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Home > Types of Gardening > Water Gardening
Water Gardening
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Water GardeningWater gardens which have become extremely popular in recent years are also known as aquatic gardens, backyard ponds and garden ponds.

The sight and sound of water has always drawn the interest of people. Water adds an appealing element to a garden. Water gardens can include fountains, waterfalls, small ponds and elaborate combinations of rockwork and lighting. Basically, a water garden is just a pool of water that is home to plants and possibly fish and other water creatures. Natural ponds or large spaces are no longer needed for a water garden. They can consist of a concrete dish, half barrel, plastic tub or anything else that can hold water.

Water gardens are usually a man-made feature. These gardens typically combine a pool with aquatic plants and often ornamental fish. Fixed items such as rocks, fountains, statuary, waterfalls and watercourses are combined with the pool to add visual interest and integration with the local landscape and environment.

There are four main plant varieties: deep-water, marginals, oxygenators, and floaters. Typical water garden plants are divided into 3 main categories--submerged, marginal, and floating.

Submerged plants are those that live almost completely under the water, sometimes with leaves or flowers that grow to the surface such as with the water lily. These plants are placed in a pond or container usually 1-2 ft. below the water surface. Some of these plants are called oxygenators because they create oxygen for the fish that live in a pond. Examples of submerged plants are:

  • Water lily (Hardy and Tropical)

  • Parrot Feather (Myriophyllum aquaticum)

  • Marginal plants are those that live with their roots under the water but the rest of the plant above the surface. These are usually placed so that the top of the pot is at or barely below the water level. Examples of these are:

  • Flag (Iris)

  • Taro or Elephant Ear

  • Arrowhead (Sagittaria latifolia)

  • Nelumbo (lotus)

  • Pickerelweed (Pontedaria cordata)

  • Floating plants are those that are not anchored to the soil at all, but are free-floating on the surface. In water gardening, these are often used as a provider of shade to keep down the growth of algae in a pond. These are often extremely fast growing/multiplying. Examples of these are:

  • Mosquito ferns (Azolla)

  • Water-spangle (Salvinia)

  • Water-clover (Marsilea vestita)

  • Water-hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes)

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