Just as we choose clothes that flatter our skin tones and suit our personalities, it is possible to choose plants and colors that enhance our homes.
Find out which plants–in window boxes or as plantings around your house–will suit your home’s design and personality best. Whether you have a formal home, a rustic one, or a Victorian cottage, there are some great ideas here for everyone:
For a Formal House
Fill window boxes with dramatic plants that have a definite shape: small dwarf Alberta spruce, ivy, hosta, caladium, dwarf boxwood, daffodils, tulips. Paint the boxes the same color as the house trim or shutters. Place a pair of tapering plant stands on either side of the front door to underscore the symmetry.
For a Rustic House
Fill window boxes with fluffy irregular plants: vinca, lobelia, black-eyed Susans, maidenhair fern, trailing snapdragons, zinnias, old-fashioned varieties of flowers. Use weathered wooden boxes, or paint boxes in several gradations of the same color, with the darker ones on the bottom story, and the lightest at the top. Place concrete troughs and urns filled with similar flowers and foliage outside the house.
For a Victorian Cottage
Fill brightly painted window boxes or wire boxes to overflowing with multicolored flowers: violets, phlox, cosmos, Boston fern, petunias, nasturtiums, lavender. Decorate the front porch with potted begonias on a metal plant stand with outstretched arms.
Some Color Ideas
Harmonizing colors are guaranteed to boost interest, while contrasting colors can make an elegant statement.
Hot yellows, oranges, and purples can be toned down with light foliage such as lamb’s ears, dusty miller, silver thyme, sage, and silver mound artemisia. Blue, pink, white, and mauve have a cool effect, shown off beautifully against dark foliage such as ferns, hosta, sweet potato vines, purple basil, black grass, or begonias.
Some Ideas for Planters
Unusual objects–upturned hats, baskets, tin cans, shopping carts, wooden crates, broken pots, even a birdbath–make great planters. Almost any treasure found in an auction or flea market can be turned into a window box of some sort. If the container isn’t waterproof, add a sheet of plastic or a plastic bag to keep the soil from washing away. The container gets more attention if the plantings are simple.
Adapted from Window Boxes Indoors and Out, by James Cramer and Dean Johnson (Storey Books, 1999). Copyright (c) 1999 by James Cramer and Dean Johnson. Reprinted by permission of Storey Books.
Adapted from Window Boxes Indoors and Out, by James Cramer and Dean Johnson (Storey Books, 1999).