants that attract butterflies or hummingbirds.  Dinner is always fun when there's some entertainment, right?

One of the things that fascinates me most about container gardening (e.g. pots, boxes) is the infinite number of beautiful "recipes" as they are called.  Equally fascinating is the equally infinite number of bad ones.  If you have window boxes, what do you like to grow in them?  I try new combinations each year so please share any ideas or suggestions that you may have!  In the meantime, please enjoy the pictures below--they provide a snippet of the endless opportunities for window box gardening!

from 10
(Acorn Street in Beacon Hill, possibly the most beautiful street in the US)

from This Old House

from TravelPod
(those Europeans strike again!)

Nothing shy of perfection!  This might be my favorite window box picture ever.

Extra stunning because of its simplicity!

from Lakeshore Images