I may be behind the times but here are some new, or new to me, ideas to enhance your garden pond this summer.
New Pond Design
‘Islandscapes’ and Floating Planters
‘The Next Big Wave In Ponds’ (Oh please) ‘enhance the beauty and biological health of ponds, providing innovative filtration and a lush growing environment for terrestrial plants. lslandscapes offer food and fun for fish, frogs and other wildlife’ according to the blurb on Freedomponds.com Velda do several floating planters made in covered styrofoam.
Ecopond Tadpole Food
I have to admit to never thinking of feeding tadpoles but if I did here is the answer. Ecopond Tadpole Food provides the nutrition that tadpoles need up to the point where they develop back legs (4-6 weeks after free swimming begins). See also frogspawn tips on Gardeners Tips
Rubberised or rigid plastic ponds are one of the easiest methods of creating a new pond. I bought one in a kidney shape with 3 different depths created by shelves. It saved a lot of hard work once I had dug an appropriate hole!
In one garden I saw such a preformed pond raised up rather than buried and think that is a creative idea if you can support the weight of water.
Now you can cover black PVC liners with a stone coating. This makes the black edge of a pond look natural with a pebble or stone finish. Sold in various widths it could be used to finish off a butyl lined pond or as a run off into your garden proper. The brand I have seen is Oase Stone Liner.
All these products are available from the links above or a specialist like Bradshaws of York. Amazon supply the preformed ponds.
As winter approaches all ponds need a bit of tlc to see them through the winter.
If removing dead leaves and waste from the bottom of the pond leave the sludge on the edge so any small creatures can crawl back into the water.
Repair leaks to prevent having to regularly top up the water. Evaporation is unavoidable so you may want to think of easy top-up methods.
Create ways of stopping leaves dropping into the pond. Nets are unsightly unless semi submerged. Barrier hedges of box to stop prevailing winds may help.
Make edges safe and secure. Reinforce and renew if necessary any childproof measures.
This Maidenhair Fern (Adiantum) houseplant is being killed with kindness by the family waterer. Too much water kills quicker than too little.This plant likes humidity from a mister or being stood on a damp gravel base but doesn’t want to be flooded.
Plants that transpire lots of water from large fleshy or soft leaves need more watering.
Plants with frail, rubbery or sticky leaves are generally conditioned to survive with less water. Look at the leaves to learn what works best.
Most cacti & succulents with juicy leaves are often able to survive dry spells.
Plants that are actively growing need more water and the converse is true in winter when growth is slow they need little or no water.
Try aim for evenly moist soil from top to bottom after watering
Good drainage in needed for the majority of houseplants so if in doubt err on the side of an open compost
Stagnant water is a no-no causing chills, decay and harbouring potential pests.
The tepid water with no chemicals is OK or try rain water.
Ailing plants should be given only little water and no fertilizer.
Gloxinia like other hairy leaved plants dislike water on the leaves as the sun’s heat can be magnified and damage the leaf.
Consider each plant as an individual and treat it according to need.
Solve the problem of seedlings ‘damping off’ by watering your compost before sowing seeds with Cheshunts Compound a soluble fungicide. Damping Off is a fungal disease that attacks seedlings causing them to suddenly wilt, keel over and die. Damping Off is a particular problem when sowing seed indoors or under glass.
Damping Off can affect most seedlings, particularly under levels of high humidity, poor air circulation, low light and temperature that makes seedlings grow slowly and if seed is sown to thick.
Preventing Damping Off
* Raise seedlings in commercial growing compost, which is usually free of the key fungi.
* Ideally, use new pots and trays whenever raising seedlings. If they must be re-used, wash them thoroughly and treat them with a disinfectant such as Jeyes Fluid.
* Never reuse pots and trays in which damping off has been a problem.
* Sow seedlings thinly to avoid crowding.
* Use mains water when irrigating seedlings grown in pots and trays. If using rainwater, ensure that the water butt is covered to prevent the entry of leaves and other organic debris that could harbour some of the damping off fungi.
* Keep seedlings well ventilated to reduce humidity. Do not over-water.
* Can be used on all seedlings whether edible or non-edible.
* Easy to use, dilute and water the solution onto compost before sowing and repeat after the emergence of the seedlings.
* For transplanting, water seedlings with the solution before and after the transplanting.
* Suitable for organic gardening.
* Cheshunts Compound uses inorganic salts copper sulphate and ammonium carbonate so it is the same type of copper-based fungicide as Bordeaux mixture.
You can’t throw lilies away if Lily is still wearing them (Lonnie Donegan)
If you have a lake then you can grow some brilliant Water Lilies (Nymphaea). If you have a large pond you can also grow water lilies like those above. However if you have only a small 6 inch deep area of water you can still grow Nymphaea ‘Pygmaea Helvola’ a small water lily with 3 inch yellow flowers.
Dwarf lilies are generally suited to small ponds, while some of the smallest of their kind can safely be used in tubs and half-barrels. They spread 12 to 24 inches and cover 1 – 3 square feet when fully grown.
They need a planting depth of around 6 inches and will produce a series of small but beautiful flowers over the summer. Available to buy from Amazon
Dwarf and Small varieties to consider
Nymphaea ‘Aurora’ – a compact ‘changeable’ variety, suited to tubs as well as small ponds.
Nymphaea ‘Paul Hariot’ – another ‘changeable’ it has big flowers for a dwarf variety.
Nymphaea pygmaea’Alba’ – a tiny flowering variety ideal for the smallest of water features.
Nymphaea ‘Laydekeri’ – various Laydekeri varieties exist that are ideal for even very small ponds.
