Pinterest

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

How to Plant a Cottage-Style Window Box


What brings to mind the cozy look of a cottage more than a window box?  At least that's what I thought when we first moved into our small cottage-esque starter home so many years ago.  While our house is not quaint or very special on its own, adding a large custom built window box made it feel more like the cottage inspired home and garden we were looking for.
  

My love of the cottage look is in the small collection of flower beds surrounding our home.  I define cottage-style as a loose, informal grouping of classic annual flowers reminiscent of times gone by.  I don't stick with any strict rules that they have to be cottage flowers, but it's more of an unconstrained, informal type planting.  No orderly plantings here, but only what feels like you would find in a field of wildflowers.  So here is some loose guidelines for you to plant your own amazing cottage style window box.


1. Start with a great loose soil that is has potting soil and a mix of perilite, vermiculite or other soil lightener. 
Great soil is always key when container planting.  You want something that has good drainage, is light yet is able to retain enough moisture that you don't have to water constantly.  I have to admit I reuse my soil year after year and freshen it up with every new planting.  I've yet to have any problems with soil disease (thankfully) and it has saved me lots of $$$.  You can decide if you want to do this...the flowers I plant are very hardy and as you can see, it doesn't affect their growth. 
 

 2. Choose plants that are tall, medium and spreading.
Here I have Tall Ageratum in the back, Black and Blue Salvia in the middle section alone.  I also have Zinnia "White Profusion" on the ends with begonias tucked in here and there for a shot of bright color.
This is basic when planting a one sided container.  Tall growers in the back and medium or spreading plants in the front depending on the growing space in your box.  It's important to use "untidy" flowers in order to get that free form cottage look.  Really read your flower labels and check out other planters in the garden center to get ideas from what they've created.  Don't be afraid to ask them what plants they used when you find something you like.
  

3. Try to use some unusual or uncommon flowers in your box and fill in with less expensive flowers.
The salvias are a bit pricey, but I find I only need two of them to fill out the box.  They grow quickly and I don't have to wait long for the box itself to become lush with flowers.  I like to buy flats of other easy to grow and common flowers to use in the box and my other containers.
I also like to "overplant" my flowers in order to get them to fill in quickly.  I can do this when the flowers aren't overly expensive.  Impatiens and begonias are flower varieties that fill out quickly and are great for shade.   


4. Look for butterfly and hummingbird flower varieties.
The salvia I use every year because they attract hummingbirds like crazy.  I would much rather plant flowers to attract them than use feeders as I don't want to keep up the feeders.  I know it sounds lazy, but what can I say...I'm being honest!
These salvia get quite tall and the first year I planted them I was embarrassed by their height.  However, once the hummingbirds came, I was all about these beauties.  By planting such tall flowers, I have a great view of them AND the wildlife from inside the house. The ageratum and zinnia attract lots of butterflies too.


5. Be sure to use a long term fertilizer followed by a liquid fertilizer. 
This is essential for a beautiful window box.  Fertilize ( I use an organic one) and water daily once summer's heat hits. My early flower box plantings were less than impressive until I talked to a friend who had a beautiful box.  I asked her the secret and she said to fertilize it.  Simple enough but so important to get that lush growth and amazing blooms that make your garden really stand out.


That's it.  Nothing too complicated but so wonderful to look at.  My favorite thing to plant every year is our double window flower box.  I always like to imagine what it will look like year after year as I tend to experiment with flower choices (except the salvia).  

Hope this inspires you to be creative this year with your plantings.  Have fun!  

What's your favorite cottage -style flower?

For more on flower plantings, check out my post...Container Plant How-To's

Blessings!

Simple Lives Thursday

 


Linked to these amazing blog parties... Empty Your Archive
Waste Not Want Not Wednesday Seasonal Celebration Wednesdays
Wildcrafting Wednesdays Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways
Simple Lives Thursday Homestead Barn Hop
Farmgirl Friday 

21 comments:

  1. I love your flower boxes and have them on my wish list for this summer. I see more hummingbirds at my flowering hosta's than at my feeder. Thanks for all of the great suggestions.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Di! It's so true about the hostas...I never liked the flowers until I saw the hummingbirds love them - so glad I have them now!

      Delete
  2. It is so pretty! I love it! I like your tip of using plants that are tall, medium, and spreading. I would normally just choose one type of flower, but choosing all different types would make it much more interesting.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Tammy. I have a hard time deciding on just one so I like to experiment with something different every year. :)

      Delete
  3. What a great idea, thanks for the tips, it looks really pretty :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Beautiful! Thank you for sharing it with us on Wildcrafting Wednesday! :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Beautiful! I love that variety of salvia too. How delicate! Thanks so much for sharing it on Waste Not Want Not Wednesday, I’ve pinned it.

    Also, I’d love for you to link up your blog to my new OAS & GF Bloggers page, a place to connect with other bloggers who sometimes write about being gluten free or having oral allergy syndrome : ) http://www.poorandglutenfree.blogspot.com/p/links.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much Danielle and thanks for the invite!!

      Delete
  6. That's beautiful! I love cottage style anything really, especially gardens.

    We'd love it if you would link up your post at our Creative HomeAcre Blog Hop!
    http://acultivatednest.com/2013/05/the-creative-homeacre-blog-hop/

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thanks so much for the invite!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We loved having you link up at the Creative HomeAcre Blog hop, Nancy. This is a really helpful and detailed post, and what beautiful photos. Hope to see you next time! http://mumtopia.blogspot.com/2013/05/creative-home-acre-hop-co-hosting-2.html

      Delete
    2. Thank you for hosting!!

      Delete
  8. What a beautiful window box! I have always wanted one underneath my living room window ~ but how do you attach the box itself to your house or the outside of the window? Is there any way to do so without drilling holes into the house? Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! I believe ours is mounted with screws with a wood piece behind the box (It's a wooden one make with treated wood.) It's been there over 16-17 years and still going strong. I'm not sure how to mount them without screws but I put a link here that I found that may help. Hope you're able to install one to enjoy at home...I've loved having ours all these years - it's my favorite thing to plant! :)

      Delete
  9. Hello,
    Over at Hibiscus House you were just featured! Thanks for everything.
    Dolly
    http://hibiscushouse1.blogspot.com/2013/05/farmgirl-friday-108-and-happy-mothers.html

    ReplyDelete
  10. This is beautiful!! You really have a knack for flowers. Can you come to my house and plant my window box :-).
    Shawna

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much...wouldn't that be a great job to have? Plant window boxes for people...love! :)

      Delete