Bring on the fall, am I right? I used to cling to summer come Labor Day weekend, but since having Caroline (and becoming a homeowner), I’ve been longing for cooler temperatures. It feels less wasteful to spend most of the day inside with the kids when the sun isn’t taunting me out the window. So my mind has turned to fall projects and at the top of my list is updating my window boxes.
Long before we bought our house and installed said window boxes, I was a container gardener. I hadn’t had a garden of my own since I was a kid, so the second I moved to an apartment with enough room for a few planters, I dove in. It wasn’t anything glamorous, just a few pots in the driveway in front of my parking spot, but I dreamed of the day when I’d have an entry way and back patio to adorn to my heart’s content.
Since buying our house last spring, I’ve been able to indulge in YEARS of planting fantasies, but quickly realized that it adds up fast – especially when you’re outfitting 60 inch window boxes on a seasonal basis. Before Pinterest, I used to snap pictures of exceptional window boxes and planters (OK, I still do this) and tear photos from magazines (ditto) to hoard for the day when I’d need ideas for my future garden, but it’s an exercise in frugality to figure out a way to do most of them on a budget.
As I was perusing the web for ideas, I started to notice some themes and thought it might be worth sharing for my fellow New England gardeners looking to add some fall color to their front entrances and patios, like me. Here are a few examples that caught my eye.
In the example above, there is a lot working for this. The dark, textured shutter paired with the rich wood tone of the door makes the planter contents really pop. The hardscaping (in this case, the stairs) give gorgeous texture as well. I always try to repurpose things in my garden for my planters, so I love that it looks like these planters rely heavily on snapdragons. I’ll definitely remember to plant some in a rusty hue next year so I’m ready come fall.
This is an excellent example of budget container gardening. The chartreuse foliage spilling over the side is sweet potato vine (one of my favorite trailing plants) and it’s SO easy to propagate. I usually buy just one plant a season, then snip it up and strip some of the leaves, then stick the pieces into juice glasses and leave on a sunny windowsill until I see roots forming, then I just pop them into some potting soil and tend them lovingly until I have a strong plant to transplant. Voila! I actually just purchased a purple version to do the same thing for my fall planters.
Here’s an excellent example of how the right planters, scale, and texture can make or break your planters. I LOVE the industrial feel of the corrugated metal planters and the use of edibles (that’s Swiss chard leafing out of the top planter) amidst the grass. I recently finished a great book about incorporating your garden in with your flowers and it has really influenced how I approach my borders. Next summer I’m going to really work on this a bit more. Grasses are one of my favorite container additions, so if you were going to buy one item for a planter, this would be my pick since I’m not familiar with how to start it or propagate. And the coleus is one of my garden staples even though it’s technically an annual. I hate to spend on one-season plants that don’t self-sow, but it’s VERY easy to propagate coleus, so this wouldn’t be too difficult to take inspiration from with some forethought early in the summer. Loving that Purple Pixie fringe flower too. Stunning, right? This is an example I’d steal inspiration from to use in other planters, but not something I’d try to recreate in its entirety because it just wouldn’t work outside me teeny, tiny Cape-style home. If I owned a sprawling estate – absolutely. I love the use of creepy jenny (the green spilling over the right edge) and the ornamental kale. I really love the shape of the planter as well. It reminds me of some vintage champagne glasses I should dig out of storage and actually use sometime soon.
Finally, more creepy jenny and kale. And possibly… red leaf lettuce? I wish I’d not ripped out all my lettuce now. As I review these examples, I’m realizing more and more how easy a lot of these will be once I have a more established garden since I’ll be able to repurpose things with the next season in mind. For example, the creeping jenny and coleus from my summer planters would be great in window boxes come fall. Just toss in a few sugar pumpkins and call it a day.