Gar­den­ing: Make a splash – wa­ter fea­tures

Wa­ter adds move­ment and sound to your gar­den, and will act as a mag­net for wildlife, says

Woman's Weekly (UK) - - Contents - Adri­enne Wild

The sight and sound of wa­ter gives a gar­den soul. It’s one of the most ap­peal­ing el­e­ments as it cre­ates a cool and mys­ti­cal at­mos­phere, adding drama, mu­sic and ex­cite­ment!

Just like a flick­er­ing fire on a win­ter’s day, gaz­ing at the reflections on the pond’s glassy sur­face or watching fish dart­ing in the hid­den depths will lift your spir­its after even the most dif­fi­cult day.

De­sign­ing a pond de­pends on your imagination, and on how much in­ter­est you have in en­cour­ag­ing wildlife. Fish, frogs, drag­on­flies, newts, wa­ter snails, nymphs…the species one lit­tle pond can sup­port are nu­mer­ous.

To create a stun­ning gar­den fea­ture, you can opt for a sunken pond which you ex­ca­vate and then line with spe­cial pond lin­ers (pond­, or a pre­fab­ri­cated, rigid pond. Al­ter­na­tively, choose a raised pond (see No room for a pond?, far right) that can be planted and brought to life with fish, aquatic plants and maybe a foun­tain or other wa­ter fea­ture. Or leave it as a still, re­flec­tive pool that brings the ev­er­chang­ing sky down to earth.

Plant­ing plan

Most pond-keep­ers rec­om­mend us­ing a pump to keep wa­ter clear, but in open wa­ter you’ll find that by in­tro­duc­ing aquatic plants you’re able

to main­tain clear wa­ter and pre­vent al­gae. Lush plant­ing and colour­ful blooms are the key to trans­form­ing what could oth­er­wise be seen as a dark muddy hole in the ground into a sparkling or­na­men­tal pond. They pro­vide colour and tex­ture, and bal­ance the gases and min­er­als re­leased by al­gae and fish, keep­ing the wa­ter crys­tal-clear and re­flec­tive.

In medium-sized ponds, you can go for more am­bi­tious plant­ing if you created shelves around the perime­ter of the pond when you ex­ca­vated the hole. On these shelves you should be able to sit bas­kets planted with mar­ginal plants that don’t thrive in deeper wa­ter; marsh marigold (Caltha palus­tris), which grows to 30cm tall and pro­duces bright yel­low but­ter­cup-like flow­ers in early spring, is ideal. Ja­panese Iris (Iris lae­vi­gata), avail­able in var­i­ous shades of blue and white, will grow around the edges of ponds in boggy soil and just a few inches of wa­ter.

The or­na­men­tal bul­rush,

Typha lat­i­fo­lia ‘Var­ie­gata’, and the ex­otic arum lily, Zant­edeschia aethiopica ‘Crow­bor­ough’, need a wa­ter depth of around 30-45cm, so are more suited to larger ponds. Once leafy plants like wa­ter lilies are es­tab­lished, though, fairy moss, which is es­pe­cially ram­pant, will need thin­ning out or re­mov­ing.

Keep­ing it clear Oxy­genat­ing plants like the feath­ery wa­ter mil­foil and the sea­weed-like curled gold­fish weed (Cana­dian pondweed), are the lungs of the pond, pump­ing out es­sen­tial oxy­gen,

and are vi­tal for keep­ing the wa­ter clear. An­other, Horn­wort, will grow in sun or shade, and is easy to con­trol as it doesn’t root – sim­ply drop it in the wa­ter.

In a small pond (2.5m x 2m) you’ll need 15 bunches to aer­ate the wa­ter, and 35 bunches for a pond up to 5m x 3.6m. Pot up a bunch or two, in small aquat­ics bas­kets, and po­si­tion the con­tain­ers 90cm apart on the pond floor.

Adding a so­lar pump and foun­tain­head (from £14.99, prim­ can im­prove the cir­cu­la­tion of wa­ter in your pond, help­ing fish and plants to thrive – and there are no run­ning costs.

Marsh marigolds thrive in the


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