I don’t usually read fashion magazines, but living with a teenage daughter means there’s usually a stack of them lying around somewhere in the house.
While I can pass by them without feeling the urge to read ‘The Top 10 Must-Have Heels For Summer’, I’ll admit I’m a sucker for titles such as ‘10 Ways to Wear 1 Dress.’
So, with a slightly different twist, here’s my own version where the star isn’t the little black dress, but a copper and iron window box that I change throughout the year.
1. Summer Hummer-Haven
The window box I’m featuring in this article is one that I found many years ago at Smith & Hawkins (RIP.)
It’s mounted at the base of a narrow kitchen window, which allows me to discreetly watch all the hummingbirds that visit.
Sometimes I feel like a Peeping Tom, spying on these little birds while sipping my cup of coffee.
2. Introducing Fall Colors
Keeping the echeveria ‘Topsy Turvy’, the euphorbia ‘Ascot Rainbow’, and the trailing Creeping Fuchsia, I wanted to create a window box that would easily transition into fall and winter.
First, I removed the spent million bells and re-located the columbine to another part of my garden.
Next, I added a long-lived kalanchoe tomentosa ‘Chocolate Soldier’, with its fuzzy brown foliage, and the glowing orange flowers of bidens ‘Campfire.’
The combination is one of my favorites, and no one can resist passing by without touching the kalanchoe!
3. Delightful & Drought Tolerant
The following summer, I switched out the colors of this window box, focusing on plants that have softer colors in shades of blue-silver, pink, and yellow.
The plants also needed to require little water so as not to cause root-rot in the succulents.
Hands down, the star of this window box is the ptilotus ‘Joey.’ Its unusual flowers are feathery textured with unique coloring – pale pink and silver, tipped with a teeny-tiny little spot of bright pink at the very end.
Ptilotus is very low-water and is the perfect companion plant to neighboring echeveria ‘Topsy Turvy’ and euphorbia myrsinites.
And once the ‘Topsy Turvy’ blooms, it’s a veritable hummingbird feast.
Colorful salmon and pink flowers slowly unfurl on long, slender stalks that last for weeks, adding a burst of color to this otherwise tranquil color combination.
4. Fall’s Cool Colors
With this next design, I decided to keep in place the echeveria ‘Topsy Turvy’ and euphorbia myrsinites from the previous window box design (see above.)
However, I added richness to the color combination by including darker, vibrant colors in the blue, magenta, and burgundy families.
At first I wasn’t a fan of the dark burgundy-brown colors of the ornamental oxalis ‘Zinfandel’ foliage combined with the magenta colors of the stock and the neighboring silver-blue of the echeveria.
I needed to find a way to introduce harmony within this trio of seemingly disparate colors.
So, I added a bright chartreuse Creeping Jenny (lysimachia) which would help pull out the yellow colors of the oxalils flowers.
And, when the euphorbia myrsinites bloomed with its acid-yellow flowers, I was thrilled with the entire color combination.
Isn’t it funny how adding a particular color can tie everything together?
5. Echoes in the Shade (even though the title says ‘4’, I thought I’d throw in a freebie!)
After falling in love with the first window box, I decided I had to get another one to mount on the north-facing wall of my office.
Instead of changing out the design seasonally, I wanted this window box to look good every day of the year.
Therefore, instead of relying on a plant’s fleeting flowers for color, I focused on plants that had year-round interest. I wanted to emphasize the lush feeling of this part of my garden, so I chose plants with various shades of green and burgundy/maroon.
Burgundy tones are found in just about every plant in this window box:
– the stems of the ‘Lady in Red’ hydrangea
– the stems of the crassula ‘Calico Kitten’ succulent
– the new foliage of the Rosy Maidenhair Fern (adiantum hispidulum)
– the tiny little flowers of the fuchsia thymifolia