What is Water Gardening?

Water gardening is the cultivation of water plants in a garden environment. It can also be referred to as aquatic gardening or fish pond gardening. Regardless of what it is called, these water gardens are very popular among gardeners and homeowners. They offer a serene snapshot of nature that can help to beautify a yard or add life to an otherwise bland landscape.

Aquatic Water Garden

An aquatic garden has several design options that will depend on the owner’s wants and needs. Some people prefer natural-looking water gardens, while others like the more artistic looks of a Japanese-styled water garden or an Italian-inspired design. Whether it is for relaxation or recreation, there is something for everyone when it comes to building the perfect water garden.

Water gardens are usually placed near a house or patio where they can be enjoyed and admired on a daily basis by the homeowner. This is not a common garden type, but it offers its own charm and beauty to those who take the time to build one.

Aquatic Plants in Garden Ponds

The main feature of a water garden pond is the plants and adding them can be accomplished by several methods: you can either plant them yourself, have an aquatic nursery plant them for you, or buy “potted” aquatic plants that are ready to put into the water. If you’re going to plant your own, most aquatic plants don’t need soil and will grow fine in the water itself.

Trees are also a good idea if you want shade for fish or just simply want trees in or around your pond. Trees may be either partially or completely underneath the water, although this requires more maintenance since when you have a majority of the tree under water, you’re going to want to clean it frequently since debris and leaves will build up and can cause an oxygen shortage.

If you don’t like the idea of trees in your pond, there’s also aquatic plants that grow on top of the water or don’t necessarily need soil, such as atlantica and lotus flowers. Each type of aquatic plant also has its own maintenance procedure if you want them to grow and multiply, so be sure to do some research before purchasing any plants for your water garden.

The most common variety of plants used in these sorts of gardens are various types of flowers. Water lilies are perhaps the number one choice.

Aquascape.com gives us a list of 10 popular water gardening plants, along with an image of each plant:

  • Creeping Jenny Pond Plants
  • Pickerel Pond Plants
  • Horsetail Pond Plants
  • Taro Pond Plants
  • Cardinal Flower
  • Water Lettuce
  • Mosaic Plant
  • Blue Iris

Of course, there are many other plants suitable for a water garden, but these are some of the more popular ones.

Creating a Water Garden Pond

Pond construction is largely dependent upon the type of pond you’re creating. If you want to create a small garden pond in your front yard or a bigger one, such as what some people prefer for their backyard, it’s all about building up an area where water can sit and be contained.

The materials that are used for constructing this area are designed to be strong enough to both hold water and keep it from escaping, as well as to provide a stable space for aquatic plants. Materials like acrylic, pea stone or coral rock can all serve this purpose.

Where to Put Your Water Garden

Where you put your water garden will also contribute to the look of it, as well as how easy it is to care for. These gardens are best-kept in areas with lots of direct sunlight and room for aquatic plants to grow. Water should be able to freely flow through the pond, but there should be enough depth so that fish (if you are adding them) can swim through.

Ideally, a water garden should be placed in such a way that the main part of it doesn’t get buried by leaves or other debris carried over by wind and rain, so if it’s near a patio or the house, it can reduce maintenance needs greatly.

A Patio Water Garden

If you prefer something on a smaller scale, consider a patio water garden. Adding aquatic plants to your patio or deck can make for great living areas as well as adding aesthetic value. To make a patio water garden, start with a waterproof container. A couple of options would be to purchase a plastic tub meant specifically for water gardens or lining an ordinary whiskey barrel with plastic.

You can grow several water plants in a tub of water on your deck, and you can even add fish or a fountain for decoration. Even in 20 to 30 gallons of water, miniature water lilies, lotuses, and many other aquatic plants thrive. For the best growing conditions, place your container in a location that receives at least five to six hours of direct sunlight each day. If you live in a hot climate, container gardens do better with afternoon shade.

Adding Fish to Your Water Garden

If you plan on including fish in your garden pond, then some specialized knowledge is necessary so that the ecosystem you create is balanced and the fish can live in harmony with each other. Fish such as koi are an example of what you could have in your garden pond, but it’s important to not get too many fish if you’re new to this – you don’t want to end up with a dead fish disaster!

The main thing is just to provide oxygen and food, as well as ensure that there are places to hide and swim in both shallow water and deeper water.

The fish species that would be ideal to have in a garden pond are one of the several popular Koi, such as goldfish or koi. The general rule is you can’t keep more than two or three fish per surface foot of water, so this is something to keep in mind if you want to have fish.

One thing that should also be kept in mind is not all koi can adapt to a backyard pond, so it’s best to do some research before going out and buying any fish. What you take into account when choosing your fish for the pond are:

  • Shape of body – Deep-bodied fish are more likely to not jump out of your pond, while long and skinny fish can jump out easily.
  • Size – It’s easier to care for the fish if they’re small enough to be able to eat food from the bottom of the pond and won’t cause damage. Koi should be at least two inches before introducing them to your pond.
  • Pond temperature – Fish can survive in ponds that range from 40-95 degrees Fahrenheit, but it’s better if the correct temperature is maintained. Temperatures between 60-70 degrees are ideal for koi and goldfish.
  • Intended effect – Aquatic plants often do better with small fish as opposed to large fish, but it all depends on the species.
  • Considerations – It’s best to have a space of at least four feet for your fish, as well as a place where they can hide and escape predators. Also consider whether you want to use your pond more for fishing or aquatic plants, since koi won’t eat floating plants in the pond, but goldfish or other fish may.

Koi Fish Swimming in Water Garden

Implementing a garden pond doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive; just use common sense and there won’t be any problems.

