This time of year is a struggle for many gardens, and particularly in the UK as it endures an unusually long heatwave. For most of us, watering is not so tricky, but I wonder how this oasis of peace is faring on the ‘open’ seas?!


Who’d ever imagined a garden on a boat? Not I! On a tour of this most unusual ship moored in Harwich I was wonderfully surprised to be greeted by this most unexpected addition on the deck of the ship.


Thinking about my own passion for gardening, I realise it is a wonderful source of solace. The peace and tranquility brought by the tending to the plants, seeing their growth, caring for them is incredibly soothing. So it has been throughout time. Viewing the garden on the ship I felt an immediate sense of serenity, a hint of magic, the flowers sparkling, the details in every nook and cranny a delight to discover. The garden oozed with tranquility … it was hard to tear myself away and continue the tour.


“Don’t underestimate the therapeutic value of gardening. It’s the one area where we can all use our nascent creative talents to make a truly satisfying work of art. Every individual, with thought, patience and a large portion of help from nature, has it in them to create their own private paradise: truly a thing of beauty and a joy for ever.”  Geoff Hamilton


“It goes back to the garden telling a story. You make up bits and play with them to see if they ring true. Sometimes this works out first time and all is well and good, but as often as not you have to fiddle and reshape until it is right.

In the garden or allotment we are king or queen. It is our piece of outdoors that lays a real stake to the planet.”  Monty Don


Sunset over Harwich Pier, courtesy of Tony O’Neal at 

I will write much more about this fascinating ship in a later post this month but wanted to share snippets of this tenderly loved and cared for garden today.

PS. Thank you to everyone for your wonderful support and comment on my last post ‘Loyalty & Trust’. For anyone who didn’t see my addition to the post during late Tuesday afternoon I found to my utter surprise that my reviews had been restored! A fantastic result and I was appreciative of their email apology later in the week, albeit without any explanation.


99 thoughts on “FLOWERS AHOY!

  1. What an amazing boat Annika.. and yes watering on land has been arduous enough so I wonder about the fresh water to water plants on a boat.. I know the effort its taken me an hubby to keep our allotment well watered..
    My kind of boaty heaven lol.. And yes you are so right A garden is great therapy on land or sea.
    Just loved this post. ❤

    1. Sue, I thought this post would resonate with you! 😀 The garden was heavenly and the serenity was overpowering … I just didn’t want to leave. Whilst there it wasn’t particularly warm but I have no idea how they manage now. Good for you to keeping your allotment alive with these crazy temperatures. Is there water at the allotments or do you need to bring it in? On my south facing patio the leaves of the plants are actually scorched which I’ve never seen before. I love the sun but not sad about the light cloud cover today!

      Happy Gardening … just mind the sun & heat!
      Love & hugs xx 🌺🌼🌻🌸🌹

      1. Hi again Annika.. Yes there are watering station cisterns at various points up and down the allotments, Ours is not that far about twenty paces from our plot, others have further to walk..
        So yes hubby carries around 60 gallons every morning.. back and forth.. ( Keeping him fit for sure ).. 🙂
        And our back garden is south facing too, Our small Acer tree also has leaf scorch and our lawn is dried grass..
        The other day we had a very light shower, I had grown some snap-dragon flowers from seeds and they were ready to plant out, but its been far too hot.. So there I was in shorts and teashirt in the rain and loving it.. I came in hair wet and soil on hands, But so loved being in the rain… even if it only lasted half an hour.. It really didnt touch the soil it didnt soak down.. And when we pull beetroot etc, the ground despite us watering every morning is so dry beneath..
        But we will get through, You see when the children break up for their summer holidays no doubt it will rain day after day..
        Enjoy your Garden too Annika. and loved this one on the boat. ❤

        1. I love hearing about your joy in the rain – sounds wonderfully child-like and free! It is such a southern feel to the air … the bricks of the house burning hot to touch! Haha…yep, schools finish here on Friday and I wouldn’t be surprised if it pours thereafter. Luckily we are off on Saturday! I have sent up wishes that the beautiful weather in Sweden lasts our whole holiday…fingers crossed. Garden calling … but so is the swing bench…dilemma! ❤️🌺

  2. What better use of space than to plant a garden. And unless the dolphins learn to climb aboard, it’s a safe way to grow flowers, herbs, and fruit that local critters cannot enjoy for their lunch. Love seeing something colorful growing in every nook and cranny. A very fun trip aboard this ship – thank you for taking me with you.

