The Windowboxes at Trinity 2011

by Patrick Muir on October 16, 2011

As some of you know who follow this blog, ‘m a 46 year old quadriplegic man living in a great nursing h0me. Outside of Trinity are two canopies with 12, yes 12, window boxes.

I’ve been away from Trinity since August 1st battling a UTI that went septic and for the last 10 weeks at a wound care hospital healing some very severe pressure wounds. I hope to return in the next ten days.

My saving grace has been my blog with posting and doing some serious commenting. I can’t believe how high I’ve gone with total quantity of comments for some recent posts. I don’t know what I would have done without my laptop and blog. So back to my window boxes.g

When I left in late July, the petunias had a serious case of tobacco bud worm and there  was nary a blossom left on the plant. Todd went out and bought Sevin dust  on his own dime to control the worms. And the flowering was sporadic of most of the rest of them. The boxes are only 30″ long and were planted with five 5″ annuals. Yikes, that’s tight. The boxes are lovingly maintained by the bus driver, a dedicated gardener during the week and on the weekends watered by the house ladies. The ladies are under threat of repercussions by their boss if we lose the plants. Not really but it’s close, to the situation and I’ve only lost one with all the 100 degrees days in the height of the summer. So what a dream team is the bus driver and the cleaning ladies. Who would have thunked?

So the week before last, while Todd was returning my wheelchair, he showed these images on his 3D phone. I was stunned when he sared with me the images seen before you. They look like something you’d see at a breeder trial garden. Aren’t they incredible for October in Kansas?  Frost is expect next week, so I will not see them most  likely. I apologize but I don’t have the variety names but the plant tags are a Trinity so I will update all of them when I return. So without any adieu, I present the best five best of the bunch.

Fort unia Pink Picotee, I’m not into pink flowers but Sandy at Family Tree really wanted me to try it so I relented and will now use it every year going forward. The petunias have overgrown two ‘Diamond Frost’ euphorbia but with these results. Who cares?  It was a stunning combo earlier in the season.

The new ‘Black Velvet’ petunia with the Mini Famous  Lemon calibrochia packs a quick one -two punch. Do I need to say it again,  but this stunner  is pictured in October in Kansas? I won’t use Black Velvet again since the black gets lost in the shadows of the plant.

I tried several Angelonia in boxes this year. The best combo was three Angelface  Blue’ with a plant  from Proven Winners I was not familiar with until this year. MecardoniaThe variety name is ‘Golddust’. I won’t grow it again because they bloomed in flushes so there was nothing but little dead heads all over the plant between the flushes. I hope th e breeders keep working on in because if it were to bloom all season, it would have wide usage as a spiller.

This is the window box I’d must like to see. This is the petunia ‘Phantom’ from Ball Floraplant. It started the season with two ‘Midnight Lace’ sweet potatoes against my better  judgement as to their final size. I pulled them out fairly quickly and I’m so glad I did. This is another one of black petunias as it started out the season as a  black flower with a thin yellow lined star. And oh what a sight to see in October. I love plants where the genes are pretty unstable, that’s how I describe it anyway, and lead to multiple variations of flower bloom. Todd outdid himself on the care of this plant to have results like this at the end of the season. And to think he tells people I’m responsible for all this beauty

This window box was a real challenge right from the start. It started out with salmon and white faced impatiens between these two different torenia. We had so much rain in May and half of June, and considering they’re on the drip line from the canopy above them, there really were sopping wet because they were in the most shaded area. And obviously, the weekly applications of Miracle-Grow was a little much considering it ended up as nearly all leaves with sporadic blooms. But I love it anyway for its lushness.

This last child is in the most shaded area on the east canopy. But look at this Summer Wave Bouquet ‘tornenia on the same fertilizing program. See how she shines? Obviously,  The lime green coleus ‘Colorblaze Lifelime was not a good  fit but it looks very cool otherwise. I’m assuming there’s another torenia on the other side of the box. There were also two yellow tuberroses on either side of the coleus that were chewed up on. But they were beautiful earlier in the summer when I could appreciate it before the season of my discontent. Nothing like using a Shakespeare reference in a blog posting, don’t you think?


