From a review of the Viva Balcony Railing Planter by Paul and Dedra Diehl in Iowa:
Last winter I went to Gardeners to buy balcony “saddle” planters. Once there, I saw these stunning planters and crossed off the saddles. I was skeptical that the actual item would look as good as the photos but ordered them anyway. Am I ever glad I did! I’d expected thin, tin-like metal with a cheap finish that had already chipped. But these “lacquer,” heavy-duty planters arrived instead! And in perfect condition.
After checking out the instructions for self-watering and then filling the planters with soil, I popped them over the balcony railing, with planters inside the railing, as approved by our condo association (the saddle planters are not). In addition to protecting pedestrians ten stories below….
Our plan had been to get safe railing huggers so we could enjoy flowers and herbs without our cat eating them. Mission accomplished sans huggers. And with unexpected bonuses: the sterile run of glass, aluminum, concrete changed into garden; a cat relaxed who’d been chased from plants. And perhaps best of all, superb performance in high winds. It’s not uncommon for 50 mph winds to sweep our balcony, even 70 mph winds with thunderstorms. We’ve had to chain down our heavy BBQ grill to keep it from hurtling the length of the balcony.
So, to help get the plants established, we waited for a forecast of a two-week calm. And then, BAM, huge winds! Furniture blew around, the grill pulled hard on its chain…and the planters? Not one moved, and not one plant disappeared. How was that possible? I discovered the over-the-railing part is slightly angled: wind gets deflected a good foot over the plants! Amazing to see plants barely moving while furniture’s bouncing around.
After this summer and fall, we removed the plants, opened the two bottom drain holes, and now watch snow shoot over the top. In case you can’t tell, we love these planters; and so do neighbors in surrounding buildings: “Oh, you’re the ones with the red lacquer garden boxes!” One note: when a water-level indicator sticks, just use your finger-on-thumb to give it a good tap; that should solve the problem for awhile. Since we have five planters, we tally and act on the majority vote.