Water Gardening

Friday, July 11th, 2014 by Jenny Watts
    • Petunias, in bright pink, red and purple, will add beauty and color to sunny borders all through the summer.
    • Earwigs are out and about and hungry. Control them with the new “Sluggo Plus”, which has the natural, bacteria-based spinosad added to the original iron phosphate formula.
    • When fuchsia blooms fade remove the whole flower stem to prevent it from developing seed pods which reduces continued blooming.
    • Feed rhododendrons, azaleas and camellias with an acid plant food to encourage lush growth. Pinch or prune to promote full, dense growth.

Add a Peaceful Pond to your Landscape

The sight and sound of water has always drawn the interest of people, and adds an appealing element to a garden. Water gardens can include fountains, waterfalls, small ponds and elaborate combinations of rock work and lighting. Any pool of water can become home to plants and possibly fish, attracting a variety of water creatures, birds and butterflies. A container on a deck may be all that you need.

A larger pond should have marshy or shallow water areas, as well as deeper areas. In the shallow areas live the frogs and newts, beetles and other little creatures along with marsh plants like iris, cannas, arrowhead plant and rushes. Ideally, the marshy area should comprise about one-third of the area of the pond.

The deeper waters of the pond are the home of fish, water lilies and other aquatic plants. Make this section at least 2 feet deep. Fish are good scavengers. They clean up debris and help control mosquito larva, and other insects.

Small ponds use water only by evaporation. A waterfall or fountain can be created using a pump to recirculate the water.

Locate the pond where it receives 5 to 6 hours of direct sunshine a day. Most aquatic plants and fish need plenty of sun to thrive.

If possible, place it away from trees so that the falling leaves and seeds won’t foul the water. The pond should have a surface area of at least 20 square feet (4 feet by 5 feet) so that it will be able to create a balanced water community. The larger the pond the more natural it becomes.

The soil that you remove can be used to landscape the area around the pond or to construct a waterfall. A garden with a natural slope lends itself very well to a waterfall or cascading water feature. Heavy rainfall will cause the pond to fill up, so be sure to install a proper overflow pipe.

Do not locate a pond in a low, wet spot. When the water table is high in the winter, the force of the water underneath will lift the rubber liner, damaging the pond.

Water gardens open up many new possibilities for unusual plants and garden effects. From water lilies and water irises to floating plants and bog plants to go around the edges of the pond, your choice of water plants is wide and varied.

There are two types of water lilies: tropicals and hardies. Hardy water lilies do well in our climate and survive the winters in their pots at the bottom of the pond. Their flowers bloom throughout the summer, with each blossom lasting three or four days. The large, round leaves and splendid flowers float on the surface of the water, opening in the morning and closing in the afternoon. Flowers come in red, white, yellow and pink.

Water lilies require five to six hours of direct sunlight each day. They need 6 to 18 inches of still water over the root ball. Roots are planted in heavy garden soil with no compost.

A garden pond will become more beautiful over time and you will find that it is one of your favorite spots in the garden. Whether you tuck a decorative fountain near the entrance of your home or create a backyard habitat with a pond and waterfall, you’ll find each day enhanced when you add a water garden to your landscape.