Patrick's Garden

{ 44 comments… read them below or add one }

Kimberley October 17, 2011 at 6:24 am

HI Patrick!

It’s funny, but I was just thinking the other day that though you write such wonderful, inspiring and informative posts, we’ve never seen pictures of your gardens!

Those bright pink petunias are amazing! But the picture of your favorite Phantom petunia didn’t make it onto the post! I’d love to see that. Sounds great for Halloween, in a zone that’s still temperate enough at that time of year!

I used Marietta “Gold Spark” bidens as a yellow spiller in my containers, and it did the same thing, with sporadic flushes of blooms. Maybe the secret is to pinch half of the plant back so as to stagger the blooms?

Sorry to hear of your health troubles, and hope you can get back home soon! And I hope in the spring, you’ll post pictures of your tulips! (And, oh yes, the repressed English teacher inside of me loves the Shakespeare!)


Kimberley October 18, 2011 at 5:31 pm

Yay! You got the missing pictures up! I have found that Wordpress occasionally takes it upon itself to delete random pictures between the draft and published phase of my posts. Very aggravating!

Wow, that one petunia really is black! I see what you mean about it getting lost in the shadows. The Phantoms are interesting–not as Halloweeny as I had pictured in my mind, but maybe they were moreso at the beginning of the season when there was more black than yellow?


Patrick October 19, 2011 at 9:23 am

Hey Kimberly,
Good to hear from you so soon again. I’m glad you now have the images. The Phantom were almost totally black with a thin yellow star when I left in early July. It’s a pity they’re not a Halloween item but I could see Black Velvet paired with an orange ornamental pepper.


Patrick October 19, 2011 at 9:06 am

Hey you,
Nice of you stop by again. Yes the gold flower is the Marietta.and it’s a pity it’s not a good choice as a spiller.


Layanee October 18, 2011 at 8:40 am

Wow is right on those boxes. I am not sure if I like that black/yellow petunia. It is curious and yours looks quite spectacular. They just don’t seem cheery to me. Hope you are back to the garden soon. I have many bulbs to plant. I must get to them.


Patrick October 19, 2011 at 9:55 am

Thanks for the compliment.It means a lot. So you’re the second person not embracing ‘Phantom. ‘I wish I had seen the transition from mostly black to mostly gold.


Laurrie October 18, 2011 at 8:46 am

Unlike Layanee, I have to say I do like that black and yellow petunia and want to experiment with some like that next year. My favorite this year was a pale yellow petunia with small perfect flowers called ‘Baby Duck’. Big lush plant, with many many small refined flowers and it bloomed all summer and up to now. A nice change from the bigger splashy pinks and purples. Your boxes look fantastic… get back soon to see them!


Patrick October 19, 2011 at 9:38 am

Hey Laurrie,
So nice to hear from you again. ‘Baby Duck’ sounds enchanting. I’m going home today.I’m not totally healed because the insurance ran out but I’m very close the drs tell me.


Scott Webers October 18, 2011 at 11:48 am

Beautiful post…love those planters! Hope you are feeling back to your old self soon…I’m sure the garden misses you :-)


Patrick October 19, 2011 at 9:29 am

Hey Scott,
I was so excited when I saw you had left a comment. I’m a huge fan of your blog especially your photography. Thanks for your kind words. I’m going home today. Yay.


Christina October 18, 2011 at 10:40 pm

It just shows what a few simple plants, planted on mass can achieve. Someone must have been dead heading as well as watering and feeding. Fantastic!
It’s great to have you in this useful as well as enjoyable meme. Why not join in my foliage meme on the 22nd. Christina


Patrick October 19, 2011 at 8:43 am

Hey Christina,
Thanks for your kind words. Unfortunately I doubt I have any foliage worthy enough to participate.


Patrick October 19, 2011 at 8:43 am

Hey Christina,
Thanks for your kind words. Unfortunately I doubt I have any foliage worthy enough to participate.