Watering Seeds From The Bottom

This is a great idea for starting seeds as the moisture comes from the bottom, thus eliminating the fungus that kills many seedlings when you water from the top. Easy to make, just cut the top off a two liter bottle, and add water to the lower part. Cut a hole in the lid, and insert a plastic straw. Fill the top portion with potting soil and add your seeds.

Watering Bottle

Here’s another way to use a plastic bottle for watering.

Winterthur’s Enchanted Forest, Delaware

The Enchanted Woods of Delaware is an magical place, it is like being in a fairy-tale garden.

Mushroom House

If you like fairy gardens, you’ll love this place. It looks exactly as if it was made by fairies. It includes a three-acre tree farm with several places to play, including a fairy-themed cottage, an acorn tea room, and a giant bird nest.

The Bird's Nest

The Bird’s Nest

Enchanted Woods promotes imaginative play and creativity among children and their families.

Maypole

 

Images: WinterThur.org

Using Fireplace Ashes In The Garden

Using fireplace ashes in the garden is one way to recycle a natural resource and get some perks at the same time. Mixed into potting soil or spread on the surface of beds, ash supplies four important nutrients for plants: potassium, nitrogen, phosphorous and calcium. Ash benefits don’t end there though; it also adds grit and helps balance the pH level.

Fireplace Ash

Potassium is important for overall plant health, especially during growth spurts. Nitrogen encourages lush foliage and deep roots. Phosphorous promotes fruit production and flower bud development. Calcium helps with cell strength and transmission of nutrients through the circulatory system. Ash also increases soil alkalinity to help balance acidic soil conditions.

Bucket of Wood Ashes

Image Source: Gardener’s Path

There are many more uses for fireplace ashes than I ever knew.

  1. Compost bin – only a little amongst the organic matter.
  2. A light layer around plants can keep slugs away.
  3. A tablespoon of ash to 1000 gallons of water for a pond will keep algae down.
  4. As a fertilizer.
  5. Cleaning silver.

Butterfly Garden

Butterflies are beautiful, flitting around among all the other lovely flowers you’ve planted, so it makes sense to want to attract them. Some people just like butterflies, and that’s reason enough to plant a butterfly garden.

Butterfly

Butterfly gardens are also popular because it’s fun to watch butterflies, and kids love them. And who doesn’t enjoy the sight of a caterpillar turning into a butterfly?

So if you’re setting out to create a butterfly garden, you’ll want some nectar plants that will keep your adult butterflies fed and happy. A butterfly garden can also provide larval food plants for butterflies when they hatch from their eggs.

Butterflies are attracted to plants that have certain colors, such as red or purple flowers, or large leaves with nectar inside of them. Some things people can do in order attract butterflies in their garden is by having a solitary flower bed so you can get a good view of them fluttering their wings when they land on the flowers, planting some trees and shrubs for butterflies to have shelter, having an artificial structure with water, and by planting certain types of flowers. Artificial structures such as birdbaths and ponds also provide valuable water sources for thirsty butterflies while also attracting them with its up-close views while feeding.

Butterflies

Planting plants that are attractive to butterflies is the easiest way to attract them. Some of these plants include: Bee Balm, Basil, Bergamot, Butterfly Bush (Buddleia), Catmint, Cosmos, Gloriosa Daisy (Gloriosa superba), Marigolds (Tagetes spp.), Nasturtiums, Red-Hot Poker, Rosemary, Salvia, Shasta Daisy (Leucanthemum x superbum), Stonecrop (Sedum).

Planting Chart

I’m not gonna lie to you, I don’t have the greenest thumb and I don’t have the best luck growing vegetables. However, if you’re someone who loves to grow them, please let me know what your secret is because it looks like fun!

The following chart should help those just starting out – or even those with years of experience under their belts. Planting Chart

A Greenhouse for Small Spaces

When I was younger, living in an apartment or places with smaller yards, I always had excuses for my lack of gardening.

Small Greenhouse

I wanted to grow fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs, I really did! But with small yards, it is difficult to do any real gardening. I often had wood or concrete patio or deck spaces, as many apartments do, not allowing for me to really dig in and get a garden started.  I was younger, living in an apartment or places with smaller yards, I always had excuses for my lack of gardening. I wanted to grow fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs, I really did! But with small yards, it is difficult to do any real gardening. I often had wood or concrete patio or deck spaces, as many apartments do, not allowing for me to really dig in and get a garden started.

Image: Overstock.com

If you are in the same boat, take a look at this contraption – the Palram Plant Inn. This small greenhouse is just 4×4 feet, a perfect size for small spaces. Not only that, but the bottom portion is storage! This allows you to hide all those tools, extra soil, etc. to keep your yard clean and compact.

While, to me, it seems a little on the pricier side, consider all the money you will be saving on you fresh lettuce, cucumber, strawberries or garden goodies of your choice. Organic gardening is much healthier, and will save you time, gas and money overall! This small greenhouse seems like an all-around win!

Printable Seed Packets

Packets of seeds are a great gift for new home owners, garden lovers or even at weddings.

But like anything in life, a little extra personalized effort is always a great way to go when gift-giving. That is why I am loving the idea of personalized seed packets. This idea opens up so many creative possibilities, such as initials or monograms, quotes, birth dates, images, etc. Not to mention the type of seeds given – a birth or funeral could give tree seeds, a new home owner could be given fruit or vegetable seeds, a birthday could be given a favorite flower and the list goes on!

Below you will find a couple options to get you started in designing your very own printable seed packets. Click on the source links to get further information on each. Think about using colored paper (you could print in color on newspaper or even used printer sized scrapbook paper) or adding embellishments post printing for a little extra style.

Seed Package

Source: www.erinvaledesign.com

Seed Packages

Image Source: justsomethingimade.com

Seeds

Image: weedsandwildflowersdesign.com

Make your own? I would love to see what you all come up with for your own seed packet designs!