Visual nourishment. While SK is working with her readers on the logistics of kitchen herb gardening over in The Kitchen, I am on a reconnaissance mission to scout out flowerbox plants. First stop of the season was the Greenmarket on a Weds. morning.
There were truckloads of brightly colored plants rolling onto the sidewalk, the season's first arrivals. The pictures I took were at the Hodgson Farms display, which always has good, healthy plants. Every vendor was bursting with color from tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, pansies; all the spring superstars were there. I am holding out, though – I probably won't plant anything until the first week of May.
When I go somewhere like the Greenmarket I like to imagine what goes well together, much in the same way one might collect and compare color chips or tile samples. I like to start with a foundation, something to unify the whole arrangement. Ivy and moss are common for planters. They spread out, protect the soil and help regulate water evaporation.
While the more colorful plants will come and go through the season, these will stay with you for the long haul. I then look for plants that are of two or three varying heights, with a unifying or interesting combination of colors. I like to keep it simple, there is always room to change or add something bold – it is easy to mix and match, and even have FUN if you do not place too much stress on creating a masterpiece. Judging from prices this season I could see a nice little flowerbox running between $30 - $50.
Many varieties out in the market on Weds. enjoy similar soil, sun, and water requirements. You have many options if you have even one window that gets partial sun.
Do you find yourself always taking the route that brings you by a certain townhouse garden in the city? Have you ever sat staring up at someone's fire escape, infatuated with the rogue trailing vines that spill over like Rapunzel?
It is possible that you are transfixed by more than the flowers – the flowerboxes and planters are an artistic expression for many gardeners, a reflection of themselves. When I see something truly spectacular, I always stop and wonder about the person who invested their time and imagination into their project.
- Matt N.