Gardening for cruisers

I have always said the two things most cruising women agree they miss most are their children/grandchildren and their gardens.

I dealt with the gardening issue by bringing aboard window boxes and potted plants.

My outside garden, always changing
My outside garden, always changing

I put a layer of heavy pebbles in the bottom of the boxes, then put in potted plants in their pots (if they are only going to bloom for a few months), or actually plant them (if they are long bloomers like geraniums).

The rocks are to give enough weight so the box doesn’t tip over or blow away, since the potting soil is so lightweight.

This is my “back porch garden”, and with such limited space as you have on a boat, I give away the plants that are out of bloom.

My flower basket on the galley table.
My flower basket on the galley table.

Inside the boat, I keep some potted plants that do well without sunshine, and I keep a number of them snugged together in a flat basket to eliminate the danger of tipping over. If they are single containers, I stick them down with museum putty, or put them in the sink while traveling.

This has become a suitable substitute for the large garden I had at home.

It is also easy to grow various herbs, like basil, if your preference is to grow something that’s good for dinner.

The other compensations are visiting great gardens along your path of travel, or even taking walks along nearby roads, and photographing the wild flowers you will find.

Everybody is photographing the black iris, Netanhya
Everybody is photographing the black iris, Netanhya

As much as I loved the ancient sites we visited in the Med, it was the wildflowers in Israel, and their pictures, that gives me the most long lasting satisfaction. Following are some illustrations, of what I am talking about.

Lotus Creticus Alkana Strigosa Borignaceae
Lotus Creticus Alkana Strigosa Borignaceae
The Rothschild garden, outside Hifa, Israel Black Iris, Netanhya
The Rothschild garden, outside Hifa, Israel Black Iris, Netanhya

Hope this inspires someone, and makes them realize you don’t have to leave your favorite pastimes out of your life, just because you are cruising.

It opens your doors to a world of plants you would not see if sitting in one spot ashore, and by using your camera, and even searching out the identities of what you photograph, you will have these memories for as long as you wish.

Beverly and David Feiges
Aboard Cloverleaf
Abaco, Bahamas

About Bev Feiges

Bev FeigesAfter 21 years on a Cal-46-3 sailboat, Bev and her husband moved aboard Cloverleaf, their second cruising boat, a 61-foot custom Krogen motoryacht.

Self-described “coastal cruisers”, they have traveled the eastern seaboard from Canada to Florida, much of the Caribbean, and with a little help from Dockwise Yacht Transport, much of the Med, from the Balearics to Turkey, south along the coast to Egypt, through the Suez Canal, as far south as Abu Tieg.

You can read Bev’s blog, “Cruising with Cloverleaf“, at

Bev is also a contributor to Gwen Hamlin’s “Admiral’s Angle” column.

Read also on this website
More information (external links)
  • Bev and Dave Feiges’s blog: “Cruising with Cloverleaf
    With 60 years of boating experience, Bev and Dave Feiges have seen it all. From racing inland lake scows, to cruising and living aboard sailboats and trawlers for the past 30 years, they have developed opinions on almost every aspect of life on the water, especially with an eye toward the needs of older boaters

Do you have a garden aboard your boat?

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