Gardens On Barges For the Nautically Minded

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Make sure that you have your sea legs for this visit. As part of the London Open Squares Weekend, these private and secluded "gardens" are open to the public once a year. Garden Barge Square is a community of barge dwellers, moored right by historic Tower Bridge. They have created a floating garden square on the decks of many of the barges with walkways lined with flowers joining them up. It's a kind of hippy community because barge living is not the most salubrious. It is cold and damp and grey in winter, the cabins are cramped and you bump your head a lot.

It is in the summer that it all comes alive and alive is the operative word. With a million dollar view of the spectacular buildings along the Thames, including the Tower of London, this is a world onto itself. The gardens are planted in a series of steel trenches. The watering and drainage is from the river. In hot weather the plants need a daily dose of water. There is an assortment of blossoms, berries and evergreens and herbs grown. Some spots are left wild so that insects and butterflies can nest there.

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Each barge garden has its own individual character. One has only self-seeding annuals such as poppies and other wild flowers. Another only has grasses and daisies. Another has five foot high artichokes. One boat has a quince "orchard" and geese had a nest there for their goslings.

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The bike barge is a parking lot for bicycles and given the central location of the moorings, bicycles are the perfect way to get around.


The barges themselves are all different too. Dora was a Dutch klipper built in 1913 with a long and varied history, first as a cargo boat, then a party boat and then converted to home use. Another started as a french boat in the '50's and its owners want to convert it into a music studio ultimately. :: Open Garden Squares Weekend

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