In Barb's Garden

...water gardening
by Barb Foster
by Barb Foster


Inspired to nuture, Barb Foster took up gardening over a decade ago. She has a particular passion for this areas hardy perennials.

Barb collects her own seeds, grows seedlings in a greenhouse and has 500 sq ft of growing beds plus numerous perennial flower beds in her Zone 1b garden in Chetwynd, B.C.

Barb writes weekly for the Chetwynd Echo.

July 13, 2008

In a Water Garden, one surely must include plants.

Plants that grow in the water and plants that are grown beside the water. Vertical plants will provide protection from the wind. At waters edge choose plants that are low, with round forms that will achieve a natural blending from water to plants,rather than an abrupt change in height. Always leave a clearing and a path to the pond so that it can be viewed easily. Some potted plants could be used around the pond; the pots should be of subdued colour's.

A bog could be created along side the pool to grow bog plants. Excavate a shallow area alongside the pool, and allow pool water to overflow into the bog, to avoid leakage, include the bog area in the pool excavation, and lay out the liner over the edge and into the bog without cutting it. The bog area should not drain back into the pond. It should function as an overflow collection pond, with slow drainage away from the main pond.

Plant the pond edge garden as you would any other garden but avoid the use of chemicals or treated garden soil. For the bog area and underwater pots use heavy loamy clay soil; the soil should be well tamped to remove air bubbles. The bog area should be planted as any other garden bed. The difference is it should be a slow draining area. In the pond do not use leaf mold, fresh manure, or lime. Avoid introducing unwanted chemicals into the pond or bog areas. Bone meal may be used mixed in the soil, or special pond plant fertilizer.

Use plant pots or baskets or tubs of plastic; or use wooden boxes made of untreated pine or cedar. Do not use redwood as it will turn water black. Containers should have plenty of holes to allow water circulation. To help weigh down pots put washed rock in the bottom of the pot. Leave the soil level an inch or more below the rim to allow for a topping of washed pea gravel. To avoid muddy water when you place planted pots into the water: use heavy topsoil, firm the soil well after planting, presoak the potted plant and then allow it to drain, slowly lower the pot into place in the water, if bubbling occurs stop lowering the pot and wait for the bubbling to stop before continuing to lower the pot.

Use underwater plants called oxygenators, because they contribute oxygen to the water. These include:

Anacharis (Elodea), Ceratophylam demersum (Hornwort), Myriophyllum brasiliensis (Parrot’s Feather). Plant decorative deep water plants such as Hardy Water Lily.

Marginal and Bog plants include Iris pseudocorus, Iris verisicolor, Iris kaempferi, Sweet flag, Cattail, Horsetail, Marsh marigold, Manna grass, Water Forget-Me-Not, Arrow head, Bulrush, Water Plantain, Rush. Floating plants do not require soil; they are simply floated on the water. These include: Ivy Leaved Duckweed, Duckweed, Salvinia.


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