Imagine you look out of the window just after waking up in the morning and you see beautiful flowers and plants which makes your whole day, isn’t is amazing. But with growing urbanisation and high rise buildings where even balcony comes at premium cost, It is hard to have this dream come true. However, with problem comes solution. Window Box Gardening is a way to create miniature garden just outside your window.
Beautiful garden in small place – That’s the essential appeal of window boxes. So , if you are thinking of having a window garden which will summon a lovely fragrance into your home, here are simple things to keep in mind to start the project.
Choosing the Right Container – The initial step is to identify the container which matches the style of your house. There are many options available in the market from wooden, plastic, terracotta to aluminium, iron or ceramic. Each one has its own advantage like plastic is lightweight while terracotta offers porosity.
Second important factor is the size of the container. A window box looks good if its length is within a couple of inches of the size of the window. However you can experiment by taking long or short boxes. Boxes should also be at least 8 inches wide to provide room for growth and 8 inches deep for the roots.
If you are living in a multistory building, don’t forget to put trays under box( or pots ) to avoid excess water from trickling down on neighbours or spoiling the building’s facade.
SUNNY SIDE – While choosing the window it is very necessary to consider the amount of sunlight window receives. There are roughly three categories of sunlight- Full sun (more than 6 hours of direct sun light), Partial sun or Partial shade(6-2 hours of direct sunlight) and Shaded (less than 2 hours of direct sunlight). Also consider direction of your window, like south facing window receives maximum light. Keep in mind that the strength of the sun in summer differs from that in winter.
Plant ferns, philodendrons, impatiens, anthurium, begonias and peace lily for shaded garden while for partial shade plant asparagus fern, bromeliad, clematis, English ivy, hydrangea etc. If you want fragrant garden, then plant flowers like roses, rajnigandha, clematis and raat ki rani. You can also convert your window box into small kitchen garden by planting vegetables and herbs.
SOIL – Always look for the soil mixes that are especially made for container garden as they are light-weight and retain moisture better. 2:1:1 ratio of red earth, compost and sand or coco peat works well. In addition keep the plant healthy by adding good organic fertiliser every two week.
WATERING – It is quite possible to forget watering plants when they are outside the window. Also high wind and direct sunlight dry out the soil in window boxes faster. If you are frequent traveller and don’t have someone to water plants, then also your plants will dry out. So in such case fixed irrigation system with a timer is great idea. Also you can make a hole in the cap of a bottle, fill it up and dig it into the soil inverted.
Also at the same time don’t over-water, it will rot the roots and kills the plant.
KEEP THE BEAUTY – Window box garden not only looks beautiful to you, also creates magic for onlookers. So arrange your box carefully. You can plant opt for proven “thriller, filler, spiller” formula that puts tall plants in the back or center, shorter and mounding ones in the middle or on the sides (petunias, pansies and impatiens) and trailing plants, creepers and climbers in the front or on the edges.
Overcrowding is a common mistake that people make with window gardens, so space your plants at least 6 to 8 inches apart.
PROTECTION – Side effect of having a high rise window box garden is that it tends to attract birds and squirrels, so keep them away by putting sources of food and water. You can also use toothpicks, reflective paper or CDs to frighten birds.
Keep using natural pesticides to protect your miniature garden.
• While planting annuals, loosen their roots a bit.
• The soil in window boxes tend to get compact, so loosen it often.
• Don’t plant in topsoil as it will rot your plant out.
• Water the plants before planting while they are in plastic bags or pots.
• Don’t combine two different types of plants in one window box (e.g.; drought tolerant and plants that want more water).