This colorful window box faces east and receives a lot of morning light.
Last August I wrote a post about the annual containers at my family’s home in Maine (click on the link to read it). It turned out to be one of my most popular posts so I thought I would show you the 2012 containers. As I have mentioned before, this is the only gardening that I do around the house because I want to keep the beautiful native plant habitat in tact. I recently removed the existing perennial garden and replaced it with native hydrangeas (click here to read about that project).
The containers consist of a set of window boxes and a large terra cotta pot by the front door. As you can see in the first of the two photos above, the window boxes are over the new hydrangea bed on the front or street side of the house. The location faces east and receives morning sun—it is not full shade. The second photo shows that the window boxes are directly below what is my kitchen window, which means that the plants have to be lower, no more than 12 to 18 inches. In container parlance that means fillers and spillers but no tall thrillers. The plants are viewed even more from inside so they have to look good from both sides.
I like the crammed look for containers so mine always have lots of plants in them. Spilling out the sides of the two boxes are ‘Callie Orange’ million bells while white annual lobelia and ‘Midnight Lace’ sweet potato vine cascade out the middle. The fillers, which I also find thrilling, are the lime green coleus ‘Wasabi’ and the purple coleus ‘Spitfire’, two shorter varieties. Filling in between the coleus and the spillers are a medium purple petunia and a very dark purple verbena. Although the verbena is not visible in the photo because it was taking a break, it so beautiful that it is worth putting up with its intermittent bloom.
The above two photos are of the large container by the front door also facing east and getting morning sun, although a little less because of the rhododendron. I usually use a color scheme in this container to compliment the eggplant-colored front door, and my go to plant for height is often purple fountain grass (see last year). This year I decided to use variegated shell ginger, Alpinia zerumbet ‘Variegata’, which I got as a member dividend from the Scott Arboretum. It has two foot long, feather like, yellow-streaked leaves and reaches six to eight feet. Unfortunately, though very healthy, it refused to grow higher than a foot and is plugging along happily behind the coleus. So no tall thriller here either!
This beautiful coleus called ‘Sedona’ does have the gorgeous orange red color of the Sedona area, but the iPad camera refused to capture it no matter what time of day, light conditions, or angle I chose.
I try to have the window boxes and the large pot echo each other so I use some of the same or similar plants. This larger container has a frilly underskirt of ‘Callie Orange’ million bells with a froth of ‘Midnight Lace’ sweet potato vine above it. I could choose taller coleus for this container so I used the intriguing ‘Fishnet Stockings’ and the colorful ‘Sedona’.
Perhaps I have given you some ideas for your own container plantings in 2013. I am sure some of these plants would work in shadier sites, but I am hesitant to recommend a plant for a condition in which I have not tried it.
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