Happy Birthday Hendrik and Garden 2010!

As today is the summer solstice, it also means it’s Hendrik’s birthday! 77 years ago today, she was launched in Friesland as a little newborn Luxemotor (and at a whopping 31m, what a baby!).

And since I’m posting anyway, I may as well share a few photos of what I’ve been up to…

A few weeks ago I brought out the black, grippy Hammerite and finally painted the garden steps Lorna welded on last year, then very kindly borrowed some cream paint from the neighbours to touch up the surrounding metalwork. It was THE DRIPPIEST PAINT EVAR so it made a huge mess and flowed underneath the masking tape I so carefully laid out to protect the black steps (grr), but it got the job done and looks almost invisible from a distance.

repainted garden steps

And while I had the paint out, I lent over the side and finally rid us of the “Boot?” graffiti we picked up in Volendam 3 years ago…

Painted over graffiti

The rest of the photos here are showing off my floating container garden, which has slowly and steadily expanded ever year we’ve been aboard. Since we moved out of the back cabin to rent it, the garden also moved forward, with the bulk of it now on the saloon roof.

Hendrik's garden 2010 editon

James built me four enormous containers on the main deck (with plans to add benches and a coffee table, too), which now contain a small lavender plant each, with daffodil bulbs in each corner, and for this year, some lettuce surrounding the lavender. Because I can, and it’d be wasted space otherwise.

lavender planters

Moving up to the saloon deck, here’s my other lettuce container, and to the right, spaghetti squash and half of my tomatillos (the latter two you can’t buy in the UK, hence why I’m growing them).

lettuce, spaghetti squash & tomatillos

Along the right hand side of the deck, there’s lavender (just seen), french beans, carrots, white marrow (patty pan), potatoes, and at the very end, courgettes and the rest of my tomatillos.

right side plants

I found the world’s biggest strawberry plant, so James built a smaller planter for it to live in. We must’ve eaten at least 20 strawberries off it already, so it’s made its money back!

Strawberry in planter

Here’s some closeups of some of my produce-in-training: a courgette, a marrow, and my prized tomatillos!

Courgette in training Patty pan in training tasty tomatillos one big tomatillo

We have a strange sort of microclimate on deck – tons of direct sun, but a lot of wind so things need to be staked down really well. But no weeds, snails, or slugs, and the birds seem to ignore it. The only real pests are the flies on the squashes, which I attack with a spraybottle full of diluted Ecover washingup liquid…

Thankfully, we’ve got plenty of the good guys – tons of bumble bees and ladybirds (ladybugs)! Here’s a big fat bee on my geranium.

bumble bee on geranium

Oh, and also not pictured are more french beans, a rosemary, some mint, tomatoes, hot peppers, beetroot, spring onions, and spinach, plus a ridiculous amount of basil in the wheelhouse!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this tour of my garden, because we’re going to be filmed for an upcoming BBC series in August! More details and, of course, links to the show when we can say more… Fingers crossed it all stays alive for another month!

- posted by Melissa Fehr on 21 June 2010, 12:46 in