I’m always looking for good gardening examples. When stumbling upon a garden in a surprising spot, I stop, smile, and soak in the energy that the gardener is sharing. While walking through Paris, universally recognized as a beautiful city, I discovered fascinating emerald energy dotting the houseboats on the Seine.
For the residents, the floating home is no different than any small abode in the city or country. It has all of the trappings of a modern apartment. For typical apartment gardeners, a balcony or deck offers the chance to grow a few plants in pots. For the houseboat gardeners, growing plants on the deck takes on a new meaning.
Some people, those who haven't discovered gardening, would never think of a boat as a garden plot; it doesn't meet the traditional definition of a house and yard. For a gardener, it isn't a question of whether there will be a garden, but rather one of how big.
Most of the boats have a few plants in the windows and topside, but a few are lush with greenery. Those gems aren't boats with plants, but are gardens that happened to have a boat beneath them. Flowers, shrubs, and trees cover the decks. That's where gardeners live and they're proud to show it.
Many people would like to grow plants but feel the obstacles are too numerous to overcome so they don't begin. I've talked with many such people about their doubts and I always suggest they start small, with just a pot or two. From there they can expand as they learn more and become comfortable with gardening. It can take years to achieve gardening success in a challenging area. I know. I've spent years making mistakes, trying new things, and discovering what works.
I think of the houseboat gardeners of Paris following that pattern. Starting with a pot or two, making mistakes, trying new ideas, and succeeding with a beautiful garden, on a boat, in the middle of the most famous city in the world. Their desire to garden under the scrutiny of every passerby is inspirational.