When I was in the fourth grade, my parents bought their very first home. We lived in a small Midwestern town and the house was a modest, 3-bedroom ranch-style in a new subdivision. It had shiny hardwood floors, a full basement, small backyard and wooden window boxes. What I remember most about our house on Dudley Street are those window boxes, overflowing with brightly-colored petunias. Every summer, Mom planted and tended the window boxes, as lovingly and efficiently as she did all the other household chores. Always planted with petunias - some years they were multi-colored, other years a theme of red & white, or hot pink and the deep purple ones that felt like velvet to the touch. The window boxes were her pride and joy. Many years later, I remember Mom saying, “our flowers were the best on the block!” Container gardening is an art form and my Mom was an artist - although she didn’t see herself in that light.
People often forego the pleasures of gardening because they think they don't have the room. But, container gardening is an easy and efficient way to enjoy many of the benefits of traditional gardening. Anyone can do it - regardless of where you live. Containers can be traditional - like my Mom’s window boxes, ornate stone urns or clay pots. Or use your imagination - a basket, old teapot or wheelbarrow can be turned into a fun and whimsical plant cantainer. I once planted flowers in one of my nephew’s old, size-14 tennis shoes! The main thing to remember is that all containers must have good drainage, with at least one drainage hole. Let your pots make a statement - a cast iron urn says "formal" while a wooden barrel says "rustic." Remember - pots and window boxes tend to dry out very quickly, so water, water, water - early morning and evening are the best times. Experiment and have fun, and just like Mom, you’ll soon have “the best flowers on the block!”