Plan your bloom­ing colour scheme, planet spot­ting, acros­tic crossword

Canal Boat - - This Month - with Julie Clark

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!

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