Gardening Articles: Landscaping :: Container Gardening & Ponds

Building a Water Garden (page 2 of 2)

by National Gardening Association Editors

Planting a Water Garden

Use graph paper to design an arrangement for planting aquatic plants. Use a scale of 1:20 for small ponds. Don't forget to mark sight lines from the house and structures and trees that affect views and shade plants at various times of the day. Plot the position of the tallest plants first, then the marginals, then the lowest-growing specimens. Decide where the varieties look best, given the contours of your pond design. Consider flower and foliage color combinations and plant forms: spiky plants complement ferny ones, but flat-lying water lily leaves and low flowers may get lost behind taller aquatic plants. Use your creativity to plan the look you'd like to find after planting. Remember to consider sun exposure needs. Think, too, about wildlife that will be attracted to ponds and pools. Here are a few considerations:

* Deer seeking water in winter may stop to nibble on any nearby cedars and lilac buds in spring.

* Visiting herons may eat fish and amphibians such as frogs.

* Consider wildflowers that attract hummingbirds and butterflies. Joe Pye weed, cardinal flower, and meadowsweet are good choices.

* Foxgloves and bee balm bring bees.

* Duck potato (Sagittaria latifolia) earned its name because it is a favorite food of ducks.

* Still water may bring insects, which may bring birds and bats.

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