Nature lovers and boat dwellers will know the air has been thick with sex for some time. In my bit of town, buds are bulging, swans are thrusting and fox’s precoital screams have long cut through the soupy dusk. Here, the blossom has already started to come. This weekend – which felt more like summer than spring – was soundtracked by territorial Canada geese fog-horning about their water rights. Repairs to a lock meant the canal level dropped, temporarily beaching some boats and revealing litter clogged platforms of mud for the birdlife to do battle over.
Ever a fair weather gardener, the sun tempted me out of hibernation to tend my boat-top plot. I did some tidying up and then planted some seeds – calendula, love-in-the-mist and nasturtium, all chosen for their edible petals or seeds. I also bought some sweet pea seedlings promising dark red velvet flowers and a perky oregano plant.
Plans have been hatched and the intention is to focus on low growing herbs, bee and butterfly friendly flowers and edible leaves for the boat-top box. It’s important the roof plants don’t overly obscure sight lines from the stern and so make cruising difficult. They also have to fit under low bridges and be compact enough to withstand any high winds.
Unwilling to eschew climbers completely, taller plants can be stationed lower down on the front deck – it’s a small space but there’s probably room for three or four pots. It’s currently hosting the new sweet peas and a bay tree. The hope is that bush tomatoes and dwarf beans will join them.