Sunday, August 8, 2010
I have taken the plunge...for my 50th birthday (last year) I asked for a pond or water garden with waterfall, though I wanted to arrange for it myself. I had started to dig the pond, oh, 8 or 9 years ago, but my then young son took it over for a bunker or fort to use in play. I guess that finally the weedy mess of an area got to me and 11 days ago, I had a pond installed. The top photo is the most recent incarnation, after I started adding some plants (water lettuce, water hyacinth, water palm, purple pickerel, star grass, lobelia cardinalis and l. syphilitica) but the other photos show the transformation. The first or second night a frog moved in and 10 days later we had tadpoles! The pond is about 14 ft long and 4 ft wide, almost 2 ft deep, and the waterfall adds about 4 feet in length.
There are several types of plants to have in a water garden. Floating plants help shade the garden and prevent algae growth (e.g. the water lettuce and hyacinth). Then there are marginals: these are the plants at the sides of the pond that are on a shelf higher than the full depth of the pond, at about 9 inches from the surface (these are the rest of the plants I mentioned by name above). But a pond also needs some oxygenating plants, which are not the beauty queens of the the pond, but hang below the surface and help keep the water clear. I need to find some oxygenators either at a garden center or on line. A few people have asked if I am going to have water lilies, but they need a still water situation, so, no, not in this pond. Same with fish, probably not, they need specific care, conditions and plants, plus they would eat the tadpoles!
This is opening up a whole new type of gardening for me and is a lot of fun. So, instead of looking longingly at the water plants on display at a garden center, I can have them in my garden! (And this will, hopefully, stop me from killing lobelia because I just can't find a wet enough spot for it in my flower beds!)
The pond is incomplete and obviously needs further landscaping. You know the old saying that, if you paint one room in your house, the rest of the house looks shabby? That is now true for my back yard. The pond is lovely (though needs retaining walls at the back and side and some more plantings), but the rest of the back yard looks bad in comparison (of course, I knew it was shabby, but did not care before). So, now I have plans for some large potted trees at the back, for a bog garden to the left and behind the waterfall, for a stone path in front of the pond. And we really need a new deck, and it should incorporate the pond view in its design, right?
I took the plunge all right!