April2010-windowbox-KimJeffery

DIY Windowbox

Freshening up the outside of your house with flowers is a rite of spring, and it doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive to be beautiful. Meredyth Hilton, owner of Toronto garden design-build firm, Artistic Gardens, created this bountiful windowbox of seasonal blooms in a soft palette of pastels to brighten any façade and create a cheery view from inside. Plus, it does double-duty as a Provençal-style culinary garden because the flowers (hyacinth, hellebores and trailing campanula) are nestled in a bed of fresh herbs. Just install it outside a kitchen window, then snip the oregano, sage, and parsley for easy last-minute seasonings and garnishes. Hilton’s trick to get instant results? Using adaptable, greenhouse-grown “plug” plants means you can easily put it together at home — no green thumb required!

Photo Basket DIY Windowbox

Step 1: Choose an open basket, like this wrought-iron hanger, that will expose more of the lush arrangement. Basket, $79, Walsh Mountain.

Photo Moss DIY Windowbox

Step 2: Line the box with preserved or fresh sheet moss, then landscape fabric (or filter cloth, not shown), which lets water escape, but holds soil in place.

Photo Flowers DIY Windowbox

Step 3: Fill with potting soil, then cluster “plug” plants (these are hardier than seedlings; find them at nurseries and grocery stores) and herbs tightly into soil. The flowers should last up to four weeks, and the herbs through the summer.

Step 4: Fasten the box to the windowsill or house’s exterior wall securely with screws, keeping in mind that the box will get much heavier when watered.

Tips for Perfect Planting

  • Always use potting soil. Regular soil will harden and prevent water from penetrating to the plant roots, inhibiting growth.
  • In summer, swap in vibrantly coloured blooms. Try a warm purple and orange palette of nasturtiums, marigolds and pansies.

Get more gardening and DIY ideas in our Long Weekend Guide and Gardening & Outdoor Living section.

Author:
Katie Gougeon
Photographer:
Kim Jeffery
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