Water Features for the Garden
By Jos Van Hage
Saturday, August 11, 2012 03:45 AM
Water features are a popular trend in many landscapes. People enjoy listening to water as it trickles and splashes. It gives the garden a cool, serene feeling. Water features are not only enjoyed by people, birds enjoy them too.
Not everyone has the space or money to be able to add a pond or large waterscape to the landscape but there are smaller alternatives that can be just as enjoyable. There are fountains available in different sizes and styles that only need to have water added and then be plugged in.
You can also create you own water feature. All you need is a waterproof container and a pump. Any container will do, just as long as it is able to hold water. There are beautiful ceramic bowls, or old whiskey barrels that can have a plastic insert placed in it. A pump is then added to move the water. The size of the pump depends on the size of the container, as well as what you want the water to do. The bigger the push, the larger the pump.
Smaller containers would use a pump that has the capacity of 55 to 75 gallons per hour. Large displays would use pumps ranging from 450 to 550 gallons per hour. These pumps are submersible and do not require a lot of maintenance, just the occasional cleaning of the filter. Plastic hosing is available that attaches to the pump and spitters, or tricklers can be added. The larger bamboo canes are another element that can be used in constructing a water feature. They are hollow and can be drilled to create your own design.
Water plants are a nice addition to the water feature. Water irises and water lilies are popular. Plants that float on the surface include fairy moss, duckweed, frogbit, water lettuce and water hyacinths. If the water feature is large enough a plastic pot or bag can be placed on the side of the bowl to create a bog garden. Marsh marigolds, mini cattails creeping Jenny and bog arum are good choices to place in the bog garden.
To keep the water clear oxygenating plants such as water buttercup, Canadian pondweed and hyacinths can be added. Some people enjoy adding a few fish to the water feature, but this adds extra work. Goldfish are the best choice for small water features. They can be placed in the container but they need to be taken out and placed indoors over the winter for them to survive. It is important not to add more fish then the water feature can handle.
When the temperatures become warm, check the temperature of the water. When the water is warm there is less oxygen for the fish so you may want to cool it down. If you are adding fish to the water feature, add some floating plants as they are ideal for giving fish shade.
Warm temperatures can cause the water to become cloudy and scummy. There are lots of products available that are bird, fish and pet safe that can be added to the water to help clear up this problem. Ask at the garden centre to find the one that is best for you.
Whether your yard is small or large, there is a water feature that is right for you. They start as small as a tabletop size and go up from there. Even a front porch or apartment balcony can have a small water feature. There is still time to add a water feature to your landscape or home and there is still a good variety of plants and supplies available at the garden centre to get you started.
Jos Van Hage owns and operates two Art Knapp Home and Garden Centres in Prince George:
· Highway 16 West at Kimball Road
· Highway 97 North at Northwood Pulpmill Road
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