Janet, The Queen of Seaford October 19, 2011 at 8:12 am

Patrick, I love your window boxes…and they are truly yours. How wonderful that Todd takes care of them and has been kind enough to share photos since you have been unable to see them first hand.
I am getting a shed that will have two window boxes on the front and am looking forward to having some cascading blooms next year. Yours are great examples of super plant selection. I am fond of that blonde coleus…almost buttery.


Patrick October 19, 2011 at 8:38 am

Hey Janet,
Good to hear from you again. Your shed and boxes sound like a delight. Yes the coleus was a nice surprise.


sweetbay October 19, 2011 at 11:17 am

You’re right, those do look just like what you’d like to see at a breeder trial garden. They look beautiful!


Patrick October 19, 2011 at 11:24 am

Thanks for your kind words sweet bay.


Zoe October 20, 2011 at 6:57 am

You know, I was really excited about the black petunias in the spring, but kind of disappointed at how they disappear too. But I’m thinking that in the right situation they could be really cool… maybe toward the front of a planting with something bright or light behind to set them off?

Hope your health problems have improved! Happy fall gardening (or dreaming, as the weather may demand).


Patrick October 22, 2011 at 6:53 pm

based on the growth in my window box, I think you’re spot on about needing something in the background for its best effect.


Dee/reddirtramblings October 20, 2011 at 8:33 am

I love the black petunias. I grew both Phantom and Black Velvet, and even though we had terrible 100 plus days for 63 days, they recovered nicely. In your first photo, I’m not sure that’s Bubblegum Pink because it’s a lighter one. That looks like another bi-colored variety, but perhaps, I’m wrong. In any event, it is beautiful. I would grow Bubblegum Pink every single year because it is just stupendous in the garden bed and in the container. I’m glad you live at a place where people care about gardening. I’m also glad we’ve become friends Patrick. I’m sorry about your recent challenges. My mom has fought those too and won. I know you’ll be glad when you’re back home.~~Dee


Patrick October 23, 2011 at 6:01 pm

Hey Dee,
Thanks for stopping by again. Yes, you’re right about the pink petunia because after checking the tags it’s Fortunia Pink Picotee.


Wendy October 21, 2011 at 8:42 pm

Pretty and inspiration ideas. That petunia ‘phantom’ is really cool.


Patrick October 23, 2011 at 6:04 pm

Hey Wendy,
Glad you liked the post.


Jayne October 24, 2011 at 3:15 am

The window boxes are stunning – quite an achievement for October! I give high ratings to those gardeners who cared for them in your absence! My Mother (83!) still helps out a bit at a Care Center, tidying up their raised vegetable beds planted with and for the residents…I will show her these and she will be SOOO impressed!


Patrick October 24, 2011 at 8:07 am

Thanks for stopping by and sharing your mother’s story. She sounds like quite as lady.


Donna October 25, 2011 at 5:44 am

These are really pretty combinations in the boxes. So full and colorful. I tried Angelonia the first time this year and liked Angelface Blue, but it took all summer to really perform. Now it is time to cut it down and it finally is looking good. I did not try mine in planters, maybe that would have made a difference with more careful attention. Nice you had Todd to help you out. Tell Todd, we enjoyed his photos.


tina October 26, 2011 at 7:38 am

The window boxes are indeed incredible.

My best wishes come your way for a speedy recovery and return to Trinity.


Patrick October 26, 2011 at 7:52 am

Thanks, Tina. I’m glad to report I’m out of the hospital.


Foxglove Lane October 26, 2011 at 9:27 am

Dear Patrick, how lovely to get a comment from you today on my blog, our paths hadn’t crossed for a while. Autumn has set in here and every day can be a challenge for a romantic photographer, looking for a subject in the fading light. Luckily mother nature always turns up trumps with something small but special. I am reminded of this seeing your wonderful window box garden, and all it signifies, nature wins hands down every day, in all kinds of ways. Your nurturing and lovely gentle vibes kept them going and they do indeed shine, like your self. Are you a Paddy, in the sense of having Irish heritage? You have the name of our famous saint anyway! Good vibes from Ireland honey:~)


Patrick October 26, 2011 at 9:50 am

Hey Floxglove,
So nice to get a quick reply today. When I grew up in Australia my name was Paddy and I’m very proud of my Irish and Scottish heritage, my dear friend.


