First up, congrats to Jill H.! I drew her name at random to win my giveaway of paint from Dixie Belle’s new Desert Collection. I’ve got a couple more giveaways planned for the next month or two, so if you didn’t win this time, don’t give up. There will be more chances coming soon.
Well dear readers, I have to confess that I have pulled a fast one. Mr. Q and I were in Charleston, South Carolina over the past two weeks. I probably err on the side of caution, but I’ve always felt it unwise to broadcast it to the world when our house is going to sit empty … well, semi-empty anyway. Our cat, Lucy, was on guard duty. And Ken kept an eye on Lucy, and things in general, from next door.
But now we are back! And we had an amazing time. So, fair warning, you’re going to see a few Charleston themed posts coming up because I took a lot of photos. Charleston has to be one of the prettiest places I’ve ever visited. It has a lot going for it, gorgeous old homes, stunning gardens, delicious food, and lots of history.
I’ll be sharing more on all of those things, but for today I wanted to share something that I saw all over the place in Charleston … beautiful window boxes!
As you may know, we have several window boxes at our house. So I was definitely scoping out the various combinations of plants to get ideas for my own window boxes this year.
One trend that I noted in Charleston were window boxes that included some perennials in the mix rather than just relying on flowering annuals. The lime green heuchera in the box below is gorgeous combined with pansies and petunias.
Here is another box that used the same lime green heuchera.
I love how they used a lemon cypress to add some vertical interest in the middle of that one too. I may have to copy that idea.
This next box includes a deep purple heuchera that contrasts beautifully with the variegated leaves of that tropical looking plant (I don’t know what that plant is, so if any of you are familiar with it please be sure to leave a comment to let us know).
That box is a great example of using foliage rather than flowers to make a statement.
I would guess that you can keep perennials alive in a window box year round in the southern climate of Charleston (hardiness zone 8). Unfortunately, here in Minnesota our winter temps get far too low to keep most perennials from freezing beyond recovery unless they are in the ground. The rule of thumb for a perennial surviving winter in an above ground planter is to choose a plant with a hardiness zone two times lower than your normal zone. Since the twin cities are a zone 4, I’d need to find plants hardy to zone 2 before I could expect them to survive the winter in a planter.
Of course, I could also simply treat the heuchera (or any perennial) as an annual and replant it every year.
I saw a few other options for more permanent window box plants, like boxwood.
At least I’m fairly sure that’s boxwood (if any of you know differently, let me know). There aren’t many varieties of boxwood that do well in my area, so I’m not that familiar with it. But I love the idea of underplanting an evergreen of some kind with flowering annuals.
Here’s another example of a box using an evergreen.
There were a few gardeners who were really thinking outside the box (pardon the pun) when it came to plant choices for their window boxes.
I love the use of cyclamen in this one …
And how unique is the use of orchids in this next one?
Now, I’m not sure, but I believe that big round leafed plant is a leopard plant (Farfugium japonicum). Apparently this plant used to be considered a ligularia, but has been reclassified.
Here is it in another box …
I saw quite a lot of this plant growing in the ground as well. Clearly whatever it’s called, it does very well in the Charleston climate.
I would never have thought to use a calla lily in a window box, and here it is combined with more of that lime green heuchera and some yellow pansies creating an amazing bright pop of color.
I have to admit I’m not usually a huge fan of yellow, but that combination is gorgeous.
I’m going to go off on a tangent for just a moment and admire the green color on those shutters and how beautifully it works with the plant choices in the window boxes as well.
Around the other side of this same house, they went in a slightly different direction with their plant choices incorporating some purple tones.
I saw window boxes with more monochromatic themes in Charleston too.
Such as this one with white begonias, euphorbia and bacopa.
And this one in purply pinks.
I was thinking that tall plant is a mandevilla. I’ve only seen mandevilla’s as a vine, but apparently they come in a mounding variety as well. Or maybe that is a different plant entirely, does anyone know?
The cool color scheme of this next one with its pop of blue pansies and purple Scaevola aemula combined with white alyssum and snap dragons really appeals to me.
You’d have to swap out the pansies when the weather becomes too hot for them (they like it cool). I’m guessing that the owner of this window box pulls them out and puts something else in for summer.
I was especially impressed by the combination of gerbera daisies and kalanchoe in this next window box. Those pinks match each other almost perfectly.
And to cap it off, this one was decorated for Easter.
See what I mean? There are little eggs tucked in here and there. It’s subtle, and I love it.
As you can see, everywhere I looked in Charleston I saw gorgeous window boxes.
I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing them as much as I did. I’ve certainly come away with a few ideas that I plan to use in my own window boxes this year (you know, once they finally thaw out). How about you? Do you have any favorite plants, or combination of plants that you like to use? If so, be sure to leave a comment and let us know!
I also hope you’ll stay tuned for more posts about our recent trip to Charleston.