Bub­ble & Trou­ble

Wa­ter fea­tures

Island Life - - Island Gardening -

Bub­ble and Trou­ble’ are two words that spring to mind when re­fer­ring to chil­dren’s sto­ries, pol­i­tics and cli­mate change. Since this is a gar­den­ing ar­ti­cle then ‘bub­ble and trou­ble’ must re­late to a fea­ture in the gar­den. Some peo­ple are for­tu­nate to have na­ture pro­vide the wa­ter fea­ture, such as a view of the ocean or a river. The trou­ble is if nei­ther ap­pears, then it is up to the gar­den­ers to make their own bub­ble. The sim­plest of wa­ter fea­tures is a static dis­play. It may be a fish bowl or a pond with a few fish. Static dis­plays are easy to keep as there are no pumps to think about. Keep­ing a pond clean will hinge on the plants liv­ing in the pond, keep­ing the wa­ter oxy­genated and clear. A bal­anced pond will not be a mos­quito risk be­cause the fish eat the lar­vae. Wa­ter fea­tures that have move­ment and sound can be hyp­no­tiz­ing, sooth­ing and beau­ti­ful. Chil­dren have a fas­ci­na­tion with run­ning wa­ter; not only do they love to splash and play in wa­ter but the sound of splash­ing wa­ter is a mag­net for them. Ideally, splash­ing wa­ter should not be deep or dan­ger­ous in a do­mes­tic sit­u­a­tion. Lay­ing some round lava rocks to keep the wa­ter shal­low will guard against pets or chil­dren ac­ci­den­tally drown­ing. The use of nat­u­ral ma­te­ri­als like bam­boo, stones and plants will soften the harsh lines of plas­tic or con­crete. The best colours to paint a pond are green or black. Th­ese col­ors ab­sorb all the sun­rays and en­able the wa­ter to have a bet­ter re­flec­tion, the use of black rub­ber­ized paint also helps wa­ter­proof a ce­ment pond. There are two types of plants for ponds: those that can be fully sub­merged and those that pre­fer to sit in the boggy sur­rounds. Wa­ter lilies will re­quired a depth of half a me­tre of wa­ter while lotus plants re­quire at least one me­tre. Around the edges, papyrus grass can be main­tained in a pot, as larger grasses will tend to take over if planted in the ground. No pond is com­plete with­out a fern or two. If space per­mits, plant a black palm on the edge and sur­round it by smaller ferns. The re­flec­tions from ferns are fan­tas­tic. The wa­ter source can also be dis­guised as bub­bling out of the rocks be­tween the ferns. In­sect life such as dragon flies will come and hover over aquatic plants. As men­tioned ear­lier, ac­tive or live ponds do not pose a mos­quito risk be­cause the nat­u­ral preda­tors will keep them un­der con­trol, only stag­nant ponds or pools of wa­ter be­come a health haz­ard. Keep­ing a pond in bal­ance re­quires three things – sun­light, plants and fish. Aim to have only one third of the pond cov­ered in plants as if there are too many plants, your pond will col­lapse. See­ing wa­ter mov­ing is a great joy. Any­thing from small wa­ter or­na­ments on the desk to larger stones or even pots with a cir­cu­lat­ing pump, can re­place a wa­ter fea­ture for those with­out a gar­den. In­door wa­ter fea­tures, such as the foun­tains of­ten found in ho­tel foy­ers, will need the ad­di­tion of chlo­rine to keep the wa­ter clean. An­other op­tion is to keep re­plac­ing the wa­ter each week and add hy­dro­gen per­ox­ide to pre­vent al­gae growth. Small or big wa­ter fea­tures take us back to na­ture and its sooth­ing sounds. Af­ter a day of hard work in the gar­den, it is time to kick back and re­lax, en­joy that lovely bab­bling brook and let all the trou­bles melt away. Cor­nelia Wyl­lie is the care­taker of Rain­bow Botanic Gar­dens. She is well-known for her in depth knowl­edge of trop­i­cal plants and gar­den­ing. Rain­bow Gar­dens Nurs­ery and the Botan­i­cal Gar­dens is open Mon­day to Fri­day 7.30 am to 5 pm, Satur­day 7.30 to 12 pm and af­ter hours by ap­point­ment. Take a tour of the Gar­dens to view Van­u­atu’s fan­tas­tic range of trop­i­cal plants. Con­tact Tudsie on 7726720 to book a Gar­den Tour. Con­tact Cor­nelia to ar­range func­tions and cater­ing on 7724720.

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