    1. Shari, a delight to have you along on this tour! 😀 I think your joy at the surprise of flowers tucked away in the most surprising small nooks and crannies matches my own … so beautiful and surprisingly spiritual!🌺🌻🌼🌸 You have me smiling at the thought of the errant dolphin landing on deck … hopefully not! 😀

  3. That was a lovely garden on the ship. Clever thing to do. Someone must like gardening along with being a fisherman or sailor. It can be calming and all encompasssing once you get into it. It takes your mind off of other things. Thanks for sharing, Annika. Hugs xx

    1. Janice, how perceptive of you to consider the creator of this garden. Chatting to the owner of the boat this was one of my first questions as it is so unusual and unique. Inspired even! It turns out that his wife/partner started this a few years ago and you can feel her love and whimsical magical natural all around…she must be very green-fingered as everything was thriving! It is soothing to visit and must offer a lot of solace to create. Wishing you a lovely Sunday. Xx

      1. Thank you, Annika. Gardening can be calming. I can’t garden like I use to – torn cartilage in my knee and vertigo if I bend over too long. Sigh! But I love to watch the plants and flowers grow. Creating that garden must have been cathartic to his wife especially if he went out on his boat for long trips. Hope you have a lovely day too! 🤗 😘

  4. Wow! That is an awesome idea, like a traveling garden. Beautiful pics (esp. the sunset :D) And fitting quotes. There is definitely something soothing about gardening, even if it’s vegetables rather than flowers. I think just getting in touch (literally) with Nature is the real therapy. Thank you for sharing, Annika!

    1. Julie, I think you’re right about about literally getting in touch with Nature … so healing! You can feel the wholesome effect of this garden and imagine how soothing it also is for its creator! What a great advertisement for it to call it a ‘traveling garden’! I felt it should get far more promotion and prominence than it has at the moment … a feature that attract even more visitors! The sunset photo is sublime and I would never have expected such views here in the U.K. The ship’s owner takes these and posts them on Twitter – a visual delight!

      Happy Gardening & Writing … look forward to more of your gardening pics. Xx

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  6. What a lovely idea, Annika. In this house we never miss Gardener’s World or any of the RHS shows. The Tall Ships are at Sunderland next week and I’m so looking forward to seeing them. Perhaps I should take a few plants along. 🙂 🙂

    1. Haha!! I like the idea of you suggesting to the Tall Ships to just take some time out for a garden! A couple of pots might not hurt though…😀😃 Have a fabulous time watching them all and hopefully taking lots of photos to share with us! I used to watch Gardener’s World but not so much now although this year we are finally RHS members and had a superb time at RHS Wisely a couple of weeks ago. I didn’t want to leave!

      1. The Hampton Court Show is on this week and I’ve got half an eye on it. Don’t tell anyone but I have a Tall Ships related surprise planned for my husband, whose 65th birthday it is next week. 🙂 I’m quite excited.

        1. I sure hope he doesn’t read all your comments!😀 Have a super time … sounds exciting!! A very Happy Birthday to your husband – he’s in for a treat! Enjoy Hampton Court … I’d like to go but doing uni tours. Nottingham last weekend (university exceeded all expectation) back to see Nottingham Trent next week. Then a couple more before off to Sweden for some weeks… yippee!

          1. Never, thank goodness, so I’m safe! I did just remark to him that it’s 15 years since I took him to the Hampton Court show to celebrate his 50th. Where does it go? 🙂 🙂 Nottingham is a lovely city. You’ll be ready for those hols!

  7. Khaya Ronkainen

    I agree Annika, gardening is a wonderful source of solace. But who knew that a garden can thrive so well on a boat. Thank you for sharing these beautiful images. Enjoy your summer!

    1. Khaya, I initially assumed the garden was a one-off for a special occasion, but no, it was well-established and thriving – amazing! Only one plant so far had failed to survive (I can’t remember which one). I felt like I’d entered an enchanted story book. Thank you…I’m enjoying this wonderful summer weather and counting the days until the long break in Sweden. The good weather has to last whilst we are there as well…Wishing you wonderful summer days as well! xx

  8. Such a great creative garden… magical indeed! Very therapeutic, and in a lovely setting, Annika. The stunning sunset is absolutely breathtaking too! Thanks for taking me along… 😃 ⚘

    1. Thank you so much for your warm and lovely comment, Iris! It was one of those perfect visits – I still haven’t seen the sunset myself but the owner of the ship told me about it and I was lucky enough to find his twitter feed! An amazing location to savour such a stunning sunset.

  9. Mike

    A garden on a ship – who would have thought it. It must have been a big surprise seeing it like that. Fantastic nautical garden too – and so idyllic. I ‘d love to be able to see it for real.

    Good news about Amazon too.


