Documents: Special Interest: Water Gardening:

Ripples in a Pond: Innovations in Water Gardening
by American Nursery & Landscape Association
July 27, 2003

The popularity of water gardening has gained the momentum of a river bursting into a waterfall. Backyard water gardens have come a long way since the labor-intensive concrete pools of the 1950s. Ongoing improvements have made the pleasures of water gardening accessible to all gardeners, according to the American Nursery & Landscape Association (ANLA). Get your fee wet with the following information:

  • Mini to massive. The size of a water garden is limited only by your imagination. Garden centers are displaying the trend in miniaturized (some as small as 12 inches) water gardens to grace a table or foyer. The `brook in a bowl' idea is perfect for apartment residents or anyone who wants the serenity of a water garden on a small scale.
  • Some homeowners like to think big. The typical backyard water pond has increased from an average 24 square feet in the 1950s to 100 square feet in the 1990s. This increase is driven by flexible liners made of enhanced polyvinyl chloride (PVC). Faster and much easier to install than concrete, PVC liners allow pond builders the freedom to create larger, more naturally shaped ponds.
  • Clean, not green. There are several methods of keeping pond water clear. Aeration isn't necessary if goldfish and water plants are stocked at the proper rate. However, as the fish population rises, so does the bio-load. Fortunately, pumps are now more economical and energy efficient than ever before.

The biggest splash in water gardening is ultraviolet sterilizers. Pond water passes through a chamber containing an ultraviolet light. This light kills only harmful, free floating algae. Ultraviolet sterilizers are a quick, completely effective means of keeping pond water clean without harming fish or beneficial wall-clinging algae. Liquid or powder enzymes are another, somewhat slower method in the quest for clean water.

  • Moving Along. Considering the practical and aesthetic benefits, it's no surprise that more than 90 percent of water gardens have moving water. Keeping water circulating does more than keep it clean. Some homeowners install water gardens outside their bedroom window to enjoy relaxing sounds as they drift toward sleep.
  • Lovely Lilies. After a long period with few introductions, new colors and varieties of water lilies are now available. Exotic, yet hardy, lilies are shown in shades like salmon and peach. And exciting, exotic tropical water lilies can be selected to bloom at night, while you dine on your deck or patio.
  • Popularity. As little as 10 years ago, the perception existed that the average gardener couldn't establish and maintain a water garden. Advancements in technology and an expanding field of knowledge have exploded that myth.


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