Veranda Boxes Window-boxes Vases And Hanging Baskets
Many of the plants ordinarily set outdoors in pots, or planted in the
flower beds, could be much more effectively used in veranda boxes,
window-boxes, vases or hanging baskets.
The veranda boxes are generally about eight by six inches, made as
described on page
9, and of the right length to fit some window-sill, or
the corner or top of a veranda railing.
Arrangements for watering should be made as convenient as possible, as
this work is almost sure to be more or less neglected during the hot
months when it needs frequent and thorough attention. The soil used
should be porous and very rich, as many plants will have to get their
nourishment from a very limited space.
The majority of the plants described in the foregoing pages may be
utilized successfully in box work; which ones in any particular case
should depend on circumstances, such for instance as whether the boxes
will be in partial shade, or strong sunlight; or whether in a sheltered
or a windswept position. A favorite combination is dracaenas, Nutt or
Beaute Poitevine, with the variegated vinca as a front border. The lover
of plants desirous of artistic effects will not be content, however, to
go by fixed rules where so many opportunities for expression of
individual taste are offered.
There are two warnings to be given in addition to the suggestions above.
Do not attempt to crowd too many plants into the small space available;
remember that as a safe rule the most pleasing results will be obtained
by the use of a very few kinds and colors. A good way to be sure of not
making mistakes is to fill the boxes to within three or four inches of
the top, arrange the plants, still in their pots, until a satisfactory
picture is designed, and then fill up with soil and plant.
Vases usually have three serious drawbacks; they are very restricted in
size, are exposed to the most drying action of winds and sun, and are
not conveniently watered. The last two disadvantages can be to some
extent overcome by placing them in situations at least partially
sheltered and shaded, and by running a half-inch or three-quarter inch
pipe (which may be bought second hand for two to four cents a foot,
while good hose costs sixteen to eighteen), a few inches under the sod
and up to the top of the vase. Such a pipe should be detached and
drained in the fall and will last many years; the few feet running up to
the vase will be sufficiently concealed by the vines and reasonably
Where such precautions are not taken, restrict the plants used to those
doing well in the heat, and a dry soil; one of the best is the ice plant
(Mesembryanthemum) with flowers of pink or white, very freely
There is no prettier way of displaying plants than in the hanging
basket, either in the house or on the porch. That one so seldom sees
them is undoubtedly due to the fact that few people seem to know how to
fill and take care of them. In the first place, the basket should be as
large as possible--a size or so larger than you think you ought to have,
for what reason you will see in the following.
Get a supply of sphagnum moss, and line the entire inner surface, sides
as well as bottom, an inch in thickness; press down compactly, then fill
nearly full of light, rich prepared soil, and put in the plants;
something tall and graceful in the center, compact and dwarf-growing
around this, and vines around the edges. Astonishingly beautiful results
may be had with small baskets by using only one sort of plant in each,
such as oxalis, ivy geranium or some trailing flowering vines. Cover the
surface of the soil between the plants with clean live sphagnum moss.
This will both add to the appearance and conserve the moisture.
The best way by far to water hanging baskets is to have them so arranged
that they may be taken down easily and allowed to soak until thoroughly
wet in a tub or pail of water--which will take some time, as the moss
will be like a dry sponge. Let them drain until dripping ceases and hang
in place again.
If the above method is adhered to, you are sure to meet with success
that will prove most gratifying.
Next: House-plant Insects And Diseases
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