Watering can be the key to success in the garden and with your houseplants. Not surprisingly plants without water die ! Plants can drown with too much H²O so watering is a skill worth learning.
It sounds so easy when you are told to ‘water your plants’. Well so it is but there is many a slip twixt watering can and lip. Remember you are watering the soil not the leaves.
Conserving Water in the Garden
Dig in bulky organic matter to increase the water carrying capacity of your soil.
Keep the surface mulched to avoid evaporation.
Keep soil weed free. Weeds compete for moisture and evaporate through their leaves.
Wind increases evaporation so build wind breaks.
On sloping land sow across the slope reducing run off and soil errosion problems.
Plant water hungry plants together where rainfall will be highest. Do not bother to water lawns they will recover from most drought conditions when it rains.
I was taken with the though of best tips for watering a garden after a chance discussion. Last night at the Bridge club (or the pub afterward) I was asked about the different growth rates of apparently identical plants. Mike and I put it down to water so here are my top tips
God’s own water is best! If we could arrange a steady drizzel from dusk to dawn through summer our gardens would be lush and our crops juicy and large. A slow steady rain (rather than a thunderstorm) will build up moisture in the soil without water logging or running off too quickly.
God’s own water is second best as well. By that I mean rain water caught in a bucket or barrel to be watered in by can or sprayer when needed. I collect rain water off the greenhouse roof (as it may dissolve more chemicals off an asphalt surface). Either way the rain water is softer and more balanced than tap water and is at surrounding temperature when used.
I try not to use water from the barrel on seedlings to minimise damping off (rotting caused by microbes).
Sprinklers or hose pipes need to be given chance to provide a good soaking so I believe in the longer and slower method so the water can really penetrate the top 4 inches or so of soil. A quick splash can do more harm than good bringing roots to the surface.
Pond life can be enhanced with Marsh Marigolds also known as Kingcup, Mayflower, May-blobs, Water-bubbles and botanically as Caltha palustris. It grows well in wet meadows, marshes, stream sides and wet woodlands. The leaves are kidney shaped and a glossy, deep green.
Cultivation of Marsh Marigolds
It grows well in shade or partial sunshine and likes damp roots.
Marsh-marigold can be propagated by sowing fresh seed on a good quality seed compost.
Available in aquatic sections of garden centres or from wild seed merchants.
Propagated by division in spring, removing some of the larger leaves to reduce water loss through transpiration.
Ensure that plants are well watered during the establishment phase.
Varieties and Descriptions
Marsh Marigold has yellow petals or sepals and yellow stamens
Caltha palustris ‘Flore Pleno’ has double yellow flowers with greeny-yellow centres.
Caltha palustris alba is more compact and has single white flowers. …
If you need a stream of ideas of plants for your waterside look no further.
For bog gardens or the streamside there are many plants that will be happy with damp roots. This is our selection of the flowering plants that will grow well in a waterside position.
Flowering Waterside Plants a Top Ten
Iris is one of the most popular waterside plants with several varieties suitable for this position including, Iris ensata Gracieuse’, Iris pseudacorus and Iris sibirica ‘Silver Edge’ .
Snowflake or ‘Leucojum vernum’ is much larger than its relation the snowdrop. The flowers are held on long stems that droop gracefully. It is easy to grow and multiplies freely in most gardens provided the soil is moist enough. Plants have been known to withstand flooding and standing water so it is an ideal choice for bog gardens
Ligularia The Rocket has yellow flower heads held well clear of the foliage. Very architectural with its sturdy, upright habit giving good reflection in the water.
Astilbe ‘Rheinland’ or Astilbe x arendsii ‘Spinell have wonderful plumes of flowers and love the damp conditions.
Lysichiton camschatcensis The Giant white arum has beautiful white, arum-like flowers which are slightly later than yellow Lysichiton americanus. With smaller leaves it is a better plant for a small pond or bog garden. Slow to establish but very hardy.
Lobelia are a lot more than the trailing edge plant associated with Alyssum.
Some members of the Lobelia family love water and are happy to be submerged in your pond or pool others like to be planted in moist margins. These Lobelia are the hardy perennial and half hard perennials described below rather than the blue and white annuals we grow as children.
Flowers in glorious blue to purple and has elegant lance shaped leaves growing to 2 feet tall and making a tight clump. Plant in soil and in up to 2 inches of water and propagate by division. It should not need special winter protection.
Lobelia cardinalis and ‘Dark Crusader’
The cardinal flower has striking dark red foliage made even more spectacular by a profusion of scarlet flowers in August. The 3 feet high plants may need staking and in winter they should be moved to drier conditions so it is best to plant in a deep planting basket. The plants like moist soil and semi-shade when growing . They work well with Hostas for contrast in shape and colour.
The blue poppy is one of the truly stunning blue flowers to grace any garden. I predict a growth in interest in Meconopsis over the next few years as nurserymen increase saleable stock following some intensive nation wide trials.
Cultivation and Propagation of Meconopsis
The family contains perennials and monocarpic plants that die after flowering.
Soil should be neutral to acidic with plenty of humus.
I find they need plenty of moisture and are often grown alongside streams.
Meconopsis, are hardy but often short lived, preferring shade and a cool position to full sun.
Grow from fresh seed. Clump forming Meconopsis sheldonii should be divided every 3 years
Species and Varieties
Meconopsis grandis can grow 3-5′ tall with stout stems bearing nodding cup-shaped blue flowers.
Mecanopsis cambrica, quintuplinervia and cultivars can be propagated by division. …