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Water Gardening

Maybe I can get those ducks to come to my water garden!

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   Perfect Time for Pond Building
   How to Choose a Pond Site
   How to Design a Water Pond
   Edging for a Pond
   How to Select a Water Pond Pump
   Spring is Cleanup Time for Ponders
   Submerged Plants
   Summer Cleanup
   Water Gardens
   Fiberglass pools
   How To Create And Maintain The Perfect Pond
   How To Test Your Pond Water
   How Warm Weather Affects Oxygen Levels in Your Pond


   Pond Design


   Building An Inline Filter
   Creating A Mini-Bog Garden
   Dividing A Water Hyacinth
   Planting A Dish Garden With Marginal Aquatics
   Planting A Hanging Water Garden
   Repotting A Marginal

Water Gardening, - H. Thomas

When a natural lake exists on an estate, or a brook bends its way through your garden, then this provides the ideal conditions for the formation of a water garden. When water has to be introduced, a considerable initial expense must be anticipated;, if the owner wishes to have a garden worthy of the name. The charm of the water garden lies in its cool appearance and the freshness of its vegetation during the hot summer days; therefore everything about it should be so arranged that it would be at its best from late spring until early autumn. A natural lake, fed by a stream, and having a natural outlet, forms the easiest kind of water garden to deal with, for it is usually easy so to modify the margins that they may be made suitable for such plants as grow in very shallow water or mud, whilst deeper water in the vicinity is available for Water-lilies and other plants needing fairly deep water. In introducing Water-lilies and other plants into lakes, the mistake is sometimes made of covering too great a space of water with foliage. This destroys much of the beauty of the lake, for the great charm of the water garden lies, not only in the plants, but also in the glimpses of water surface; therefore Water-lilies and other plants should be placed chiefly about the margins.

Many people are not fortunate enough to possess natural lakes or streams capable of being easily turned into water gardens, and have to create them. The first thing is to find out what the possibilities are of a constant supply of fresh water throughout the year, whilst a means of disposing of surplus water is quite as essential. There can be nothing worse than a water garden with a bad water supply; if the water is not continually running, it quickly becomes foul, and is, in addition to being an eyesore, a source of danger to health in hot weather. It is better by far to dismiss the idea of a water garden altogether if it is found to be impossible to obtain the necessary supply of fresh water. This may sometimes be obtained from a distance, by the use of a small dam. working in some river or brook, and is perhaps the only practical means of obtaining water unless a water main runs through the neighborhood; then the expense would probably be prohibitive in keeping a lake of any considerable size supplied. In some gardens the water garden is reduced .to the proportions of a large tank; then the question of a water supply is less serious, for a comparatively small quantity keeps it going, though the smaller the tank, the more often should it be emptied and refilled with fresh water. Whenever possible, ponds or tanks made for the reception of water plants should be so arranged that they can be emptied at will, for at least once a year it is a good plan to clean out the mud.

If your are assured you want a water garden without a fresh water supply, I recommend following this process.

The arrangement of an artificial water garden needs some thought. Should the owner wish to have his plants immediately under his eye, it must be fairly narrow. At Aldenham House a water garden in the form of a canal exists. Along each side there is a grass path, and visitors may see every plant conveniently. It might be thought that the formal outline would have an unsightly effect, but this is not the case, for by a judicious arrangement of the plants about the margins the straight sides are not noticeable. A pond, 2 to 2.5 feet deep, with boggy margins, is another suitable form of water garden, whilst a tank or tanks may be favored in such gardens where the requirements of the plants, rather than landscape effect, are given consideration. Water 2.5 feet deep is all that is needed if the garden is to be kept attractive; a man must get into the water to remove dead leaves, flowers, and other rubbish at least once a week. Moreover, a greater depth of water is not necessary, and only adds to the expense of making and upkeep. As a general rule. 2 feet of water will be ample. After the water garden has been excavated to the necessary depth it must be made water-tight, either by pudding with clay or by building up with concrete and cement, or with concrete, brick walls and cement. The larger the pond the stronger must be the bottom and sides. If really stiff clay can be obtained it is as good as anything to use for a pond of large size, but for a tank or very small garden it is better to rely on concrete and cement. A layer of clay 9 inches thick is placed all over the bottom and the lower parts of the sides. On the sides, however, it may be gradually reduced in thickness until it is about 4 inches thick near the water surface. Before being used the clay must be thoroughly broken up and puddled to make sure that there are no lumps left, and that it will work easily. A commencement is then made in the middle of the pond by placing in 6 inches of clay. This by the aid of water should be well trodden or pounded into place. Then more clay is added, and again pounded until a sufficiently thick layer is formed. The surface is smoothed over with the back of a wet shovel or spade, and as the work proceeds small mounds of loam are made for the various plants. During the progress of the puddling the clay must be kept wet, for if it is allowed to dry at all cracks will occur. When the work is finished the plants are inserted in the beds of soil and the water run in. When a concrete and cement tank is to be formed, it is usually advisable to call in a builder to do the work, for great strength is necessary, and inexperience will probably result in a bottom and sides which will not hold water, and may cause endless future trouble.

In a garden in the London suburbs, a pretty little water garden was seen a short time ago. A number of tubs had been sunk in a lawn and connected by a perforated pipe, with an overflow to a drain near by. Each of these tubs contained a showy Water-lily, or some other aquatic. The tubs were partially surrounded by a low, irregular border of stonework, over which a number of trailing plants grew. People who, possessing small gardens, wish to grow a few aquatic plants might well copy this idea. Needless to say, small tanks and tubs ought to be emptied frequently, in order that all dirty water may be got rid of.

