Grow, Grow, Grow, Your Boat

January 7, 2011 by

Photo by Julie Moo

I once had a neighbor whose front garden featured a lovely planted rowboat. She eventually moved and so did the boat. It got me thinking about people using these out of commission vessels in their gardens. Whatever floats your…

The way it leans, looks like it is also planted in the ground:

Photo: Willowburn Gallery

Photo: Lynda Kelly

The UK company Nautical Planters offers an entire planted fiberglass simulated clinker 8′ Dinghy planter. It’s “reinforced to take weight of topsoil.” The company offers multiple fixing options and suggests it be surface mounted or partially buried.

Photo: Nautical Gardens

At the Te Mata School Garden Ramble in New Zealand:  visitors took in Teresa & Gavin Hayes’s garden for some home-made lemonade, club sandwiches and cakes.

Photo: Raglan

A website hosted garden?

Photo: thegarden.ei

And in winter…


For the Phoenix Desert Botanical Garden, artist Dale Chihuly’s blue and purple glass boat which is nestled in sand. At first I wondered what those gorgeous purple plants were!

And for a 2006 exhibition at the New York Botanical Gardens, Chihuly created this wonderful “Yellow Walla Wallas”:

Photo: Fred R. Conrad for the New York Times


  1. Eliza @ Appalachian Feet said:

    Catchy title and clever concept! Now I wish I had a boat. 🙂

    — January 7, 2011 @ 13:20

  2. Ellen Spector Platt said:

    Inspiring! Maybe a boat on a NYC roof garden?

    — January 8, 2011 @ 09:19

  3. victoria lyon said:

    Dale’s boats, so improbably filled with his colorful, organic, fragile glass forms are just amazing. One of my favorite art exhibits EVER was the one he did at the NY botanical Garden.
    Victoria Lyon

    — January 8, 2011 @ 11:26

  4. sharon said:

    I wish it were possible to just upload a picture here, having had a love affair with “boats for growth” for a long time… I wove a boat sculpture with community involvement using park waste branch clippings and invasive English ivy. An image of the boat in the pond can be found 2/3’s down the installation page on my webiste by following this link

    It acted as a nurse log in the middle of the pond, I had to pull the plants out, as we are trying to maintain the size of the small pond, not plant it! But parent ducks tuck ducklings in around it’s sides every spring as protection from the raptors, and many birds use it as a perch.

    — January 8, 2011 @ 15:06

  5. Robin Plaskoff Horton said:

    Thanks Sharon for sending the link to your boat weaving! Beautiful! I also love your other pieces!

    — January 8, 2011 @ 20:03

  6. HomeMade Hydroponics said:

    I am impressed with all those displays. They are beautiful, colorful, and well grown. It looks like a lot of planning went into each boat.

    I have to say the blue and purple display is my favorite, but it also uses glass. I was about to start looking everywhere for that plant until I saw it was glass. 🙂

    — January 26, 2011 @ 17:58

  7. Debra Lee Baldwin said:

    Clever and fun! I have to say, the Chihuly glass-filled boats are my favorites, but they’re all delightful. I like seeing the winter one, too.

    — February 15, 2011 @ 18:20

  8. Julie Moo said:

    Whilst i appreciate you including my photo in amongst other fantastic shots, i believe it is common courtesy to ask for permission to use them before actually doing so. The photo you have taken doesnt even link back to my Flickr site , so i would prefer that you remove it or link it to my Flickr page, thank you.

    — April 5, 2011 @ 07:49

  9. parterre said:

    I have a neighbor who has planted an old fiberglass boat, which is bright blue and gray. It is hideous – – and I am trying to figure out a way to persuade him to get rid of it. Please tell your readers to use beautiful old wooden boats, not hideous fiberglass boats for this purpose.

    — August 31, 2013 @ 11:04

  10. Robin Horton said:

    LOL! Maybe you can convince your neighbor to paint the boat or plant around it? Wishing you success with this eyesore. 🙂

    — September 21, 2013 @ 09:59

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