A fast-growing trend has popped up in gardens everywhere. The water garden is easy to maintain and adds a new dimension to a back yard. Aquatic plants are commonly found at garden centers and some can even survive the winter.
Planning Your Water Gardencolor>
The water garden should get at least three to four hours of direct sunlight so don't locate it under a tree where it will be shaded or catch leaves. Also, the area should be as level as possible to avoid runoff.
A wooden barrel cut in half makes a great water garden container. The large pots available at garden stores also work well.
Place the container in the spot you've chosen and staple a black liner to the inside rim of the container, making sure to smooth out any wrinkles. You can use a heavy black garbage bag for this, or a special water pond liner available at garden stores.
If you plan to add fish or use plants that can survive the winter the container should be at least 18 inches deep.
Fill the tub with water up to a few inches below the rim. If you're planning on adding fish, add a water neutralizer to remove the chlorine.
These plants, such as anarcharis or caboma, live completely under water and help oxygenate it. They prevent algae growths and are essential to the survival of fish.
One bunch of submerged plants should be planted per square foot of pond surface in ponds less then 100 square feet. In larger ponds, plant two bunches of oxygenators per square foot.
- Water Lilies
Water lilies produce blossoms up to 10 inches in diameter and bloom all summer long. Use a heavy, clay-based garden soil and place the root in the pot the same way you would any other plant. Cover the top of the soil with small pebbles to prevent the soil from turning the water muddy.
- Floating Plants
Aquatic plants like water lettuce, water hyacinth and duckweed should cover 60 percent to 70 percent of the surface of the pool to keep the algae from becoming rampant. The roots dangle in the water so no potting is needed.
- Marginal Plants
Plants like saittara, aquatic mint, parrots feather, rainbow plant, cattail, dwarf bamboo, arrowhead, cardinal flower, water clover, Japanese and Siberian iris should be planted just below the water's surface so their containers must be elevated. This can be done by inverting a flowerpot and placing the marginal plant container on top of it.
Fish help control algae growth, eat mosquito larvae and add color. Start with one or two fish (goldfish are the most popular). If they do well you can add more later.
They should be able to fed on the algae growing in the water but you can supplement with goldfish food. If you leave your fish in the pond over the winter, they do not need to be fed; they will hibernate at the bottom of the pond.
Hardy lilies and marginals should be cut back two or three inches from the base and the containers should be sunk to the deepest part of the pool. Less hardy plants and floating plants should be removed and cared for indoors.
If ice forms, add hot water to the surface and allow it to melt the ice slowly. Try not to disturb the water because it may wake the hibernating fish.