In the Garden:
Lower South
May, 2005
Regional Report

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1776

A waterfall adds movement and relaxing sound to the landscape. Shallow, still areas provide a place for butterflies and beneficial insects to get a drink.

Water Gardens: A Therapeutic Investment

Water features create inviting areas in our landscapes, offering a spot to stop and stare, to gaze at the rippling movement, to watch fish glide gracefully beneath the surface, to refocus on surface reflections. Water draws us in. It brings a sense of calm.

Water gardens often bring sound. The gurgling and splashing of a waterfall or fountain provide a soothing effect. We can buy electronic devices to play the sound of water inside our homes, but I prefer to just hang a hammock by the waterfall and drift off.

Big or Small, Simple or Elaborate
There are many ways to bring water into a landscape. A half-barrel water garden can provide a home for a few small fish and a water plant. Small prefab water features recirculate water through a cascade of mini waterfalls. Creative gardeners have devised their own versions with sealed pots or old galvanized buckets and tubs.

The next step up is a larger in-ground pond made of precast material. These are suited to a few larger fish and perhaps an extra plant or two. When you are officially hooked, you'll find that the sky is the limit, as larger ponds and elaborate rock waterfalls can really turn a plain landscape area into a wonderfully elegant one.

Water plants include submerged plants, such as water lilies; and marginal or bog plants, such as papyrus, Louisiana iris, and cannas that grow near the edge of the pond. There are a multitude of great plants for poorly drained soil conditions that you can use to beautify the area in and around your water garden.

Before taking the plunge into creating a water feature do some investigating. Books, magazines, and Web sites offer instruction and inspiration. The larger your project the more you'll be investing and the more you need to know before you begin. Companies that sell or install water features, fish, and plants are usually quite knowledgeable and willing to help you do your homework on the best options for your landscape setting and goals.

If you live near a city, there is likely a water gardening club or society from which to draw guidance. These people are more than happy to offer wisdom and advice, and many will open their gardens to visitors.

Water gardens offer so much to almost any landscape plan. Visit a few in your area or online and plan a water feature for your landscape this year. Think of it as a therapeutic investment.


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