Water Gardens – Creating an Oasis
There are few things more soothing than the sound of trickling water in the garden. It’s a melody that is inviting to both human and wildlife alike. You don’t need a large space to be able to enjoy a lovely water garden. A beautiful watertight container filled with a variety of colorful and texturally interesting aquatic plants, a tiny fountain pump and a charming little fountain spout can add an unexpectedly delightful sight and sound to a foyer, sunroom or outdoor space with minimal upkeep.
Utilizing either a small fountain pump or fountain spout with pump is essential to keep water moving. Moving water discourages mosquitoes from laying eggs and taking up residence in your outdoor space. Mosquitoes’ ideal environment consists of shallow stagnant water so be sure not to promote this condition either in connection with your water garden or in any other place in the backyard. When water is moving, mosquitoes are unable to surface to breathe air. As an added measure, if your water garden is large enough, you can add small fish which also eat insect larvae.
When selecting the location for your container garden, remember that water weighs about eight pounds per gallon. The area should be sturdy enough to withstand the weight of the container plus water and plants. For best results, try to position your water garden in a location that receives a minimum of six hours of sun a day. Most aquatic plants need full sun although some of the bog plants can survive in less. You will also need a source of electricity nearby to connect your fountain pump.
Remember to keep it simple. Sometimes less is more, and you can create a dramatic water garden with only two or three different plants. If you wind up with a design that you don’t like, it’s easy to rearrange the plants. Small-container water gardens are actually a collection of submerged potted plants, so redesigning a planting is as simple as moving the pots around.
There are a number of excellent websites to find the perfect plants to use in your water garden including this one from the University of Illinois. http://urbanext.illinois.edu/containergardening/water_plants.cfm
Here are just a few of the many plant choices that thrive in water gardens:
Nelumbo ‘ChawanBasu’ (sacred lotus)
Growing two to three feet tall, this lotus boasts large, bluish-gray, oval-shaped leaves. White blossoms, delicately edged with pink, appear from July to September. Planting depth: 6 to 12 inches.
Azollafiliculoides (fairy moss)
This small, free-floating aquatic forms a dense, mosslike mat on the surface and changes from green to brick-red as the season progresses.
Nymphaea ‘Joanne Pring’ (water-lily)
The young leaves on this miniature aquatic are plum-colored. It produces tiny, fragrant deep pink star-shaped summer blooms. Planting depth: 6 to 12 inches.
Sagittarialatifolia (American arrowhead)
An upright native plant, it grows up to two feet tall and produces wide arrowhead-shaped leaves. Clusters of yellow-centered white flowers appear from summer through fall. Planting depth: 3 to 6 inches.
Typha minima (dwarf cattail)
This Eurasian cattail grows up to 30 inches tall and produces narrow linear leaves. Small, dark brown cattails appear in summer. Planting depth: 1 to 4 inches.
Water gardening is fun, easy and can be a great way to enjoy all the creative and artistic pleasures of gardening without ever having to pick up a shovel. We have everything you need including design advice to help you create your first masterpiece!
Visit Garden Accents to find water bowls and containers, bamboo fountain spouts, other decorative fountain spouts, fountain pumps and more!