Grow Your Own Cascading Flower Box, Tips From Spain

K. Emily Bond
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cascading flower boxes of Spain
Photo by K. Emily Bond
One of the best parts of living in Seville, Spain, particularly at this time of year, is the lush greenery. Not greenery on the streets, of course. Most of the trees sprouting from the sidewalks and the occasional patch of grass can best be described as shrubbery; those that pre-date the 20th century are preserved by virtue of being surrounded by concrete.

The greenery I’m referring to is what you see cascading from the balconies and terraces on narrow calles, yet another cosa that makes the city so unique.

Unfortunately, I lack the skills to create a cascading flower box of my own. While my cilantro thrived during the rainy season, it died soon after. I’m a pariah when it comes to plants and flowers. They lack the words to come out and say it, but they just don’t like me.

In this case, I sought out the professionals. I ended up talking to a shop woman named Pilar at a nearby jardinería (nursery).

“Pilar,” I more or less asked, “how on god’s green earth do people grow cascading flowers out of their windows and keep them alive until October?”

My question came out more like, “¿Cómo es posible?”

She explained to me, her patience waning after I asked her to repeat herself for the third time, that the best flowers and plants to use to achieve a hanging garden are rosas (roses), hederas (ivy), and Gitanilla -- a kind of ivy geranium that literally translates as gypsy girl.

Though the Gitanilla has its origins in South Africa, it's perfect for the Spanish climate. The flowers come in purple, red, pink, or yellow and might sprout on their own or create a nice double bundle; they require a minimum of four hours of sun, very easy to come by given that the sun shines for 12 hours a day here in the summertime; and they do well in arid conditions.

How many seeds must one plant to enjoy a window full of flowers?

To this, Pilar kept it simple: “¡Más, más, y más!”

Do you have cascading flower boxes around your home or apartment?


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