Winterizing Containers

We’ve amassed quite a collection of urns and pots at this point, and I’ve been researching how to protect them from the cold without moving having to move them.


Martha Stewart cleans hers out.  They are then wrapped in plastic.

The Martha Blog

And then a burlap cover is sewn to fit.


A garden center in Indiana wraps their pots in bubble wrap before wrapping in burlap.  No sewing involved.

Spotts Gardens

This is looking far more reasonable.  The experimental part of this first winter will be how to allow the apple trees some water without the water in the pot freezing and expanding, thus cracking the urn.

I think the plan will be to water when the weather is a bit warmer for an extended time, while covering the pots in bubble wrap, garbage bags and burlap.

A Fall Refresh + Thanksgiving Prep

This was my Wegmans shopping cart this afternoon.  Not a single thing for my family to eat (the artichokes are fake). img_1005-1

I cut lots of hydrangeas, threw in some branches from a nearby shrub and filled the rest with berries, magnolia leaves and faux pine cones and artichokes.  See – better than dinner, kids!img_1009-2

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The mums I bought back in mid-September are well past their prime now so I tossed them and tackled the planters on the porch steps as well.  Again, more cut hydrangeas and some faux evergreen sprigs, no water needed.


Finn is enjoying his newfound Invisible Fence freedom.  He spends most of his day foraging in the yard – if it’s not nailed down, he eats it.  Most of my mums were flowerless anyhow thanks to this little guy.  Finn’s new favorite game is Toss the Moss.  He digs into my urns, steals the moss and plays a game of catch with himself.  It ends up being a tasty snack as well.   img_0969

Thanksgiving preparations have begun!  I spent this morning polishing silver and washing serving pieces.  The paperwhites just opened today and look so pretty on the table – I couldn’t resist.  Brown velvet ribbon, white pumpkins and some acorns will make this the perfect Thanksgivingmas table.

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The windows have finally been dressed.  The panels are hung but temporarily as I need the dry cleaner to hem them and sew a bit of trim on for me.  And, some finishing touches on the wall.  It is isn’t a dining room of mine until there are plates on the wall!


And, I’ll leave you with some painted brick prettiness.  This is a foundation office that got a facelift this past summer.  The brick was repointed and then painted.  The second picture of the side that faces the street is more true to the color of the paint.img_0977img_0978

Window boxes

Last weekend we dusted off a couple of the old window boxes left from our country house and hung them on the front windows of the lab.  They aren’t a perfect fit but once filled, I am hoping the plants help me cheat the couple of inches I am short on either side.

img_0531The boxes are protected from the elements and get little sun so they will need some shade-loving plants and a lot of hose water.  Not ideal but there are only two and they are ground floor, so I figured I’d give it a go.




The windows open out and so I had to be mindful of that as well.  The plan is to plant a liner for easy removal should the flowers get too big to open the windows.

I like to line the bottom layer with recyclables.  I have crushed water bottles that won’t add weight but will provide some good drainage.  I will then add the potting soil and plants to the line along with some hydration crystals.  You can also use baby diapers from what I have read online.  No diapers handy here – thank goodness!  Don’t miss those!

Then, it’s just making sure to keep those flowers watered.  The work is well worth it as really the boxes add so much charm!

Charleston has a fantastic display of window boxes all around the city.

via Low Country Walking Tours
via Low Country Walking Tours

If you look closely you can see a watering system rigged which is pretty standard.  I think it takes away from the box aesthetically a bit but it really is the only way these boxes can look good during Charleston’s long, hot summers.

I may be borrowing a few ideas from this picture.  The ferns and ivy like dry shade.

via Flickr
via Flickr

Despite our Charleston climate as of late, it will be fall shortly and I am thinking it may be wise to incorporate some frost-hardy plants as the nights begin to cool.

The bittersweet, hydrangeas, eucalyptus and cabbage make for a gorgeous combination.  

via Southern Living
via Southern Living

While I was moving the sprinkler around this morning, I took a couple of pictures of the garden and its progress. The willows seen here were originally in pots on the patio before they outgrew their home.  They will likely be separated soon but for now they are recovering nicely. They were brown popsicle sticks with crunchy leaves until saved.


img_0536This eunoymous was supposed to go into the ground but because of lighting wires and such I decided to stick it into a pot temporarily.  It’s happy and I’m happy as the green softens the fence.

img_0537These pots originally held the willows but are now home for Eugenia topiaries and some petunias.

img_0538The Little Lymes (dwarf Limelight Hydrangeas) we planted are doing well.  They were hit with some heavy rain one afternoon and didn’t quite recover their better posture.  The Chicagoland boxwood are all thriving and in need of a haircut.  A good sign!  The taller shrubs, Nandina or false bamboo, have berries just starting to set.  They hold onto their berries all winter and so far the birds have left them alone.  The Nandina has moved with us three times.  They didn’t like our most recent house’s soil and all are much happier here.  There are three and after a good pruning back last year and a reshaping, the shrubs are starting to fill out and leaf out nicely.

Everything that was green and lush in the spring is now dry and brown.  It’s an ugly time of year and I am trying to fight it with some sprinkler attention.  I may be too late.


Hopefully I will be back with completed window box pictures soon!  I have a busy week but I also have a deadline for getting this backyard whipped into shape, so stay tuned.

Flowers R.I.P.

I’m not sure what went wrong this season but something went very wrong.  I planted, things were going swimmingly until about 3 weeks ago when everything in my pots started to wilt.  I babied them and there was life and hope but then despair and death.  It got ugly.

This is a before when everything seemed to be going just fine.  Pops of pink and vibrant green leaves – all looking very healthy.


IMG_2437IMG_2453I chose easy annuals – lantana, petunias, superbells, sweet potato vine.  In past years, these flowers in the same pots thrived and were almost boastful in their growth.  The sweet potato vine barely behaving and often needing a haircut.  Not this year.  The vine barely made it over the edge of the pot and it’s been 6 weeks.

I won’t even post the after pictures as they are too depressing!  The petunias were the lone survivors of whatever disease, bug, or negligent caretaker killed these poor plants.

So, this week I am starting fresh.  The pots out front will get a boxwood each and some vinca and the rest of the pots a hydrangea and the remaining petunias.  And, a dirty little secret – I got so desperate I potted some topiaries out front that I know will do just fine.  Could be a slippery slope there!