May 10, 2008

Are there better window boxes anywhere than in Brooklyn Heights?

These appear within one block on Columbia Heights just north of Pierrepont Street:

Window Boxes in Brooklyn Heights

Window Boxes in Brooklyn Heights

Window Boxes in Brooklyn Heights

I'm very impressed by the care taken arranging the plants and know from personal experience that it's a lot of trouble to keep these things watered and unwilted.

ADDED: Notice how all 3 of the designs have structure to them. There's a rhythm to the colors, a horizontal flow of shapes, and a distinct upright element in the center. The first 2 also have a downward plant, while the third one use the elaborate container to make the lower portion of the design interesting. The ups and downs on the box in the center are particularly dramatic. I wish I'd kept track over the course of the year to see how these window boxes change, but I think they are done and redone with the seasons. I also appreciate the shiny clean windows that reflect the trees and bring even more nature to the picture within the window frame. And note how the first window includes a lace curtain with a leafy design. All those layers! I imagine inside there are plants and flowers and maybe furniture upholstered with flowery fabrics, making the view from the inside perspective even more lush.

18 comments:

Ron said...

I love the bottom one, especially the box itself! Those look like owl heads flanking it, and even the flowers themselves are very pretty.

PatCA said...

Beautiful. Even better than the Londoners' version.

Bob said...

You should see the patio gardens of Cordoba, Spain. Imagine whitewashed walls two stories high, with a central courtyard leading to individual apartments, the courtyard having a well or fountain in the center. Along the walls , which are trimmed with colored tiles, are hanging pots full of flowering plants, dozens of them.

The more modern homeowners just use garden hoses to water all these plants, the traditionalists use poles with a copper flask attached, which empty a small cargo of water when a cord is pulled. In the evenings the air is redolent of night-blooming jasmine, or dama de noche as it is called in Spain.

Heavenly.

Trooper York said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
vbspurs said...

Beautiful. Even better than the Londoners' version.

I agree, PatCa.

The very last one, with that boar-hunting scene flower box is gaspingly beautiful.

Not just the box, which you know must've taken forever to get, but the composition of the flowers, and their subtle colours.

Still, the most beautiful flower boxes I've ever seen are in Germany, with an assist given the Swiss.

My Bavarian great-grandmother told me that Queen Victoria's daughter, the Empress Frederick, brought to Germany the English love of gardens, and flowers.

Before the late 1800s, Germany was disinterested in flower boxes -- but they took to it, with a glee that was perhaps a little competitive in nature.

Plus anglais que les anglais, and all that.

I can't imagine that was the main reason. After all, there are few people as nature-loving as the Germans.

Flower boxes in Castle Combe (often called England's prettiest village).

Flower box in Rothenburg ob der Tauer (ditto Germany).

Cheers,
Victoria

Chet said...

Massechusetts.

Beacon Hill easily outdoes anything in Brooklyn.

Those pretentious Bostonians !

rhhardin said...

Mayapple, just out, has its own window box.

ricpic said...

Sitting on a window ledge, neatly contained,
Prim echo of the riot that is nature unrestrained.

Ralph said...

the Empress Frederick, brought to Germany the English love of gardens
Which is a bit ironic, since she had 250 years of German ancestors before you could find a British one, and that one a Scot (James I's daughter).

vbspurs said...

Which is a bit ironic, since she had 250 years of German ancestors before you could find a British one, and that one a Scot (James I's daughter).

Absolutely.

But one's culture has no blood.

Cheers,
Victoria

Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) said...

Sorry, not even close. Just about anything in Salzburg, Linz, Melk, or Wien (all in Austria), to say nothing of Budapest, Bratislava, Praha, and so on ... will beat the Brooklyn stuff, hands down.

Heck, there's plenty of stuff in Kansas City that'll run those boxes into the ground in any head-to-head competition. We make our living selling ornamental flowers for boxes such those you photographed, and whilst not bad, they're not particularly inspired, either.

Meade said...

The middle photo is my favorite - brave and successful color combinations of magenta, red, and blue against the dark orange terra cotta brick of the building - the oversized planters themselves painted black, giving them weight while suspended above ground - the reflections of the trees from across the street in the old wavy lites of the upper sashes - even the wetted limestone bases, the result of the anonymous gardener having recently watered the plants, reflect animation and essence.

And, finally, the delightful arched tutors of honeysuckle vines at their peak of pre-bloom turgidity with the understated vines of foliage trailing down over the fronts of the planters create a playful dance of line, form, and color.

Another fine example of Althouse's keen eye for architectural details and the cultivated natural beauty of urban humanity.

peter hoh said...

Very nice. The combination of foliage in the third one ensures that it will be looking good long beyond bloom time.

Christy said...

Lovely. They make me want to redo the ones I put together for Mom and Sister last week.

rhhardin said...

There's a rhythm to the colors, a horizontal flow of shapes, and a distinct upright element in the center.

Ack. It's like art class all over again.

rhhardin said...

Though with horizontal flow of shapes, there's some really beautiful stuff with the divergence theorem.

It accounts for dust bunnies, for example.

Mom said...

They're all gorgeous. But the strong similarity in the design elements you pointed out, plus the knowledge of plants and the sense of color, all in one block, make me think that all of them may have been created by the same hand. I'll bet there's a Window Box Professional working on that block. Could you please send him/her out here to make some for me? The drive is only six hours or so each way.

vbspurs said...

I'll bet there's a Window Box Professional working on that block.

Wow, of course. Especially the first two, I'd say. Great eye, Mom!

(And Happy Mom's Day!)

P.S.: Peter had a good point about the last set's colours, but the first flower box is growing on me. It looks like a sarcophagus, and must weigh a tonne. Weird reasons, but there you are.

Cheers,
Victoria