We live very close to a working fishing pier and I walk there every day with our two dogs. There is always something going on there: a seal playing in the tiny harbour, the herons making their way from the tall trees to land on the seaweed covered rocks, or a swan gliding into view.
I also see lot of small boats coming and going. A lot of the locals use small boats go out into the bay to catch fish and I have often been lucky enough to be given some fresh mackerel by my generous neighbours.
WILD ATLANTIC WAY
The down side is that we tend to suffer some terrible storms here in this part of Galway – we are on the Wild Atlantic Way and because of that very many small boats end up smashed up against the pier.
These boats tend to be left around the pier and when ever I see them I always wonder about the people who sailed in them, the sea beneath them and the creatures that swam alongside or underneath.
A NATURALLY RAISED BED
I admire the sense of history and life attached to these boats and because of this have always wanted a boat in my garden. I felt that not only would it be an attractive feature to have in a garden so near the sea but I also thought that a boat would also make an ideal and very natural raised bed. As well as being a great way to upcycle something that would otherwise be left to rot.
When I saw this sorry looking boat dumped near the pier I hummed and hawed for a while before deciding to just go for it and ask the owner if I could have it.
ASK AND THOU SHALT RECEIVE
As it happened the owner was only too glad to get rid of it and all I had to do then was ask a local farmer to bring it up for me on his tractor and this he kindly did.
I decided to paint it and try and restore at least a little bit of its former glory. I didn’t repair the storm damage, as I hope eventually to have flowers pouring out of the holes and that way turning its defects into its features.
After painting it I filled it with some rotting logs, newspapers, hen manure, cardboard, seaweed, and a top layer of soil. Before planting it I left it for a few weeks so that my ingredients could decompose.
I decided that I would use the boat as a flower nursery this year and to that end I added tons of flower seeds. Some were the remnants of wild flower seed boxes, some seeds had been saved and given to me by friends and others were seeds I saved myself.
Many of the seeds were old and well past their sell by date but I decided it didn’t matter because when it comes to the boat – what will be will be.
As it turned out the boat turned out to be one of my most productive flower beds. Everything I planted grew, even some poppy seeds that had failed elsewhere and I had thought were duds.
Maybe I got the mix right for the boat, or maybe the wood retained some of the sea’s nourishment – I’ll never know but whatever it was I am happy to say the boat is one of my favourite flower beds this year.
P.S. I think this old boat deserves a name other than it’s current one: ‘old boat.’ If you can think of a name you think is worthy please do let me know in the comments box.