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Susquehanna Life

Wonders of Window Boxes

Jul 24, 2015 06:18PM ● By Kevin

As the owners of a bed and breakfast inn, nothing is more important to Linda and I than for our guests to feel a genuine sense of hospitality, and of being welcomed—not just when they open the door but even as they approach the inn. I suspect most homeowners have similar feelings. Hospitality, according to Roget’s Thesaurus, is synonymous with “welcome, friendliness, warmth, kindness, cordiality.”

In 2008-2009, after buying our home and going through extensive renovations and painting, it was clear that, while we received many positive comments about all the work we did and the colors we had chosen, we still did not feel our inn had that ‘pop’ as people walked or drove by. For us, this was critical. We didn’t ‘see’ that expression of hospitality even though we felt it. But how to solve the problem?

As a passionate gardener, for me Spring means stopping by almost every garden center I pass, if just to browse and fantasize about what my garden might contain and look like the coming summer. And Spring of 2011 was no different.  Driving out Route 45, toward Mifflinburg, I stopped by Country Farm and Home Garden Center – “just to look and get some ideas,” I told my wife.

Walking past the tables of gorgeous young plants, I made my way to the rear where Keith Phelps stood behind his potting table, finishing work on a stunning window box. Without knowing it, I was caught!

I stood there watching as Keith held first one plant and then another to see how the combination would blend. But as we started talking, I learned it wasn’t just the colors he was considering. He was thinking about how the texture of leaves would blend or contrast, how short or tall the plants would grow, whether the plants would grow well in a container and what was going to be behind the plants when the window box was in place—windows, a wall of siding, a brick wall, a stone wall or something else. As Keith explained how he made his selections I was only half listening as I envisioned how his creation would look on the front of our inn. Was this ‘pop’ for which we had been looking?

After four years of Country Farm and Home seasonally rotating our window boxes, I can emphatically say “Yes, here was that ‘pop!’” But, in retrospect, thinking about those window boxes, as attractive as they may be, they were actually just a catalyst for hospitality. Never a day goes by, when I’m out watering or trimming the boxes, that someone doesn’t stop to say hello, to comment on the boxes or to ask who filled them and thus conversation begins. Window boxes – hospitality in action!

Stop by to see them for yourself! Copper Beech is located at 17 Market St., Lewisburg. 

Written by Bill Petry, Copper Beech Manor

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