Boxed In

I made a quick two-day trip to Charleston late last week  for the Annual Festival of Houses & Gardens, followed by a regional meeting of the Garden Writers Association.  Thursday was enjoyed with my friend Carolyn, who lives in the historic district, and we spent the biggest part of the day crisscrossing our favorite blocks near the Battery, fortified by good food and wine at the Gaulart & Maliclet Café.

Though spring came late to Charleston, as it has throughout the state, many window boxes were elaborately dressed for the pleasure of visitors.  Oftentimes the historic homes abut the sidewalk, thus bloom-filled window boxes and other containers comprise the front garden.  I’m always charmed by these displays and thought you might be too.  The dozen pictured here provide a good sampling.

Pretty in peachy-pink and white, with accents in bold blue and chartreuse.

Pretty in peachy-pink and white, with accents in bold blue and chartreuse.

A tropical punch of orange combines nicely with Easter egg colors against the gray house.

A tropical punch of orange combines nicely with Easter egg colors against the gray house.

Dramatic but my fingers itch to give the ivy cascades a little trim.

Dramatic but my fingers itch to give the ivy cascades a little trim.

A handsome purple and white combo accented with Spanish moss (Tillandsia usneoides) suits this old building.

A handsome purple and white combo accented with Spanish moss (Tillandsia usneoides) suits this old building.

Cyclamen of all colors were featured in various boxes.  I particularly like these bold pink ones.

Cyclamen of all colors were featured in various boxes. I particularly like these bold pink ones.

Almost periwinkle and soft yellow are a winning mix.

Almost periwinkle and soft yellow are a winning mix.

A successful focus on foliage.

A successful focus on foliage.

My favorite color scheme--silver and gold.  A tiny touch of blue would provide contrast to make the harmony pop.

My favorite color scheme–silver and gold. A tiny touch of blue would provide contrast to make the harmony pop.

Hmmm.....I wonder what color the snapdragons will be.

Hmmm…..I wonder what color the snapdragons will be.

Second-story drama.

Second-story drama.

A touch of class with an ivy swag topped with a box ball.

A touch of class with an ivy swag topped with a box ball.

Technically a window bed, rather than box, but too pretty to pass up.

Technically a window bed, rather than box, but too pretty to pass up.

The 68th Annual Festival of Houses & Gardens continues through April 19.   The city’s fabulous window boxes, however, can be enjoyed every day of the year.

 

 

 

25 thoughts on “Boxed In

  1. Gloria Ballard

    I love window boxes, and these are all so pretty — though I agree with you about the ivy cascades.

    Reply
  2. mattb325

    Gosh – every single one of those is quite spectacular – I’m amazed at how much civic pride these folk have. It’s really wonderful to see such a riot of colour in miniature 🙂

    Reply
  3. beth

    Charleston just seems to be one of those rare places that does everything well.Beautiful pictures Marian and I’ll bet it was difficult to cull out the ones you didn’t use in your post

    Reply
    1. Marian St.Clair Post author

      Beth–Much is beautiful but the city is always under construction because the wind and damp (from the bay) is so hard on historic buildings. Plus, many of the old families are selling up because property taxes have risen so high. Of the gardens I toured this year, many were owned by folks who don’t live in Charleston but have a holiday home there.

      Reply
  4. Pat Webster

    What a fine selection of window boxes. Nice combinations in terms of colours and textures. Are you predicting what colour the snapdragon will be? And are your fingers itching to remove a few of them to give everything a little more breathing room? Mine are.

    Reply
    1. Marian St.Clair Post author

      Pat–Since it is a controlled scheme, the snapdragons are probably purple, or purple and white, don’t you think? And though I agree the box is over full, apparently that’s the intention since it has a dedicated irrigation tube to keep it moist at all times. Believe it or not, there are professional gardeners in Charleston who only do window boxes and other containers and they are quite sought after and expensive. My friend told me one of her neighbors pays $800 for two maintenance visits a month for a garden that is no bigger than a postage stamp. Makes me wonder why I’m a writer and not a gardener living in Charleston!

      Reply
  5. Leslie Apostalon

    Wish I knew the exact names of some of the flowers, so that I could duplicate them here in CT, if spring ever would arrive!.

    Reply
    1. Marian St.Clair Post author

      Leslie–If you tell me which box(es) you are particularily interested in, I will do my best to identify the plants. Many of the bloomers, however, are short term annuals or perennials that will be replaced when the weather warms. These include violas, alyssum, cyclamen, and snapdragons. The longer-lasting are geraniums and petunias, plus foliage plants such as small evergreens, caladiums, lirope, ferns, ivy, and golden creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia ‘Aurea’).

      Reply
  6. Cathy

    These are all lovely! The tradition in Germany is to have summer window boxes full of geraniums, but I think these are so much more inspiring! Thanks for sharing, Marian.

    Reply
    1. Marian St.Clair Post author

      Cathy–One of the things that got me started with gardening was a birthday gift of a hanging basket filled with red geraniums. I dont’ think anything is prettier.

      Reply
  7. susurrus

    Felder and I were so happy to have the chance to spend some time with you during the regional meeting. We only managed to see a little of Charleston after sundown so your window box tour is much appreciated. It’s remarkable how creative gardeners can be, given just a little space.

    Reply
    1. Marian St.Clair Post author

      Susan–It was great to see you and Felder in Charleston. I know you will have a wonderful visit and I’m looking forward to reading about some of your adventures.

      Reply
  8. mjarz

    Thanks for the armchair tour, Marian. I am doing my spring research now for my containers and window boxes this year and this post give me plenty of ideas.

    Reply
  9. Marian St.Clair Post author

    Dorris–The garden with the window bed was open for an afternoon tour. It was very pretty, with scads of the peachy-cream foxgloves all around. Since it is way to early in the season for these, even in Charleston, they must have been brought in from a nursery just days before.

    Reply
  10. Sharon Lanier

    What variety in color palette and plant selection!! Hard to pick one favorite. I have been wanting to go to Charleston for the past several weeks. I must find a few days & get there. Thanks for the fabulous photos!

    Reply
    1. Marian St.Clair Post author

      Sharon–Are you among the group going with Nancy? If so, you’ll get to visit Carolyn’s garden. April is a great month; the weather is too hot and humid in summer!

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s