People began practicing window box gardening as long ago as ancient Rome.
In the first century B.C., before the height of the Roman empire, nearly all Romans cultivated their own small cottage gardens for practical purposes: to provide food, medicinal herbs, and flowers for rituals.
Among the lower classes, in small villas where peasants had little gardening space, many people grew the plants they needed in window boxes.
Roman wives and mothers, to whom the care of the essential family herb garden was entrusted, may have kept herb window boxes for medicines and cooking. The Romans also grew many different kinds of flowers in their window boxes, originally harvested for ritual use, and later grown for decoration.
They loved lilies, violets, pansies, hyacinths, and irises, but roses were ever their favorite, and they cultivated many kinds. Pliny the Elder, an ancient Roman natural philosopher, was said to have reminisced about the days when the villagers' windows were brimming with colorful window boxes, before crime in Rome became such a widespread problem that it forced them to shut their windows and deprive passersby of their beauty.
Window boxes later gained such popularity among the rich upper classes that wealthy people began developing balcony and rooftop gardens that eventually became extremely elaborate, overflowing with flowers and trailing vines, shrubs, small trees, and even fish ponds. As the focus of gardening moved from survival to pleasure and art, the rich created the formal Roman gardens with rolling lawns, fountains, and marble statues that remind us of classical Rome today. Yet, humble window boxes always maintained their popularity, and to this day, the second- and third-story windows of many Italian villas still have window boxes brimming with color.
Window boxes spread with the Romans throughout Europe to England, France, Ireland,Germany, and Holland.
The window box itself evolved from its original Roman terra cotta form into new varieties, such as wire hay baskets found in English cottage gardens, and the elegant wrought iron window boxes of France. Window boxes later spread to America, where they adorned colonial homes. Over time, Americans lost interest, tending more towards wide lawns and shrubberies.
If your basket /window box has dried out or becomes difficult to water, it will require swift remedial action to attempt to save the plants.
- Soak the basket in a basin of SLIGHTLY suddy water, using ordinary ( NOT ANTIBACTERIAL OR SCENTED) washing up liquid for 12 hours.
- After the 12 hour period pour the left-over water onto the basket and rehang the basket.
- Continue to water every day.
When you hang your baskets turn the best side out as they are planted with the plants growing to the front.To keep it in this position tie the back to the bottom of the bracket with a little string or light wire. This also stops the baskets being spun by the wind. If your basket is being spun by the wind it’s an indication that it’s light and dry.
A lot of people ask about stickiness in Surfinia the trailing Petunia. This comes about in stress conditions, high temperatures or drying out and is a protective mechanism in the plant. If you see a lot of dead heads this is also a sign of stressful conditions as the first thing to suffer in heat and drought are the blossoms. So it is more important to water than to dead head as most of the plants we use in summer do not produce seeds. Time spent watering gives a better return that time spent dead heading.
Having trouble getting your baskets wet? Try “dunking it” in slightly suddy water for 12 hours. This reduces the surface tension in the compost and soaks it thoroughly. Before re-hanging pour the left over water over the basket. Suddy water also kills greenfly.
If you are going away for a weekend and don’t have anyone to take care of your basket, “dunk it” like this and when it has drained off just before you go away bring it into your garage or bathroom out of the glare of the sun and simply rehang when you return. Always take care not to put the basket sitting on the tails of the flowers.
Dunking is a good exercise when you are topping up with the fertilizer we give you. Always “dib” a hole carefully so as not to damage the roots when you use the top up fertilizer which should be done monthly.
If you are elderly or can’t reach your basket to water it asks us about our stands which you can sit a basket into and it will be at waist height. They cost €20. The same goes for window boxes.
If you are going away and will be unable to attend to your baskets / window boxes for 2 - 3 days MAXIMUM here is what you should do.
Soak you baskets / window boxes of flowers in a basin of LIGHTLY suddy water ( NOT ANTIBACTERIAL OR SCENTED) After a soak time of about 12 hours, bring the baskets / window boxes of flowers indoors to a cool room. This will protect them from the effects of sun and wind while you are away. Upon your return, rehang your baskets / windowboxes and water them well.
There are 3 main points on the care of flowers
Baskets / Window Boxes require daily watering. The flowers will require monthe feeding with slow release fertiliser, which is supplied free at Blooming Baskets upon purchase of flowers from us. Monitor the flowers for pests and if necessary treat with appropriate sprays.