"One of the most delightful things about a garden is the anticipation it brings."

Friday, April 17, 2009

Plants in and around the water.

I thought I'd share some of what is growing in and around the pond and water garden now.  It was so sunny, that after my plant shopping yesterday I went to work in the yard.  I'm starting a little water garden this year in a new area.  I've moved this planter around the yard, like I do furniture in the house.  Last year it was on my front porch, but it doesn't get much sun there so around to the back it went.  This is just a "whiskey barrel" with a 20 gallon liner in it.  I have just two plants in it right now.  One is my new water hyacinth which will get lavender flowers.  It floats on the surface of the pond and sends down very long roots.  It is a great natural filter in a pond with fish in it.  I do know that in some states it's illegal to plant these because they will quickly take over natural ponds, lakes and rivers.  Here it is an annual and dies with the first frost.
The other new plant is Miniature Cattail (typha minima).  I have one of these in my pond and I just love it.  It gets to be 2 to 3 feet tall and small versions of cattails grow in the late summer.   I put a plant like this up on bricks so that the crown isn't too far under water.
I'm trying to find yellow flag iris (iris pseudacorus) and another plant or two to add to this container, hopefully a Lobelia siphilitica (Cardinal Flower).
I bought a new floating plant for the pond as well called Fairy Moss (azolla caroliniana).  I planned to take a picture of it since it's such a small amount when you first buy it.  As I was doing something else my littlest gardener told me she needed some new water.  She was holding the cup it came in, empty!
Trying to get information from a 2 year old is not easy.  I kept asking her where the water was, did the dog drink it?  Where is  it?  She pointed to this ground cover and told me it was in there.  Trying to pick it out of there wasn't easy, I only found some of it.
So here is part of what I was able to recover.  A very small amount will quickly multiply over the summer and cover the whole pond if I let it.  The foliage gets a very reddish hue in the fall and occasionally it will survive the winter.
Some of the plants growing on the shady side of the pond are really starting to look good. I've tried to plant spring, summer and early fall blooming flowers and ground covers in this area. Astillbe, hostas, chelone glabra, ligularia 'Othello', oxalis oregana, sweet woodruff and ferns are mostly what are here.
This is one of the many hostas and you can see the Water hawthorn floating in the pond in the background.
I love the new growth on this fern, it even feels as soft as it looks.   I wish I could remember the variety.
Having the option to buy water plants makes plant shopping even more fun.  The nursery we went to has a very large selection of floating, marginal and deep water plants.  Now I have an excuse to go back so I can replace the missing Fairy Moss!
Don't forget to enter my water garden book giveaway, it's located at the top of my sidebar.
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  1. I love it when you do pond/water garden posts Catherine! I had heard water hyacinths can be invasive but I doubt that's true for my zone too. We're so cold in the winter but I will be careful if I add any to my pond. Too funny about the littlest gardener. I have a helper like that sometimes too and she's not your daughters age! I can't wait to immerse myself in the thrill of water gardening ~ you just spur me along with your great posts. I am buying water plants for the first time ever in two weeks ~ yippee!!!

  2. Too funny!!!!! Atleast you did manage to get some of it! Have a great weekend

  3. She was trying to help mommy! Too cute!

  4. That's priceless and she's adorable. I couldn't wait 'til todays post to see what ya got yesterday plant shopping.
    When I did My Journey there was a swamp down the road from us I showed filled with yellow flag - I'm sure that's what was blooming last year. I plan on getting pics for a post too. I want to get some - maybe I can snag some for you. Do you have Siberian Iris? I've given that to my sis and friends for their ponds.
    Must have been your book giveaway that made me go looking for pics I took of my sisters place. Found them yesterday to do a post on her pond she built herself.

  5. Your "helper" is beautiful. Now you have an excuse to go back and possibly buy more plants! I love this post and all the pretty photos and interesting info.

  6. I was only thinking today that I need to get some more water plants - there is a nursery not too far away that sells them. I would really like some water hyacinth so hopefully they will stock it.

  7. Quite a character! The pond stories are some of my favorites- sun is coming, get your shovels ready :)

  8. Love that post Catherine. Such a sweet little helper you have there. I do like the barrel that you turned into a water garden. I will have to look into that. Have a super weekend.

  9. Lovely post as usual, Catherine. Your daughter is a cherub. I'm glad you're aware that Fairy Moss is, well, a happy plant. Have you tried Japanese Iris? It's a marginal, totally hardy and the blossoms, albeit brief are lovely. I've got a variegated variety and the foliage stays green and white pristine long after the blooms are gone. Just a thought.

    Love the hosta "spears." Mine are coming up too. Yay!!

