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How to Build Your Own Water Garden

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

 

A water feature in any garden can soothe and enchant. Yet with a little resourcefulness and a creative eye, building your own is easy! Water gardens in pots make stunning front entrance displays and foster tranquility on a back patio getaway. Start with a unique, watertight container. It could be a beautiful ceramic pot, a metal tub or a wooden barrel. Plastic, food-safe rain catchment barrels can be cut in half and painted. Or imagine a salvaged bathtub, sunken in your garden and filled with cattails and beautiful water hyacinths. Leave the fixtures on for a whimsical, upcycled pond! Scavenge at the Rebuilding Center and see what containers will spark your imagination without costing a fortune.

Assembling and caring for your water garden is a snap. Simply set plants still in their pots and fill the container with water. It’s that easy! Refill the container with tap water as water evaporates. If mosquitoes start to lay eggs, consider a few goldfish to eat the larvae. You may also need to clean out the container every so often if unattractive scum develops. Water gardens can be displayed inside or outside your home, but they do need a good amount of indirect sunlight. Some plants will need to be brought inside for the winter, so make note of when you purchase them or move the whole garden inside to stay warm.

When selecting plants, you want to keep it interesting with varying heights and colors. Consider three different height ranges. Include at least one tall dramatic plant, one medium sized specimen and a few floating plants for the surface of the water. For height, a variegated Japanese iris will have dramatic foliage when it’s done blooming. For a no-fuss, oxygenating marsh grass, pick out a red-tipped Japanese blood grass (Imperata cylindrica).

For an exotic look, try an Egyptian papyrus sedge for height and beautiful seed heads. Marsh-growing corkscrew rushes (Juncus effuses ‘Spiralis’) add dynamism with sproingy, curly-cue leaves. To keep the water cool and mosquito free, choose a few floater plants such as the prolific water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes) or the cute rosettes of a water lettuce (Pistia stratiotes). Water lilies are exquisite water plants, but you will need a large container so their leaves can spread out. Try a cream-colored ‘Josephine’ (Nymphaea ‘Josephine’) waterlily or an enchanting  ‘Kathy McLane’ (Nymphaea ‘Kathy Mclane’) with red mottled leaves. Remember that a cohesive composition includes a few species that go well together rather than one of everything. Whatever plants you include, have fun!

 

Related Slideshow: Dandelions in the Garden and How to Eat Them

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Dandelion blossoms

© 2015 linda dalal sawaya

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Dandelion puffball

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Red dandelion greens

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Red dandelion washed and prepped

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Red dandelion chopped for salad and sauté

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Sautéed dandelion greens with caramelized onions

© 2015 linda dalal sawaya
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Red dandelion green salad with caramelized onions and pine nuts

© 2015 linda dalal sawaya
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Red dandelion green salad with caramelized onions and pine nuts

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