Water Gardening

Water gardening with ponds or containers can be the most rewarding of the work invested in your garden. It creates a relaxing environment that allows you to escape from it all at the end of the day. An oasis in your garden that will become the focal point and will also be an attraction for birds, butterflies, dragonflies, etc. Waterfalls and fountains can add a sparkling effect in the garden. Add some fish, frogs, turtles, and snails to the pond to complete your outdoors habitat.

Remember, start small and add more when you gain more experience.

A good source for pond supplies and equipment is MacArthur Water Gardens. They offer pond supplies from all of the major manufacturers and can answer any questions that you might have

If you don’t have the space for a pond, try water container gardening. A container garden with water plants can add an interesting focal point to your garden, balcony, or patio. Any container that holds water can be used. Different containers can also be set together on different levels. For a dramatic, cascading effect, you can add a pond pump or pond filter to the containers.

The key to a successful pond setup is to establish a balance of pond plants and wildlife. Too many fish and/or plants will tilt the balance and algae can become a problem. Selecting your water plants from each of the four types mentioned below can maintain that balance. Just as you would see in a marshy pond near a meadow on a stroll down your favorite trail, you will generally see four types of plants-

  • Bog or marginal plants
  • Deep water plants (Lilies)
  • Oxygen suppliers
  • Floaters

Bog or marginal plants- The plants that grow on the edge of the pond in shallow water are called bog or marginal plants. These plants are best grown in containers submerged just a few inches under the water. They accent the pond beautifully with a natural look. Bog plants, like the floating plants, also provide protection from the sun or predators for the fish or frogs. Some suggestions are Water Forget-Me-Not, Marble Queen, Cardinal Flower water plant, and Swamp Hibiscus, Zebra Rush, Sweet Flag Umbrella, and Tall Horsetail.

Lilies- While they might appear to be a floating plant; Lilies are actually rooted in the bottom of a pond. They come in tropical and hardy varieties and the hardy lilies can be very easy to care for. They come in many colors and the blooms can be very fragrant. They will open each morning and close at night, lasting for four or five days. The plants can bloom for months.

Oxygen suppliers- Submerged plants such as Hornwart, Anacharis, Cambomba, and Parrot Feather supply oxygen for the living organisms in the pond. These plants remain just below the surface and help prevent the water garden from becoming stagnant. The majority of these plants are quite winter hardy.

Floaters- Finally, floating plants including Frogbit, Water Lettuce, and Water Hyacinth provide coverage for the water garden’s surface and inhibit algae growth. These plants do not need soil and are quite easy to grow, so easy in fact that you might find yourself taking quite a bit of these to the compost pile.

All of the plants, with the exception of the floaters should be potted. If they are not already potted when you purchase them, they should be potted with heavy clay soil, not potting soil. Remember that these plants live in the sediment of ponds in nature. Using heavy soil will also help anchor the plants.To accommodate the varied depths at which each plant grows, you can use bricks to adjust their height. If you dig your own pond, you can design “shelves” into the pond for setting the plants on. Most pre-made pond liners come with these shelves built in.

Every visitor to your water garden will enjoy its tranquility and find it a peaceful retreat. Your water garden will be a constant source of joy and contentment for years to come.

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