I have a large deck with 11 window boxes around it. They will get almost a full day of sun. The problem is that it is very windy because we are on a hill and not protected by anything. Last year everything that I planted on two sides (7 boxes) failed. The other 4 boxes did alright with sage, oregano, mint, and purslane. I'm thinking of doing purslane in more than one box this year, and I will do the sage, oregano, and mint again too. But I do need more ideas for the other boxes. I'd love something pretty in the 4 boxes that face the road, but I don't know what will do well. Then there are 3 boxes on the far side that will be in the shade until they grow about 4 inches (because of the rail of the deck) and then they will be in full sun as well.
Any ideas? I have no idea where to start looking. We live in Massachusetts.
- I love thyme, especially lemon thyme. There are also some pretty varigated kinds, and some grow bushy, others creep and trail.
- Creeping savory seems quite hardy and forms a draping mass covered in white flowers and would probably do well in the shady area.
- Have you tried nasturtiums? They like tough conditions and there are a few bushy varieties.
- Succulents for a dessert look? There are plenty with pretty flowers and interesting textures. Example
Do you have a local nusery to go browsing in?
(Damn! Now I want to go plant shopping!)
Would you mind sharing what failed? I'm curious how hardy those plants were.
I'm in a very windy spot, too (on the edge of prairie, so there is nothing to stop the wind, and it just blows like crazy). The sun and the wind both dry the surface soil fast, so especially in planters you'll need plants that can take driness and heat. I totally agree with the pp's suggestions for more herbs, especially mediterranian herbs (I'm not sure whether all of these will grow in your climate, and some are annuals) - thyme, rosemary, basil, bay, marjoram, mint, tarragon. Lavendar and artemesia seems like good picks for flowers.
Prairie plants would be another thing to check out, since they are well adapted to windy and dry conditions. Many wouldn't do well in containers because they have really deep roots and would just be too tall and lanky for a pot, but some of the shorter varieties would be worth trying - maybe blue-eyed grass (an absolute favorite of mine), butterflyweed, compact hybrid asters, prairie smoke, maybe even a small wild prairie rose.
One other tip - as you pick plants, don't push the hardiness ratings too hard since you're container gardeneing. For example, I'm in zone 4. I plant a lot of zone 5 plants up against the house where it is sheltered and stays a little warmer in the winter, and they do fine. But for my containers, I prefer varieties that can withstand zone 3 (and at the very least, zone 4), because they are less protected in the winter.
Good luck! Hope you are able to find some great plants that work.
Thanks for the great ideas. I think herbs might work well. On the sides (a little less windy) I've done sage and oregano. I think I will add more mint this year, thyme, and some others. I have tons of lavender, so I won't do more of that. What failed...parsley. That worked really well on the other side of the house. Basil. Strawberries did ok, but not great. I can't remember what else...some flowers. I'll look into the plants that were suggested. Thanks for helping!