Thursday, August 16, 2007

water Gardening

I have written about my pond before, so you know how much I love it. I have about 8 frogs living in it now. I don't know how they find it but they do. They are not very vocal. It is fun to watch them sun themselves on the flagstone that surrounds the pond. My taro and cannas have really grown and I just love the cypress I added earlier this year.

If you have thought about adding a pond to your garden but decided it was too much work and/or too expensive how about adding a water feature instead? A water feature can range from a bird bath to a water-based container garden. Water features are available as kits or you can do it yourself with a few commonly found items. They can be above ground or even in the ground.

These two pictures are examples of birdbaths. The first one is a purchased recirculating bird bath. The pump is in the pedestal of the bird bath and the water is pumped up to a "spitter" that is mounted on the side of the bird bath. The second picture is a home-made in ground bird bath made with pond liner and lined with rocks. Although it is hard to see in the picture, there is a small pump that recirculates the water. Birds are attracted to moving water.

Water gardens are easily adapted to smaller spaces with containers. You can use either plastic or ceramic containers. If using a ceramic container you can fill the drainage holes with plumber's epoxy. A small pump can be added to circulate the water and provide the relaxing sound of splashing water. There are a variety of plants that can be used in the container water garden, ranging from dwarf lilies, lotus (quite impressive used alone), canna, taro, cyperess, water lettuce and water hyacinth. All of these will need to be wintered over inside. If the container is big enough (over 5 gallons) you can even add a fish.
I will be giving a seminar on container water gardening this spring at the McHenry County Master Gardeners Garden Fest. Be sure to attend this great day of gardening seminars. If you have any questions you need answered now about water gardening, stop by the store and see me, Steve or Kerry.

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