  10. What treasures the water plants and your little helper.

    My solitary water lily I bought today for my hip bath water feature is a bit feeble by comparison.

  11. I hadn't heard of miniature cattails before. How neat! A whiskey barrel pond is a great idea.

  12. Kathleen - I'm anxiously awaiting your pond post! You will have so much fun with it.

    Dirt Princess - It was hard just to find a little. Oh well, she was trying to help.

    Tina - I've learned to be patient when my kids "help" me in the garden :)

    Linda - I have some iris my sister gave me, but I think they are bearded. It would be nice to have some free iris, maybe you can get some and make a little water garden for yourself. I can't wait to see your sister's pond, I love seeing what other people do in their ponds.

    Mildred - Thanks :) Too bad I have to plant shopping again :)

    patientgardener - I can't wait to see what you find! I hope they do have water hyacinths, they really are neat looking.

    Tessa- Thanks, she is the character that's for sure! Can't wait for a sunny weekend, it's sunny as I type!

    Becca - She looks so innocent doesn't she? I think you should try a little water garden. They don't take up much space and you can even add a couple of goldfish!

    Grace - I know that Fairy Moss will take over, I usually just scoop a bunch out. I can't believe that they charge so much for something that grows that easily! I haven't tried Japanese iris. I'm going to see if I can find any.

    Joanne - I'd love to see your water lily, is it a small variety? I know there are miniature ones, but I think I'd have to order one.

    Sweet bay - Yes, they look exactly like the big ones and they don't spread like the bigger ones do either. I'll post pictures of them when they are ready.

  13. Well, how could she resist a plant with the name "fairy" in it? My "helper" is almost six and I still have to watch her pretty closely. :) You are really making such a lovely and varied garden, love it all. Sorry to miss you tomorrow, maybe see you next time!

  14. What a cute little garden helper you have there! Happy gardening this weekend!

  15. I'm anxious to start my small water garden this summer, as I haven't had one since moving here five years ago! I finally figured out where to put it, but I can never count on finding just the right water plants, so I just use whatever I find at the nurseries.

  16. Your daughter looks so innocent in that photo, and I love her butterfly shirt! I'm glad you were able to save some of the plants.

    My husband has a whiskey barrel he keeps a couple fish in. They eat most of what he puts in there. He also has a smaller tub he keeps water and a few water plants in. I like the ones you showed.

  17. As I said before, Pond gardening is my favorite and though I can't have it now, I constantly keep reading about them, taking notes for my future pond. I love the Water Hyacinth. It was my first water plant and it multiplied pretty fast. I love it's purple flowers with the yellow centre that blooms early in the morning, but the fear of it being the breeding ground for mosquitoes freaked me out and when I saw tiny snails, I thought I'd better get rid of it and did so :(.
    I see that most of your water plants are mostly foliage only varieties.
    If you get flowering varieties like Tropical Water liliy, Oval Leaf Pondweed, Ceylon Hydrolea, Marsh Marigold, and the list is endless, would brighten up your pond and edges with their vibrant blooms.
    Please, do keep updating about the pond often, as I love these Ponds Posts. [thumbs up]

  18. Karen - Gardening with "helpers" can be challenging can't it? :) I can't wait to hear about the meeting tomorrow, hope you'll post lots of details.

    Susie - Thanks, we're supposed to have sun!

    Msrobin - I can't wait to see how yours turns out. Most nurseries don't have a big selection, hope you can find some plants you like.

    Sue - I hope you'll share photos of his water gardens. I thought about fish for the whiskey barrel, but I'm afraid the raccoons would eat them.

    Chandramouli - I will do a post soon about mosquito control in the pond.
    I have a couple of flowering plants in the pond now. I think what you call oval pondweed what be what we call water hawthorn. If you look on my April 15th post there is a picture. Is it the same? I'm glad you enjoy these posts, they are fun for me to do, I just love my pond!

  19. I think the Water Hawthorn is the one with white blooms, right? The Pondweed has cute little dark, vibrant, blue blooms with yellow stamens.

  20. Catherine- I have officially put "water feature" on my list of things to research this coming winter. I love your pond and do so love the sound of water in the yard. The bass ponds on our place just don't seem to do it for. My husband won't seem to let me decorate them with plantings around the dam areas. His loss.

  21. Chandramouli - It sounds like it's a different plant, I will look around and see if they are available here. Thanks!

    Heather - You will love having one. There is so much information out there for ponds, you'll have lots to read over the winter!

  22. You are so smart about this kinds of stuff. I don't have a desire to have a water garden right now but I do love looking at them. I especially like hearing how excited you are when you make a new purchase.

    I laughed when you said you moved that water barrel around like you do the furniture inside. I can relate to that.


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