May 17, 2010
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!
Step 1: Choose an open basket, like this wrought-iron hanger, that will expose more of the lush arrangement. Basket, $79, Walsh Mountain.
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.
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.