ISSUE 35  |  The Last Gasp of Summer

DIY: A Window Box Grows in Brooklyn

August 28, 2012 2:30 PM

BY Michelle Slatalla

If you live in the back of the building, Erin Boyle decided, the thing to do is to create your own view. Here, via her website Reading My Tea Leaves, is her story:

Just over a year ago, my husband (then: fiancé) and I were planning a move to Brooklyn. Fresh out of graduate school, our budget was limited, and we settled on a tiny apartment in the back of a building. The space is admittedly dim, but we’re in the middle of one of Brooklyn’s leafiest blocks. A short walk lands us in Brooklyn Bridge Park and most evenings we close the day with a stroll along the Promenade. There are worse places to call home.

At certain moments though, especially on Sunday mornings with a cup of coffee and the unfolded Times, we imagine it’d be awfully nice to have our own green space:

Photos by Erin Boyle.

Above: Three months after planting, our little window garden is thriving. Just as I’d hoped, vinca has crept its way down the side of the building and tiny white petunias have survived August’s heat. For step-by-step instructions, visit Reading My Tea Leaves.

Above: Flashback. In late April, we planted a teak box with dusty miller, vinca, and bright blue forget-me-nots. The colors complemented the pale blue of our building, and we needed plants that would thrive in partial shade.

Above: We positioned our window box on our bathroom windowsill so we could sneak peeks of it from the window next to our couch. Unfolding our newspaper with a window box in view makes for a much cheerier Sunday routine.

Above: GRDN on Hoyt Street is one of our favorite spots for picking up plants. When the forget-me-knots we bought in April withered in mid-July, we went back for some tiny white petunias to spruce things up.

Above: We made a whole afternoon out of our window box planting and recruited friends to join us for a little sidewalk gardening party.

Above: My friend Carrie filled terra cotta pots with lavender and parsley for her own much sunnier window ledge.

Above: Planting with friends not only makes for great company, but it also means being able to go in for a bag of soil together. If you live in a tiny apartment, finding a place to store unused soil can be tricky. Carrie managed to find a small bag at the Fort Greene Farmer’s market and was generous enough to share. Though I haven’t found one in my neighborhood, there are hardware stores that allow you to fill your own bag with soil, so you can take just what you need.

Above: (For more container planting suggestions, see “Magic Trick: The Invisible Window Box.”)

(N.B.: For more inspiration, see 253 images of Flowers in our Gallery of rooms and spaces.)