Central Virginia Organic Gardener

"And 'tis my faith that every flower enjoys the air it breathes." - William Wordsworth, 1798

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

My pond

The photo above shows some pond plants I am trying this season. Some are hardy perennials, some tropical (check back later in the summer to see how they look). Near the waterfall on the right is pike pickerel- I have had this hardy plant for two years. It sends up thick spikes of purple flowers in summer. Next to it is taro, or "Rhubarb" colocasia- a staple in ornamental gardens as a potted plant, admired for its leaves, it is really a water garden or bog plant. Coming down the right side is water clover, a plant that resembles clover, but in two tones, green and reddish green. These babies sent up leaves fast, the leaves lay across the surface of the water for a nice effect.

Across from the taro and pickerel is Louisiana water iris- I bought it last year and divided into into three pots this year, one is in another bucket garden. Water iris is a wonderful plant, with delicate looking, colorful flowers. I just put in water poppy and water snowflake which are near the iris. Both are tropicals, and the snowflake started blooming in one day after planting! Parrot feather is next, not recommended for natural ponds, because it can spread a lot- this is a liner pond and I am fairly sure I can keep it under control. Parrot feather is a submerged plant that acts as an oxygenator. A Virginia native is next, star flower, a grassy plant that has pretty, pointed- white flowers with dark centers when it blooms, the flowers are held high above the water. Last is a true floating plant, the tropical water hyacinth. This plant is illegal in many far southern states, as it can choke waterways, but is no threat here in Virginia. I also have some other submerged plants to keep the water clear.

All of these plants are in pots that either have no holes or are lined with plastic- this keeps dirt out of the pond. Potting them up is straightforward- just use heavy garden soil or water garden planting medium, plant into it and cover with a half inch of washed gravel, again to prevent soil from washing out, and to anchor the plant. Slowly lower the pot onto a shelf or other structure to the proper height (some plants like no water on the surface, others an inch, other 9 inches- follow specific guidelines for your plant).

So, I will post more photos as the season progresses and let you know how these plants perform!

Happy gardening!

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