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Floating Garden

The Floating Garden is a canal-based gardening site that makes up part of the Growing Project. We created the Floating Garden in partnership with the Canal & River Trust to spread the positive benefits of The Growing Project out into the canal network and to use it as an engagement and learning tool with our various community groups and partners.

A landscape image of a sunken tank within a wooden structure. The tank is filled with water and green aquatic plants that are semi and fully submerged in the water. The tank is lined with a pale brown rope, woven into a loose net, which curls out of the water onto the wooden structure.

A few years ago the Canal & River Trust gave us an old, rusty, 24 foot boat hull after they found it abandoned, flooded and without any of its original wooden cabin structure. We’d been in conversation with them about creating a floating garden on the Digbeth Branch canal. However after many attempts to revive it, with lots of welding and new buoyancy added, we needed a plan B. Ironically it only needed to float for the four mile journey from Icknield Wharf. After this, it would be scuppered to allow it to fill with canal water and become a new ecosystem of native aquatic and semi-aquatic flora, invertebrates and bacteria, but the risk of it sinking on its 19-lock journey through Brindley Place was too great and so, in 2022 we developed a new design with MJM Bespoke here in Minerva Works.

The Floating Garden was installed in spring 2023 with a planting plant developed in partnership with horticulturist, Alys Fowler. The garden is looked after by our team of paid cultivators who also tend to the adjacent canal bank. The native species are bulking up in this new complex ecosystem of shade and light, depth and shallows, organic and in-organic and free flowing water. The hornwort in particular is thriving in among the jute-lined baskets and is boosting oxygen levels in the water as it grows. On the outside of the structure, Water avens, Brooklime and Marsh cinquefoil are slowly spreading out into the canal, blurring the lines of the structure. Pond skaters and dragonfly larvae dance around in the water in the summer whilst Moorhens, Geese and Herons take it in turns to wander around on the deck.


You can visit the Floating Garden anytime at the Fazeley Street bridge