I live in a Condo where they encourage owners to personalize the
outside with container gardens. They even let you plant your own stuff
in your bedding areas.
I have several containers with flowers. Two of them are heavy ceramic
16-17" sized containers with tall sunflowers in them. They were
growing beautifully, with dozens and dozens of buds. I also had an
over-the-railing window box on my deck filled with Music Box
sunflowers (2 feet tall) that had just come into full bloom.
I planted EVERYTHING directly from seed on May 15, and nursed them
with daily watering, regular fertilizing, insecticide, and fungicide
treatments. I spend probably three hours a day watering and caring for
Since yesterday morning at 8:00 am until today right now, I have been
frantically running around like a madman trying to stop the wind from
destroying these flowers. It's just non stop, gail force sustained
gusting. It seems it isn't touching any of the neighbor's stuff, then
again, they don't have tall sunflowers. There isn't even any kind of
weather advisory right now or anything (I am west Michigan), and the
forecast says nothing about high winds. Yet outside my window, there
are huge winds ripping into my containers.
One ceramic container of sunflowers got blown over and smashed into a
million pieces. I went to Lowe's and got a larger 20" foam container,
weighted it down with two heavy concrete foundation wall blocks, then
transplanted them into the new pot. The wind blew it over again. I
then had to try and get creative in figuring out how to weight it
down. I got four foundation blocks, put two ratcheting tie down straps
underneath them, put the pot on top of them, put the sunflowers back
up again (not easy, as soon as I set them in the pot the non stop wind
would send them instantly sideways, holding them in position was like
playing tug of war), put three more foundation blocks on top of the
pot, then tied the whole thing together with the ratcheting tie downs
(the straps used to tie motorcycles and atv's down to pickups). The
whole thing now looks like the flower container version of
Frankenstein's monster. It's a husk of what it once was.
As to the deck railing planter of music box sunflowers, I looked
outside the window today, and they were gone! The wind had actually
picked them up and carried them down about 24 feet away from my deck.
The railing planter smashed into a million pieces. I propped up the
root bound dirt and went to Frank's and could only find another
container in a different color than all the others I have. Took what I
could get. Set the flowers down in the new planter, put it back out on
the deck (not easy, my deck doesn't have stairs, had to carry it up a
hill and through the house), tied it down with bungee cords to the
rail, with the cords going over the top to hold the flowers in.
It got picked up and carried off again. This time the bungee cord kept
hold and it ended up dangling from the edge of the deck. Had to get a
ladder to pick it back up, couldn't hold on to it though as I cut the
bungee cord, and it fell. Picked it back up again and put it in the
container, which didn't shatter this time, then put it back out and
tied it down this time with the ratcheting tie down. Only had two, so
used one on this container, and one on the other container of music
box sunflowers that hadn't got blown off yet.
A third container of sunflowers also got blown over. The heavy ceramic
container that it's in didn't get broken, so I picked it back up. I
fastened it with bungee cords to the only thing that I could find that
was close to it, a shepherd's hook. It's double ended with one side
having a hanging pot and the other side nudged in between some bricks
on the house to hold it straight.
It got blown over again. The bungee cord was simply stretched from the
shepherd's hook over to the container. Put it back, fastened it again
with more bungee cords. The bricks that were holding the hook strait
chipped, now the shepherd's hook lost its support. Forced it back in
between the bricks further down so that it's slightly crooked now. It
also has a tendency to pop out easy now, so it's very likely this
container will get blown over a third time, taking the shepherd's hook
After this, one of the sunflowers in this container got snapped in
half by the non stop gusting wind.
Keep in mind, these are very heavy ceramic containers filled with 6-7
foot tall plants. When I say I picked it back up, it wasn't easy. I am
alone, no wife and neighbors don't help, just stand there gawking.
The winds are still out there gusting, I wonder which of my hard work
will get destroyed next. I wonder if the stuff I did will hold. I
wonder if the stems will snap. Anyways, the stuff that I set back up
got pretty wrecked. I had smaller flowers like pansies and violas and
other stuff planted around the outer rims that was just starting to
bloom, of course that's all smashed and lost now.
I guess I just need someplace to vent. Thanks for reading if you've
read all this.
I should ask, I can't be the only one who has ever fought an epic
battle like this. I may not grow plants any more, I am on the verge of
a nervous breakdown after these two days. How do you cope? Is there
anything you can do to fasten down containers with tall plants? Anyone
have any techniques to share?
Right now, I'm thinking if I do plant containers next year, I will
bolt down the window boxes. Will make emptying them in the fall
harder. If I do tall plants like sunflowers in large ceramic
containers again, I'm thinking of using the technique of fastening the
container down to four foundation blocks underneath it using the
ratchet tie down. I could get a black one maybe, that might not look
Anyway thanks for reading if you made it through all this.