Alistair October 26, 2011 at 9:48 am

Hey Patrick, Sensational window boxes. All the Summer bedding has been lifted in our garden. Hope you continue to improve and get back home soon. I am adding one of your pictures and a link to your blog on my Your Gardens page. If you are not keen for me to do this let me know and I will remove it.


Patrick October 26, 2011 at 9:55 am

Hey Alistair,
Thanks for quick reply to day.; I’m happy to report I’m back home but I missed most of summer and fall in my garden. But like most keen gardeners, I’m looking forward to next spring.


alison@thisbloominglife October 26, 2011 at 1:26 pm

Hi Patrick, I’m a big fan of the massed plantings – so bountiful and generous – and to only lose one plant throughout the heat of summer shows very careful tending. I hope you receive the same standard of care – although leaving before healed sounds not so good! I checked the weather for Narrabri for you – quite cold with some rain (around 17 degrees celsius). Not long before the heat really hits and the cropping starts in earnest. Alison


Patrick October 26, 2011 at 1:35 pm

Hey Alison,
So good to hear from you again. Thanks for checking in on good old Narrabri. I haven’t been back for over 20 years.’


Rose October 29, 2011 at 6:10 am

What gorgeous windowboxes! I’m glad you found the i.d. for the first petunia, because it’s a beauty. Your garden helpers did a fantastic job in maintaining these this summer–these photos are fit for a garden catalog! Hope you are feeling better soon and can get back to Trinity to enjoy the last of the blooming season.


Patrick October 30, 2011 at 3:09 pm

Hey Rose,
Thanks for kind comment on my boxes.and your best wishes, I’m back at Trinity bot still on bed rest. The future isn’t looking so good but thanks for stopping by.


Melanie October 29, 2011 at 10:06 pm

Hey fellow Kansas indeed! OOOOH I wish I could do better with my containers!! Your’s are ABSOLUTELY gorgeous!! I especially love the yellow and black. .I tried a lime green and hot pink variety. .which quickly succombed to the southern Kansas heat. .and this gardeners inability to keep them watered :-) Enjoyed your post! I have a lot of things still blooming too. .with no frost predicted for as far as I can see by the extended! I hope to post some photos this week! Gotta survive Halloween first! Trick or Treat!!


Patrick October 30, 2011 at 3:00 pm

Hey Melanie,
Thanks for stopping by.I’ thinking you petunia is Pretty Much Picasso. My Mum grew it this year with a good couple rounds of pinching but the end result was nothing to write home about.


Rick October 30, 2011 at 10:53 pm

Wow – those petunias look like they’re on steroids ! Oh right, Miracle Grow ;-)

Beautiful blooms, Patrick. I hope the frost takes another couple of weeks off for your sake (and the flowers’).

Thanks for paying me a visit.

All the best.


Patrick October 31, 2011 at 10:17 am

Hey Rick,
So glad you stopped by. So far no frost. to report.But it’s looming.


bakingbarb December 1, 2011 at 7:11 pm

I hope you are doing well.
You had wonderful blooms going on in October no less.
It’s been ages since I started any petunias from seed and I’ve not seen such variety in stores. These are quite the stunners and I am intrigued to try the black ones.


Patrick April 9, 2013 at 2:14 pm

Thanks Barb. Hope you find the black ones soon.


Corner Garden Sue December 18, 2011 at 6:35 pm

Hi Patrick,
I am glad you stopped by my blog again. Thanks for your nice comment. Yes, the place does look a bit brown, and I am looking forward to spring.

I haven’t been keeping up with my blog reading very well. I’m sorry you have been having problems with your health. I hope you are healing well now that you are out of the hospital.

Those window boxes sure did look good this fall. I like what you said about the genes being unstable. I have found that to be true for some new ones, too. I am starting to go more and more native. I won’t rip out the plants I have that aren’t, though, unless they become too spready.

Have a great Christmas!


Patrick April 9, 2013 at 2:16 pm

Thanks for stopping by, Sue.


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