Neighbours talking over the garden gate has long been a tradition. They share gardening tips, complain about the weather and pests yet are ever eager to discuss their gardens. That is what I had in mind when creating this blog. So stop by my garden gate to find out the latest happenings in my garden.

Happy Gardening!

Garden Gnome
"All my life through, the new sights of Nature made me rejoice like a child." ~ Madame Marie Curie"

Monday, January 15, 2007

Garden Water Features

Water Irises

Garden water features need not be elabourate or expensive. They are a fun way to add interesting aquatic plants to your garden. A previous entry showed water hyacinth growing in a large potting tub this past year. Anything that will hold water can be converted to a water feature so get creative. Containers can be camoflauged by using other potted plants if you wish. Be sure to locate your container where it will get plenty of sun in an area you wish before filling. It will be too heavy to move later.

Just after the greenhouse was installed, I put in a tote pond inside the greenhouse. The main purpose was to provide a heat sink along with increase humidity levels in the greenhouse. I simply used a tote filled with water then added inverted pots to create a shelf for the water irises. The water lily was set directly on the floor of the tote. Duck weed and marsh reed completed the mini pond. A small submersible pump created just enough movement to keep the water from becoming stagnet. Fresh water was added as needed. In both water features, I used a couple of rosey red minnows to control mosquito larvae.

Mosquitoes like water features or any other standing water. Unfortunately mosquitos are vectors for the West Nile Virus so measures must be taken to prevent them from breeding. Any standing water should be emptied. Mosquitoes can be prevented from laying their eggs in water features by adding small submersible pumps to keep the water moving and for good measure add a couple of rosey red minnows or feeder goldfish. Both fish like to feed on mosquito larvae. They are small enough to be transferred to winter in an aquarium if necessary. Never release fish into a natural water source!

In cold climates treat the container aquatic plants as annuals. Some may overwinter indoors and of course it is always worth a try if you have the space. Most water plants require a great deal of sunlight. I have never had any luck overwintering water hyacinth so mine ends up in the compost bin. An alternative to overwintering indoors is find someone with a deeper in ground pond. They will gladly take aquatic plants off your hands. Never discard of your aquatic plants into a natural water source!

You will note I ended the two previous paragraphs with a "Never" statement. This bears repeating. This practice is simply not good stewardship. There are reasons for not releasing fish or discarding your aquatic plants into natural water sources. It disrupts the natural balance, can introduce disease and in some cases can become very problematic.

Have fun incorporating aquatic plants into your gardens and landscaping!

Garden Gnome
© 2007


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