Plan your blooming colour scheme, planet spotting, acrostic crossword
Ido hope some of you will take part in the Canal & River Trust’s Boats in Bloom incentive by making a really colourful and imaginative show on your boats this summer. There are prizes to be had after all!
By now, April/May, we should be safe to begin getting the summer bedding plants in place outside, so, whether you have been growing from seed or plan a trip to your local garden centre, this is the time to put some design thought into practice.
In order to make a striking display in the space available it would be a good idea to follow a few basic principles and with floral displays this principally involves colour.
First tip; what colour is your boat, do you want to complement the colour of your livery or go for a contrast? My boat is red and green with yellow coach lines so I tend to go for lots of red pelargoniums, petunias, verbascum and perhaps some bright yellow nemesia, sticking to the red, green and yellow theme.
With a blue livery one could go for blue, purple or bright pink, or for a total contrast try bright hot orange – that would make a real statement! If you have a green boat – anything goes, imagine a bright multicoloured show, or, for something more subtle, monochrome; pretty pots of pure white flowers – sweet-scented nicotiana, vanilla-scented nemesia or simple white busy lizzies with clouds of trailing white lobelia? The combinations are infinite and I am really looking forward to what you can come up with.
If you are a vegetable grower, and I do appreciate that not everyone is as enthralled with boats topped with pots of flowers as I am, there is still no reason not to make an eye-catching show.
Companion planting gives the opportunity to add some colour interest to the vegetable plot. Plant bright orange tagetes with your tomatoes to deter the whitefly or calendula with peas and beans to attract pollinating insects. Strongly scented herbs such as basil and chives not only taste good but help repel aphids from salad crops. Hestia and Pickwick, two excellent varieties of dwarf runner bean make an amazing show of red and white flowers on their own.
This is such an exciting time in the gardening calendar and it is easy to go overboard with containers on the roof and deck of the boat. Please do remember a few safely rules: keep all containers clear of your centre line and hand rails, don’t create trip hazards with pots or foliage and don’t grow anything spiky!
I can see myself being as much a Gongoozler as a boater this summer and I simply can’t wait!