    1. Mike, it was fantastic to see the reviews back up and I screeched with joy! However, there will always be a slight sense of wariness on my part, fearful it can happen again.

      The garden was beautiful and I felt like a child when seeing it from above the first time! I would have thought this would have been mentioned before, but so happy it wasn’t as I could discover it by myself! Not only were the plants thriving beautifully but there were sweet and interesting ornaments tucked away in every available space. A joy to visit!

  10. I wouldn’t think of finding a garden on a boat, either, Annika, but this is absolutely gorgeous. Since the gardening bug has finally bit me, I understand now the serenity and therapeutic effect tending to flowers offers. I’ve felt that in abundance while watching our sunflowers grow, still waiting for blooms though. But to see them growing taller and taller is quite extraordinary. Loved all of your quotes, too, and the sunset image is stunning. Thanks for sharing this snippet of beauty and wonder, my friend, and wishing you a lovely day. Hugs 🌼🌷🌻🏵🌸

    1. Lauren, thank you so much for your lovely comment and I love hearing about your dear sunflowers – they are a wonder and grow so quickly. I never try to grow any at home but from the birds seeds always end up with some dotted around, one in a hanging basket this year which is a first. I am so glad you have taken up gardening and enjoying the solace to the soul of this craft. The quotes fitted perfectly I thought and I couldn’t resist adding the sunset photo this coast is not often associated with sunsets like this. Always a joy to share the beauty and wonder of my trips out – and a delight to read the feedback, sharing thoughts, experiences. Wishing you a lovely rest of the week, my friend. xx ps. I love all the flowers!!

  11. Great quotes and stunning pictures, Annika. Really admire your love for gardens. “…I wonder how this oasis of peace is faring on the ‘open’ seas?!” – yes, how do they fare on the open seas.

    1. Thank you so much, Mahesh! I meant to have more pictures but ended up having a wonderful conversation with the owner of the boat and forgot to take more photos! The ship doesn’t sail far out but visits ports nearby – still I did think of all the fresh water needed during this heatwave!

    1. The garden is a beautiful juxtaposition to the rest of the ship – a place of serenity, away from the busy world almost! So happy you look forward to learning more about the boat …I will say it took seventeen years for the owner to be given permission for this permanent mooring – fighting the local council!

  12. Gardening is one of those quintessential British hobbies that many Americans try and fail to do with the gusto of the folks across the Pond. I am in awe of British gardens and don’t even try to meet their quality. the idea of a garden on a boat–never ever even in writing fiction did I think that was out there.

    1. Jacqui, how true that gardening seems to almost an addiction for us … and as a child I couldn’t stand it!! The most boring thing ever! Now I weed, plant, tend along with so many. Saturday mornings, Sunday afternoons seem to be the most popular lawn-mowing time! The garden on the boat is the most unique I’ve encountered. I’ve seen pots on narrowboats (canal boats) before but nothing on this scale – yep, it would be great in a fiction story! There was a personal story about its creator here too but not one I feel free to share online without permission.

    1. Natalie, the closest I come to describing this is as an oasis – wonderfully tranquil. It was disorientating to walk around a garden, with the boat slowly moving in the swells of passing ships. So happy you liked the photos and quotes – seeing this garden I realised how therapeutic many of us find the hobby! I’ve read some books by these gardeners and know how much their work meant to them, deeply philosophical studies.

  13. Wow! It is almost creepy and George Orwelish that your reviews were restored that afternoon. I love the idea of the gardening being a way to express your creativity. Since I am not a gardener I have never thought of it that way. But Dom is a gardener par excellence and I need to share that thought with him because he doesn’t see himself as creative.

    1. Bernadette, how true!! It felt so odd to see everything back … the very same day! I am happy to accept it but still wary of what may happen in the future!

      Gardening is most definitely a creative art!! I really hope Dom can see his work as such … a gardener puts so much of themselves into the magic of creation, design, planting, building! They have a huge effect on all our lives – just look at the impact of this small oasis on the boat!

  14. Wow, that is spectacular Annika! And I agree, gardening is therapeutic and I miss my beautiful backyards in my homes so it’s lovely to see other gardens. 🙂 xx

    1. Debby, so happy to bring this unusual garden to you … I spend many happy hours pottering outside, even late last night when it finally cooled down a bit. So soothing and peaceful. This one here was astonishing, so full of colour, vibrant with life and creativity. Happy Virtual Viewing! 🌺🌻🌼🌸

  15. What a fabulous garden on a boat! I notice the sunset photo is courtesy of Radio Mi Amigo. That brings back memories of listening to Radio Caroline and then later Radio Mi Amigo on my transistor radio. 🙂

    1. Clare, you are so close to what my next post is all about … you’ll have to stay tuned!! As a fan of Radio Caroline I think this is a boat you’d enjoy seeing in real life and not too far from you!

