Up The Spout: Growing Water Gardens

Not everyone has a huge garden or large backyard with acres of grass or gravel! Which means if you’ve not quite got the grounds of a grand manor house you’ll be looking for something a little more low-key that still looks beautiful. Having a water garden means never needing to cut the grass, you can add or remove features whenever you like and it’s a great way to add texture through old barrels, china pots, and even stone urns.

Which Plants Work Best?

Obviously, the whole reason you’ve set up a water garden is to display luscious, attractive and colorful water plants. Yes, you’ll have heard of Water Lilies but what about Azolla? Savinia? Water Hyacinth? Or Floating Heart? These are great options as they’re sturdy and don’t need to be potted because they’ll obtain everything they need from the water. If you’re considering Water Lilies, then Helvola and Indiana are great varieties. Even though they do need to be potted they bloom quickly, look amazing, and you can always add liquid fertilizer to keep them looking their best.

Make sure that when you’re planning your aquatic garden that you use several types of plants, variety is the spice of life and a little contrast will stop your garden looking dull and unbalanced. The best way to make sure you’ve got everything covered is to have at least one aquatic plant, say a Water Lilly, an upright standing plant and then some free, floating ones that gently bob on the surface.

Fishy Friends

Believe it or not, even small water gardens can have fish or you could create a bigger connecting habitat for them by joining several barrels or containers together. If you’re going to add in fish, you may also want to look into buying pond air pumps to make sure that the water stays properly aerated. Goldfish look pretty swimming around but do check you’ve bought ones that are comfortable in ponds and not aquariums! 

You’ll find that if you do add fish your pond will stay much cleaner, they’ll eat flies and mosquito larvae although to top up their diet you can, of course, give them fish food which will make them much friendlier. Bear in mind, fish cannot stay outside during the winter and you need to transplant them indoors into similar containers. When adding a water pump check to see where it’s positioned. Aquatic plants, even though they’re immersed in water don’t like to have constant splashing over their upper leaves.

Let The Sun Shine

Keep your water garden filled at all times as rainwater will help but you may have to manually top it up from time to time. If you’re filling a pot for the first time it may be best to use a little, fish safe, natural chlorine remover as well as placing the containers somewhere you’ll see them! Easy viewing spots are ideal such as by a garden bench, along a path, near the front door or even at the side of your decking. Plants like sunshine but not too much otherwise they tend to go a bit ‘leggy’ or start to wilt in the ever-present heat.

-Dana

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