Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Building a Container Water Garden

I long dreamed of having a pond. I ogled them at botanical gardens. I pinned pictures of them on Pinterest.  I snapped photos of them in hotel lobbies (see below). But I did not have somewhere to put a pond or the wherewithal to dig one out of the hard clay in our backyard.

Enter the container water garden!

This container water garden at a hotel gave me the idea that I could have a water feature, without digging.

Despite the hours I spent researching how to create a container water garden, it is very simple to establish.  All you need is

  • a water-tight container 18" or more deep
  • water plants (preferably native)
  • water  
A water lily in my water garden (second garden year).

Keep your plants in their nursery pots and submerge them in the water.  Use bricks, upturned pots and whatnot to situate your plants at the right depth.  Some plants just want their toes wet while others like to be a foot or more under water.  Still others - like water lettuce - float on the surface without any need for a pot.

I am on my fourth year with several plants in their original nursery pots.  I suppose you could pot them up but I have not had the need yet.

My first water garden was 18 inches high - a small galvanized tub stuffed with a couple of big box store water plants (before I knew that those plants may have been pre-treated with bee-killing pesticides).  

I have since traded up for a 3 foot deep stock tank.  It is not ideal for wildlife due to the steep sides but sticks stuffed into the tank offer amphibians an escape route, birds a perch when they pause for a drink and dragonflies a place to bask in the sun.

Water gardens are not the most attractive during the winter - even here in California. Most water plants are winter dormant.  Come spring, though, the plants from back to life.  Pollinators rest on the water clover and drink, without fear of drowning.  They cling to horse tails and sway in the breeze.

Maintenance is a cinch. You do not need to water because, duh!, the plants are already in water.  Add water periodically to your garden to maintain the water level and, that is pretty much it. 

Container gardens add depth, interest, microclimates and wildlife value to even the smallest yard or balcony.  Now knowing how easy they are to establish and maintain, I wonder why everyone doesn't have one!

This post is part of the Tuesday Garden Party and the Homestead Barn Hop.


Lorri said...

@Endangered Lifestyle:
This is so cute! I had a pond in WY about 12 years ago. I LOVED it!! When I moved, it stayed :( I never thought of having one in containers. It just makes sense! I keep reading that you can grow ANYTHING in containers :D Thank you!!
~Found you through the "Barn Hop"!!

Meadowsweet Cottage said...

My pond is the most soothing thing in my garden. I love watching my goldfish, seeing the waterlilies bloom and listen to the little waterfall. Your stock tank is so low maintenance compared to a pond--extra soothing!

Green Bean said...

@Lorri: Thank you for visiting. I think you are right. It seems that you can grow anything in a container! :) A container garden is probably not as rewarding as a pond but it is an easy second.

@Meadowsweet Cottage: Is a pond much more work, do you think? I still do want a pond! Just making do right now.

Tristan Dorsey said...

Looks awesome.... I too love Gardening... Homestead Plant Nurseries are filled with buyers as in now people are more into gardening... I too visited last week... One should have a garden at their backyard... Thanks


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