  16. Hmmm I wonder: perhaps the presence of such a garden (with it’s implications of dirt=land) would aid in easing symptoms of sea-sickness for those of us plagued with such a malady?
    I notice that the garden is thriving, not just a bunch of potted flowers placed for decoration about the boat…quite impressive.
    Looking forward to your promised future postings on this.

    1. Laura, I do like your thoughts about the garden alleviating any symptoms of sea-sickness – maybe! The boat doesn’t sail far out but rather between nearby ports, however I became incredibly disorientated whilst standing on the deck, looking at the garden and suddenly lurching to the left or right with the swell of the sea!

      Thriving is definitely the word for this garden and they said only one plant had failed (I’ve forgotten which one!) There were many varieties I struggle to grow on land, not matter on a ship! It was a wonderfully moving visit to this green oasis. So glad you’re looking forward to more about the ship – far removed from the natural world!

  17. hilarymb

    Hi Annika – what a fun ship to come across .. I look forward to your post so I can learn more. Love the views you gave us … and the quotes by Geoff Hamilton and Monty Don … great gardeners, sadly one left us too early. Good luck with the watering in those lovely English – granted probably too hot – days … but that’s life … and the way the weather is … enjoy – cheers Hilary

    1. Hilary, thank you so much for your delightful comment! I think your exuberance matches mine. Alas I became so caught up talking to the owner of the ship as I meant to take many more photos of the garden – I’m glad you enjoyed the views of these pictures! I used to be addicted to gardening programmes; remember a bit of Geoff Hamilton, then saw a lot of Alan Titchmarsh, before he went off to write his books and later Monty Don added a thoughtful reflective mood to the art! Despite the heat I am loving the warm summer weather and trying to engrave this wonderful warmth on my soul, ready to tap into on cold dreary winter days! hugs xx

  18. What a beautiful and peaceful ship, Annika. And yes, lots of fresh water required. I completely agree with you about the therapeutic effects of gardening, the great joy of growing things, and serenity in our natural habitat. Lovely photos. I’m looking forward to learning more.

    1. The serenity on the deck, amongst the garden was overwhelming, a magical aura which seemed to take away all worries and strain. I can just imagine how soothing, how therapeutic it must feel to create such a garden. With the current heatwave I just hope they have rigged up some sort of hosepipe to the garden, otherwise someone is going to keep very fit dashing up and down!

    1. Thank you so much for passing this onto Derrick – and I’m so happy you introduced him to me. We’re now following each other and I am in awe of his garden – it is heavenly!

    1. Jacquie, a brillaint summing up about Amazon and I think you’re right! Just how I feel at the moment. Just glad the reviews are back but I’ll always feel a certain hesitancy in the future. Oh yes, wouldn’t it be heavenly to sit here, sailing away! As it was I didn’t want to move and continue on the tour as I was mesmerised by the unexpected onboard beauty!

    1. The garden was a wonderful surprise … I felt that child-like awe which is often absent as a grown-up! Thank you, I’m overjoyed that the reviews are back – another unexpected event! 😀😀

  19. i agree with Jeoff. gardening is therapeutic. and very soothing. Unfortunately, i don’t have a green thumb and would probably kill a wild weed if i tried to tend to it.

    1. 😀😀 Jina, your comment has me laughing .. I’m sure you’re exaggerating! 😀 If not, please come round here and try to tend to all the weeds!! Whatever I do they still come back with vengeance! The therapeutic value of gardening is fantastic and so many of gardeners are philosophers in their own way. I have a book by Monty Don and it’s wonderfully deep about his thoughts and feelings as well as about gardening in general.

      1. I’m on my way!
        My mom has the green thumb, so much so that six or eight years ago she ate an apricot and decided to plant the seed. Everyone told her it doesn’t work that way, and when the plant turned into a small tree, everyone told her it wouldn’t fruit. We’ve been collecting from it since the past two years.

  20. What a joyful garden Annika. It must take a lot of watering in this heat…
    The plants all look very happy. 🌼
    I am so glad you got your review issue sorted. I have noticed a number of authors having similar issues. 🌼

    1. Brigid, I love how you write about the plants looking happy – that’s exactly what I felt. They were thriving, giving their all, looking snug in their positions. I felt an overwhelming sense of peace – all the stresses disappearing for the time. Quite surreal and I almost had to shake myself to reality once on land again! This after being serenaded by a 93-year-old sailor – more on that in my next post about the ship!

