Spring Awakening: Filling the Window Box with Prairie Grass

American System Built home window flower box

I’ve been waiting all winter for this. Seriously, I sounded like a broken record all winter long. I can’t wait to get my hands on that window box, I would say over and over again. I’m going to plant some decorative grasses in there as soon as I’m able, I promised. Last weekend, I did just that. My next test in patience will be seeing if it grows!

This window box is one of the features that attracted us to the house. A built-in flower box would be neat on any house, of course, but on a Frank Lloyd Wright designed house it’s practically mandatory. Throughout the winter months the window box would fill with water and leaves and then freeze and thaw and basically become a mucky mess. This spring, the window box became a little lake that would create dancing reflections on the living room ceiling. As cute as that reflecting light might have been, I’ve been envisioning prairie grass in that box all winter long.

This American House

Before I could begin planting, I had to bail all the water out of the window box. Yuck. I starting by filling a bucket with the slimy, rusty water and dumping it into the grass. Yes, there was so much water that it required a bucket! And, yes, I tried to spread the water out so I wouldn’t be dumping it all in one place in the grass. As the water got shallower, I used a takeout container to fill the bucket and then dumped it in the grass. I was able to get most of the water out but there was still a thin layer covering the bottom of the window box.

This American House

With the water gone, I was ready to fill the box with soil. I used an empty vegetable bed in the garden – one that had previously been covered with leaves and compost – to start filling the window box. I filled the wheelbarrow four times, schlepped the loads to the house and got the dirt into the window box by bucket loads. Those four loads of dirt gave me a nice base layer in the window box – about six inches I’d say. It also gave me a back ache.

This American House

Next, I placed the plants (still in their containers) in the bed to position them. I had five prairie grass plants and a few vines to work with. There are five windows above the flower box so I centered the grasses with each window. I put the vines toward the front of the bed with the hope that they’ll hang over the side once they start growing.

This American House

With the plants placed I removed them from their containers and filled the window box with bagged soil. Fortunately, I had the foresight to think that I might tire of schlepping wheelbarrow loads of dirt across the yard so I bought three big bags of soil while I was buying the grasses. Am I ever glad I did! The bagged soil was much, much easier to get into the window box.

My hope here is that the grasses will get nice and tall and create a swaying field of prairie grass outside the living room window. For now, it looks like this:

This American House

Pray for rain, kids. We went the grass to grow!

Images: This American House

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