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Planting up an empty boat

I’m helping with someone’s garden who has an empty boat as a feature right the front of their front garden. So, it’s v visible from the street and they want it to look great! 
They have mentioned planting to form a St. George’s Cross (not my cup of tea but not my garden), I’m going to try to persuade them to plant for wildlife...but to look neat and impactful rather than wildflower meadow.
This is in Thanet, Kent Coast UK, will get full Sun most of the time (can get v hot). There is already a few tropical looking plants around it (I’ll attach pic)

So, my questions are:
- Plant directly into the boat or pots? Pros and cons of both. I guess the boat will need some drainage holes if we plant directly into it (as currently water is sitting in the bottom)?
- Any plant suggestions? I’m thinking maybe oxeye daisy and ??? .
- Would it be a good idea to pick a couple of colours for greater impact? Eg yellow and blue? 
- Are there any red flowers particularly good for wildlife and suitable here?

Any other tips welcome!
Many Thanks!!


  • Also (another thought)...if we planted straight into the boat would we have to line it with something? Thanks!
  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 28,382
    I think, like any wooden planter, it would need lining to protect the wood from rotting and you'd need drainage holes too.

    The compost you use will depend on the kind of plants and whether or not they go for a permanent planting scheme or want an annual change of scene.  Salvias come in annual and shrubby forms and a wide range of reds and pollinators love them.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • BenCottoBenCotto RutlandPosts: 3,945
    To save on compost, and you’ll need a lot, do what you’d do when planting a deep pot and fill the bottom third with an inert material such as polystyrene packing foam.

    A planting container 8’ x 4’ x 2’ will require 30 full sized bags of compost.
  • Thank you for the replies
  • LoxleyLoxley NottinghamPosts: 4,887
    I suppose you could place plants within very large plastic pots, and fill between with shingle. I would probably plant dahlias... I have been admiring this combo on Sarah Raven's website - Dahlia 'Totally Tangerine' with Panicum 'Frosted Explosion' and Salvia 'Amistad'.
  • LoxleyLoxley NottinghamPosts: 4,887
    See the source image
  • LoxleyLoxley NottinghamPosts: 4,887
    edited March 2021
    If you HAD to go red and white (how awful) you could exchange the Dahlia with 'Bishop of Auckland' and swap the Salvia for Gaura lindheimeri maybe. (Both dahlias are attractive to pollinators).
  • Loxley said:
    See the source image
    Thank you @Loxley this looks lovely! 
    Thanks for others tips too! 😁
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