There are 20 flower boxes on the carriage house that need filling each season, so I'm always on the lookout for inspiration. Luckily my walk to the office takes me past several apartment buildings where there are often great seasonal displays compliments of the great floral designers in Manhattan.
This particular building has both the large sidewalk planters as well as the smaller window boxes all decked out. The thing I like about them is that they keep the year-round evergreen perennial bushes and just highlight the season's change with a simple addition of red berries, pinecones and a few fresh pine tree branches (to cover up where the pansies will go in spring).
The window box version doesn't have any bushes - it's way too small for that - so they add more pine branches and use bigger pinecones to tie the whole thing together.
We certainly have pine branches and pinecones growing on the property that we can use to decorate the window boxes, but we don't have any berry bushes that grow large enough berries to use in displays. We have smaller red berries and holly bushes, but if I took those for decorating it would really cut down on the winter food supply for the birds.
Maybe this spring I'll find a pyracantha, callicarpa bodinieri or a nice viburnum that wants to come home with me. I'll have to see which species fits with the history of the manor. And we'll need to know if it would be a healthful additional to the food supply for all of the critters that eat everything we plant.
Plus, it will take a few years for it to get established enough to be able to harvest any berries for decoration. And I'll have to learn how to prune it - which I always think of as amputating the limbs off of the plant. I know, it's good for the plant and helps it grow strong. But it still makes me cringe. A lot.
At least if we grow the plants here, they won't be imprisoned...
I ask you - what could these plants have possibly done to deserve a life behind bars?