WINDOW containing a collection of healthy and blooming plants stamps the owner as one possessing refined tastes and a kind disposition, together with a love for all that is beautiful in nature. Window-boxes ornamented with English or American tiles, and lined inside with zinc, are too costly for the size of young people’s pockets.
Besides, there does not begin to be as much fun in a “store” window-box as is contained in one made at home with the assistance of father or big brother.
A well-made window-box for the cultivation of plants during the winter and summer months will last a number of years with ordinary care. I represents a home-made window-box when completed. The box consists of well-seasoned one-inch white pine thoroughly nailed together.
At one end of the box (A) a hole is bored to allow all surplus water to drain off and into the pan, also shown at A. To prevent the water and moisture contained in the soil from rotting and warping the woodwork, several coats of hot asphalt are applied with an old paint-brush (asphalt varnish will also answer) , thus closing up all possible leaks, and thoroughly protect-ing the woodwork.
There is no rule for the proportion of window-boxes; the requirements of the plants used and the widths of windows and sills govern the proportion of the boxes. If the windows intended for boxes are very- wide, braces of wood should be fastened across the tops and bottoms of the boxes to strengthen them, and extra feet nailed on to support them.
All boxes, as well as flower-pots, containing growing pants should have a thorough bottom drainage. This is accomplished by placing on the bottom of the box a layer of broken earthenware or old bones broken into small pieces. The bones answer a double purpose that of drainage and a sup- ply of plant-food.
Some Panel Designs:
A square is first drawn on the outside of the window-box; this square is painted a light green, to contrast with the brown of the spruce twigs. After the paint has dried, the guide-lines are ruled from corner to corner through the center. Small twigs of dried spruce-wood of a uniform thickness (about that of a lead- pencil) are selected. If the leaves do not fall off readily, the twigs are placed in an oven and thoroughly dried, so that they fall off at the slightest touch. The twigs are beveled at the ends, as shown in the picture. In the center of the panel is nailed a square of wood equal in thickness to the spruce-wood twigs.
This square is painted white, and is also ornamented with spruce twigs and the small cones of the spruce, the intention being to produce an elevated center to the panel. The spruce twigs are firmly fastened with small brads. Over all two or three coats of furniture varnish are applied to develop the rich colors of the spruce- wood, as well as to protect it from outside moisture.
The outer border is composed of the burrs of the liquid-amber tree (“alligator-wood”), with comers of pine cones. The next line consists of a band of spruce branches with the cones attached. The center is a sheet of white-birch bark, with hemlock cone comers.
The ground consists of two coats of paint of a cream-white tint. The cones are fastened on with small brads or pins that have been shortened to a convenient length. The canes are first softened in boiling water or steam to make them pliable for bending into curves.
The shorter curved branches con- sist of short sections neatly joined to the leading curves. The center is composed of a framework of liquid -amber wood, with grape-vine monogram or other device. The grain of the white pine when brought out with the varnish answers for a groundwork.
It is a panel covered with marbled oil-cloth (such as is used for covering tables and desks) of a light tint.
It is first cut exactly the size of the panel, on which it is glued, the edges being secured by nailing on to them narrow strips of floor oil-cloth of a checkered or vine pattern. The corner-pieces and center consist of simple and neat patterns in oil-cloth, but rich in contrasts of colors.
Brilliant oil-colors can be used for bordering’s and framing in lines; intense blacks, reds, and whites are best. Over all, a coat of varnish is applied. The materials consist of “clinkers,” or slag, from furnaces, stoves, glass-house furnaces, and iron-foundries.
These are fastened to the woodwork of the box by means of hot asphalt. The comer -pieces in the illustration are composed of clinkers of a light color. The central group consists of vitrified clinkers from an iron-foundry or glass-house. The handsomest clinkers are to be obtained from glass- houses, as they are composed of more or less glass of different colors. After the groups of clinkers are firmly fastened in position, a coating consisting of varnish mixed with any of the chrome greens is applied to all parts of the exposed woodwork.
The clinkers look much more brilliant when touched up here and there with gold or copper bronze. This is accomplished by applying varnish to the clinkers; then, before it dries, dust on the bronze-powder a dabber of cotton or wool.