Water Gardens

                             An article by our feature writer Christine Walkden

The values of adding water into the garden are many and include the opportunity of growing plants that need moisture, the attraction of wildlife such as toads and frogs, dragonflies and damselflies and the provision of a drinking, washing and feeding area for the wildlife that will visit once the water feature is established.

 

The choice of plants, however, needs to be considered carefully as the wrong plant in the wrong place can soon result in invasive growth and a management problem that can be difficult to solve.

It is worth while spending time reading or finding out about the plants you wish to introduce so that they grow well and are positioned correctly. 

Water lilies are probably the most attractive plants used to cover the surface of a pond and we are offering a selection that will provide you with a range of habits and coloured flowers.

Nymphaea ‘Attraction’ is a wide-spreading, free flowering water lily that needs space, producing foliage growth that will spread up to 30 sq ft, so please allow plenty of room for this red flowering beauty. The flowers are initially small and pale pink on a young plant but, once established and growing well, the flowers may be anything up to 9” across with golden stamens. The plant will grow well in a depth of water of between 12 and 36 inches.

For those of you who would like bowls of sunshine floating on your ponds go for Nymphaea marliacea ‘Chromatella.  The plant will produce 7” wide flowers that are bowl shaped with incurved petals.  The common name of ‘Golden Cup’ is appropriate and the leaves are attractively mottled with brown patches. This is a reliable, free flowering variety which is very popular.  It needs similar space and planting conditions to ‘Attraction’.

For those of you with less space select Nymphaea marliacea ‘Albida’. Another free flowering plant, it is probably one of the most popular white-flowering varieties producing large shapely white flowers with golden centres.  The foliage coverage is up to 15 -20sq ft. This cultivar will grow well in a depth of water from 12-30” deep.

All of the water lilies will flower from June through to October thus providing a long season of interest and colour.

For the margins of the pond why not choose the Flowering Rush which is one of our most attractive native aquatics and is highly recommended as a marginal plant everywhere. The 2-3ft long grass-like leaves are triangular in section and are purplish when first produced then turning green during the summer when the tall flower stalks are produced. The flowering stems may produce up to 20-30 rose pink flowers in July and August and should be planted in 2" to 6" of water.

No water garden should be without an Iris and planting our native flag Iris will add sword like leaves up to 3ft tall and bright yellow flowers in May.  This is a vigorous grower needing up to 4” of water to establish and grow well. Planted at the margin it creates great movement with its rich, yellow flowers blowing in the wind...

Bulrushes have always been seen at the margins of ponds and their brown heads are a familiar sight, but the native species can be too invasive for a garden pond so we are offering the smaller, and in my opinion more attractive, miniature bulrush Typha minima. It grows only up to 12” tall producing rush-like foliage and small, oval flower heads during the summer.  This is an ideal plant for the smaller pond and only requires a depth of water of 1-3”.

Happy water gardening to you all.


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