      You’re right, reading up about this issue I also see many others have had similar problems – I just hope they have an equally positive resolution.

      Wishing you a lovely week, busy times in the evening to try and give the plants a chance with extra watering!

  21. robbiecheadle

    I am pleased that Amazon got its act together with regards to your reviews, Annika. what a pretty garden and unique idea.

    1. I was astonished to see the reviews back on, Robbie and it restores my faith a bit! The garden was wonderfully original and is now part of the community taking part in Open Garden days, special events on board! It was a surprisingly moving visit.

  22. Lovely pictures Annika! Thanks for sharing this unique garden on a ship…whosoever thought of creating this must be an innovator! There is no dearth of nature lovers but this one seems to be special. Has it been created just for display or does this ship sail with those lovely flowers?
    I liked those quotes too…so profound!

    1. Balroop, I like that thought of the garden designer and creator being an innovator! Very true! It is wonderfully unique and not at all mentioned on the tourist brochure about the ship so totally unexpected. I too thought it might be there for just a one-off display but no, it’s been there for a few years and now takes part in the town’s open day etc. It is also the central location for special events when the boat is hired for the day or evening. Furthermore, talking with the owner I found out the ship does visit other ports – garden and all! I’m glad you liked the quotes – I have read some books by Monty Don and he is deeply philosophical … profound writing.

    1. Absolutely!! It is becoming quite a show-piece locally and taking part in Open Gardens and such…as well as seen by the visitors (such as ourselves) touring the boat … more later!

  23. Great idea to have a garden on a ship – I also love gardening although I’m taking a couple years off from it. But I love the flowers and the peace they bring! Looking forward to more photos of this ship!

    1. Barbara, maybe this post will inspire you to take up gardening again – I like how they managed to do so much with a smallish space, wonderfully creative. One can sense the solace and peace here and I could easily have stayed until sunset … just chatting quietly, absorbing the tranquility. The other photos of the ship are very different but interesting – hope you enjoy as much!

  24. Your title is fantastic, Annika! My two favorite things, the water and flowers. Thanks so much for sharing this us. Congratulations on getting your Amazon reviews back online. That was just wrong! Happy Sunday! ❤

    1. Yeah!! I felt inspired with the title as I usually struggle!! So glad you liked it, Jill! I know, water and gardens – the perfect combination and it really was so idyllic. I felt mesmerised by the incongruity of it all – so dreamy I didn’t want to leave. Many thanks for the congratulations and your support … it feels great to have a resolution and that the letter actually worked! Wishing you a very Happy Sunday too, my friend. hugs ❤️

    1. Definitely, Carrie! The incongruity of the garden on a ship is amazing, lending it a fairytale quality, quite surreal. It was almost hypnotic to be there, and wherever I looked so much more to see. Thank you, I’m so happy the reviews are back on as well – hopefully to stay!

  25. Annika, I love your title ” Flowers Ahoy” for this beautiful gem of a garden you found
    in a big harbour of all places.
    It is absolutely delightful and so inspiring. I do hope your next post will tell about the people who created this.
    Both quotes are also so wonderful and true. I too find peace and serenity in gardening
    Thank you for sharing this treasure.


    1. Miriam, I’m so glad you liked the title – it fitted perfectly I thought! ‘Gem’ & ‘treasure’ are just the words to describe this little oasis on the water. My next post is more about the actual boat and its many lives – the partner/wife of the man who owns the boat has created this garden and it has come to mean a lot to her. Amongst the multitudes of quotes on my blog over the years I realised I hadn’t featured any gardening ones – I’m so glad to rectify that with these. Wishing you a wonderful time in your haven, may it always be filled with peace and serenity! hugs xx

  26. What a gorgeous garden Annika and quite ingenious. I look forward to hearing more about it. Your lovely post reminds me that I’ve neglected my winter garden lately and that it’s time to get outdoors and do some tending and tidying. Hope all’s well with you. Happy July xx

    1. It was heavenly and a beautiful retreat of a garden. I couldn’t believe my eyes first when I spotted it from above and almost had to do a double take – my husband was a bit behind me and he thought I was talking gibberish, jabbering on about a garden and pointing down! It’s amazing the vast variety of plants which flourish on deck; all with lots of tender loving care! I hope you have a chance to enjoy and look after your garden this winter – here it is too hot to do much outdoors apart from watering in the evening! The grass is nearly all yellow and doesn’t even need cutting. I’m fine, many thanks, just busy with life, school, university visits and oh yes, book talks & some writing/editing! Phew..

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