Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - HOMES -

The trick, she says, for car­ing for pitcher plants in­doors is to keep them re­ally moist. It can be tricky, though. Easier to over­win­ter wa­ter lilies, says Rem­pel, who lets the tops get hit by early frost, then al­lows them to sit and drain for a few days be­fore pop­ping them into a black plas­tic garbage bag, which she seals and stores in a cool dark spot in­doors. In the spring, Rem­pel re­trieves the wa­ter lily, cleans it up, re­pots or di­vides, in­vig­o­rates with a lit­tle aquatic fer­til­izer, then re­turns it to her wa­ter con­tainer for an­other grow­ing sea­son. Most pond plants are an­nu­als; how­ever, some are hardy to our grow­ing zone and can be trans­planted into the gar­den in the fall. Hardy se­lec­tions in­clude marsh marigold, ligu­laria, corkscrew rush, creep­ing Jenny, ar­row­head and some of the cat­tail va­ri­eties. Un­like an­nu­als, which are usu­ally pur­chased at the gar­den cen­tre in their ubiq­ui­tous black plas­tic con­tain­ers, wa­ter plants are sold in spe­cial aquatic con­tain­ers made from a flex­i­ble mesh filled with a light­weight aquatic pot­ting medium with good min­eral con­tent. When placed di­rectly into your dec­o­ra­tive con­tainer, the soil stays in place while al­low­ing wa­ter to flow through. While some plants are sold sep­a­rately, there are also aqua packs with ready-made com­bi­na­tions for a nat­u­ral­is­tic, marsh-like con­tainer de­sign. Jor­dan Hiebert, co-owner of La­coste Gar­den Cen­tre in Win­nipeg, says that the mesh bags make it easy to trans­plant peren­nial wa­ter plants in the fall be­cause the roots stay in­tact with­out be­ing ripped. The art of wa­ter gar­den­ing can be as sim­ple as you like. Of course, even a con­tainer wa­ter gar­den comes with its own set of bells and whis­tles. Hiebert has a line of low-pro­file pa­tio ponds made from dou­ble-walled fi­bre­glass. “The ben­e­fit of an aquabowl,” says Hiebert, “is that it has a built-in shelf.” This al­lows for more cre­ativ­ity in dis­play­ing plants. The bowls are also de­signed to hold a wa­ter lily in the cen­tre, which helps to pro­vide shade as it grows. Hiebert has a range of op­tions to cus­tom­ize your bowl. Pumps and spit­ters add the beauty and sounds of wa­ter. Hiebert says the most pop­u­lar type of spit­ter is a con­tem­po­rary style made of bam­boo. There is even one va­ri­ety with a deer-scare op­tion as well as more elab­o­rate ver­sions made from ma­te­ri­als such as brass. An open­ing in the shelf ac­com­mo­dates cords for a clean look. The ad­di­tion of LED lights helps to ex­tend the en­joy­ment of your pa­tio pond well into the evening. Pol­ished rock can be placed in the bot­tom of the bowl to act as a fil­ter, break­ing down sed­i­ments or sus­pended par­ti­cles in the wa­ter, and this helps to clar­ify the wa­ter. Hiebert says nat­u­ral bac­te­ria or a prod­uct such as bar­ley ex­tract also helps to clar­ify wa­ter and fur­ther re­duce main­te­nance. Gold­fish can be added, too, and will do their part in eat­ing mos­quito lar­vae. En­sur­ing at least half the sur­face wa­ter is shaded with the leaves of the aquatic plants pro­motes a healthy ecosys­tem. Avoid crowd­ing plants, though. Ideally, your wa­ter con­tainer should re­ceive up to six hours of sun­light. While wa­ter lilies are tol­er­ant of some shade, they are more likely to bloom

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