When forming a tank for water plants, it ought to be made with the surface on a level with, or very little higher, than the surrounding ground, though the level of the ditch determines the exact height or drain into which the surplus water is to flow. The border of the tank should be shallow and feet to 2 feet wide, so that it may be filled up with soil and used for bog plants. Rough stones here and there about the margins help to relieve the flatness. These may be a foot or more high and several placed together with soil between will form a suitable position for a plant, which likes to have its roots in water but its leaves fairly dry. The use of tall and low growing plants is usually a good means of relieving any position where too great formality is noticeable.

A frequent source of annoyance in ponds and tanks is the appearance of a thick green scum on the surface during-warm weather. It is almost impossible to eradicate it, but by adding bio-filter and plants will help reduce the appearance. If your a bad person, it may be kept down by adding copper, sulfate to the water at the rate of 2.5 ounces to 10,000 gallons of water. ' The copper sulfate may either be tied up in a 'piece of canvas and trailed through the water until it is dissolved, or it may be dissolved in a little water and be syringed over the surface of the pool. It must be remembered that this is poisonous and must not be allowed to come into contact with broken skin on the hands or other parts of the body. Water-lilies are sometimes badly attacked by a black kind of aphids. When such an attack occurs the leaves should be syringed with a mixture made up by boiling Quassia chips, soft soap and nicotine' together, at the rate of 4 lb. of the former to 2 lb. of soap and half a pint of nicotine, in 20 gallons of water. This is syringed over the plants, taking care to moisten the exposed surfaces thoroughly.

PLANTING As has been previously pointed out, a good method of preparing stations for water plants is to arrange mounds of good turfy soil while the pond or tank is empty. As a rule, the best method is to arrange strong pieces of turf to form a circle a foot high and a foot and a half across with a hollow center. The center may then be filled in with fine soil to work amongst the roots of the plants. A modification of this is to form a circle of bricks or stones, and fill the center with soil. . It sometimes happens that this style of planting is not practicable, as in the case of a large lake that cannot be emptied. The practice should in such instances be adopted of planting the Waterlilies or other things in shallow, baskets of soil, then dropping them into the water from a boat or raft. The soil may be secured in the baskets by means of a little straw threaded across with string. If this is not done it may be displaced during the submerging process. There is no better time to plant than February or March, though the work may really be done any time during winter or early spring. If during winter a pond or tank has to be left empty for a few days; a little hay or bracken should be placed round the plants to protect them, from frost.

SELECTION OF PLANTS For submerging in water the Nymphaeas, or Water-lilies, are the most popular. A few years ago it was rarely that any kind of Nymphaea except the common white Nymphaea alba was met with in the outdoor garden; now, however, numerous varieties with red, yellow and white blossoms may be obtained, whilst in very favored localities it is possible to cultivate the blue-flowered stellata out of doors in summer. A good selection of Nymphaeas is as follows: alba candidissima, Marliacea albida, and Wm. Gladstone, white; alba rubra, fulva, Marliacea ignea, robinsoniana, and William Falconer, red; Marliacea carnea, pinkish; Marliacea chromatella, odorata sulphurea, and tuberosa flavescens, yellow. An allied plant may be obtained in the so-called Yellow Water-lily, Nuphar luteum, which is frequently met with in ponds and streams in various parts of the country. Another showy yellow-flowered floating plant is Limnanthemum peltatum, the Fringed Buck Bean. Though very beautiful when in flower, this has the defect of spreading rapidly and consequently needs constant watching and checking..

Among taller-growing plants we find the two Reedmaces, Typha latifolia and Typha angustifolia, both excellent plants, whilst the Spire Reed, Phragmitis communis, and its variegated-leaved variety are also of service. The perennial Zizania latifolia, though less ornamental than the Indian Rice, Zizania aquatica, is worth growing for variety, whilst the latter is one of the most showy, tall-growing water plants we possess. A plant that might well be grown more widely in southern gardens is Thalia dealbata. It may be planted where the water is 9 or 12 inches deep; it forms a handsome clump 4 to 5 feet high. In the southern parts of Cornwall and Ireland very good results are obtained by planting the common Calla, or giving it its correct name, Richardia africana, in lakes and pools. Here and there it has assumed large proportions and covers extensive areas, the large white spathes being very attractive in spring. Arrow-head, or Sagittaria, soon covers a wide space. The most suitable one to plant where only one is required is variabilis var. flore pleno. Near the margins, where the water may be but a few inches deep, is an excellent position for the Japanese Iris, Iris laevigata, of which many beautiful varieties have been received from Japan, the. flowers in some cases being 4 to 6 inches across. Other Irises of merit which may be grown in shallow water, or in mud, are sibirica, with blue flowers, and the common yellow Water Flag, Iris Pseudacorus. Then we may plant in the water such things as Water Violet (Hottonia palustris), Buck or Bog Bean (Menyanthes trifoliata), Flowering Rush (Butomus umbellatus), Giant Dock (Ruscus hydrolapathum), and the Sweet Flag (Acorus calamus).

By the margin of the lake, where the roots can enter the water, may be planted Gunnera manicata. Its large leaves are always imposing and add an air of tropical luxuriance to the scene. Many Orchids can be accommodated where the ground is boggy; the majority of the British kinds may be tried, whilst the beautiful Mocassin flower (Cypripedium spectabile) may be introduced with good effect. Such ornamental foliaged plants as the Rodgersias must not be left out, whilst Ranunculus aconitifolius and its double-flowered variety-a plant known under the common name of " Fair Maids of France " -thrives excellently near water. Several Primulas are at their best when growing in wet ground, japonica, rosea, pulverulenta and others being suitable. Some of the newer Giant Groundsels or Senecios, such as Clivorum and veitchianus, form handsome bog plants, whilst the Musk (Mimulus luteus) is happy in moist soil.

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