It has taken a while but I have finally discovered easy gardening. When we first moved aboard “Roma Pearl” I had visions of a glorious riot of colour blooming from pot plants on the front deck.
After years of living on a sailing yacht I was excited about having real plants that would stay in one spot.
Off we went to the hardware store which has a large gardening section. We arrived home with several plants, gardening tools, pots, compost, plant food and a couple of nice baskets designed to hang on the rails. I set to with relish and soon had a colourful display out the front.
Being new to the area we had no idea that it would be so windy or that the prevailing winds would cross the front of the boat. The poor flowers lost all their petals and were very definitely not happy. Hanging baskets on the rail were out because I had to tuck them away in the lee; this meant placing them on the side decks. Now of course we couldn’t even see them!
Next problem was the sun, South Australia is very dry and when the sun shines it is hot, in fact during summer it can reach 40°c.(104°F) Now as well as being blown away the flowers were being fried.
A neighbour kindly told me that I wouldn’t need plant food if I used river water, and I soon had proof of this. It is not hard to see why since the river is crammed with fish and bird life. It is likely this is what they are bottling and I’m buying as fertilizer!
A few months ago our son and his partner came to visit us and when they left they bought us a pot plant as a thank you gift. It is a bromeliad and normally they don’t grow very fast but the river water obviously agrees with it because it has trebled in size and needs re-potting.
Easy Gardening Idea
After losing several plants I became a bit despondent and decided to give the whole idea away. The vision of a “cottage look” as you approached the boat was gone. However the next time we were in the plant section of the hardware store I suddenly had an idea. I realized that all the plants are reared under shade cloth which means they are used to protection.
The back deck of “Roma Pearl” is covered in by a sunroof and only gets full sun for part of the day, it is also protected from the wind most of the time. The room overlooking the deck is our sun lounge and dining area. Soon after moving aboard we replaced the windows with full width, floor to ceiling glass doors which afford us a lovely view over the water.
I decided this would be the perfect spot for my plants, shaded from the sun, protected from the wind and best of all, in full view when we are using in the room. The front of the boat is as bare as ever, the vision of the “cottage look” as you approach the boat is gone forever.
Cut Flowers In A Pot
So back at the hardware store where I bought a whole lot of plants advertised as “Potted Colour”. At around $2 a pot it is cheaper than buying cut flowers, and that is how I treat them.
I buy a new set as the old ones get passed their best. They last a good while and when they are finished I get rid of them and donate the pots to a charity that needs them. Using this system we can enjoy colour all year round and have a variety of different inseason plants.
I have used the two oblong planters from the hanging baskets and they hold up to four plants each. Right now they are full of Begonias, Sweet Williams and Snapdragons. They thrive on the river water and are a lovely splash of colour on the back deck. That really is easy gardening.
Buoyed up by the success of this project I bought an indoor plant for the lounge. I bought a Maidenhair fern and I planted it in one of those self watering pots. I’m thrilled to say it is doing well, plenty of new growth and looks very healthy.
Every so often I stand it on the back deck in the early morning sun and spritz it with a spray bottle, the rest of the time it is in a spot away from the sunlight. Two indoor plants are about the limit because we don’t have a lot of room but there is something very tranquil about living plants.
I am calling my system easy gardening because there really is very little to it. The pleasure we get from the flowers far outweighs the amount of effort it takes to look after them.