Irises For Water Gardens

IMG 2624 Irises For Water Gardens

Irises are the perfect water garden plants for the novice pond owner, and thrive to the point of over abundance in almost any water garden!  Here is a list of some of my favorite Irises for water gardens, all of these are great places to begin when filling a pond.

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The Barrel Water Garden, Zen Style

img 0392 205x300 The Barrel Water Garden, Zen Style

Spring and fall are great times to establish a water feature in your yard. You don’t need a ton of space, or know-how to create a diverting water feature that can house fish, and you can make one more easily than you think!

The barrel water garden is a quick way to incorporate a water garden in a small space. I borrowed this idea from a gentleman at the local community garden, who created this clever zen motif with only a few materials!

What You Need To Create This:

  • One 20-24 inch wide half barrel (new, or vineyard recycled)
  • One and a half quarts of “Pond Armor” pond shield and epoxy
  • One 2 inch paintbrush
  • One sheet of 60 grit sandpaper
  • A leveling tool
  • One large narrow stone for the focal point (available from stone specialty stores)
  • River Rocks (enough to cover the slope you create around the barrel)
  • Two four foot Bamboo planting stakes
  • Topsoil as needed
  • A saw to cut the Bamboo into segments
  • A pre-formed 30 gallon pond liner (from Depot or Lowes) can be substituted in place of the “Pond Armor,” and should fit inside your barrel as your waterproofer. Make sure to check the measurements of your barrel to ensure a liner will fit before you purchase either a barrel, or a liner.
How To Install:
  1. Identify the area you will build this water garden in, and decide on the shape the garden will take around the barrel. This design borrows from traditional Japanese water gardening the use of raised, free-form shapes in the planting area. For this “Zen Barrel Water Garden,” the barrel is mostly hidden inside the planting bed.
  2. Run over the interior of your barrel with a 60 grit sandpaper to prepare the container for the waterproof seal.
  3. Apply the “Pond  Armor” seal and epoxy to the inside of your barrel to provide protection against leaks, and, in the case of recycled wine barrels, to protect your fish and plants from wine residue left in the grain of the wood. Barrels are often waterproof to an extent, but for the purpose of a long lasting waterfeature, a protective coating in your barrel is ideal, providing up to 25 years of protection. [Read more...]

Book Review: “An Essential Guide to Choosing Your Pond Fish and Aquatic Plants”

guide to aquatic life book cover 300x300 Book Review: “An Essential Guide to Choosing Your Pond Fish and Aquatic Plants”I found this great light read recently on everything pond related, and made sure to add it to my gardening shelf! This hard-cover book, An Essential Guide to Choosing Your Pond Fish and Aquatic Plants, Book Review: “An Essential Guide to Choosing Your Pond Fish and Aquatic Plants” is 80 glossy pages of photos and tips guaranteed to help you build and run a successful pond or water feature, and take your water gardening skills to the next level buy introducing you to a wider variety of fish and plant life to build a dynamic backyard ecosystem!

Covering topics ranging from water feature creation, plant selection, fish varieties, and DIY tips for the weekend water gardener, this book is thorough and written simply and concisely. The format is easy to read, but with an information pool of a much larger book. The chapters are broken down by topic, and each point is illustrated thoroughly through detailed photographs and step by step instructions, or one sentence tips in the photo margins. The basic pond topics are expanded to provide new information for every level of water gardener, while not overwhelming the novice. The writing and visual style of this book is unique, as it alternates between classic paragraph style and and almost scrapbook feel on pages heavier in photography, with tips and pointers artistically arranged around diagrams and pictures.

This book is a great resource for every water gardener, and one that I recommend for the home library for quick topical searches. I particularly appreciated the full page spreads dedicated to the needs and habits of pond fish varieties, and the section on pond and bog plants that included many native plants unmentioned in other pond resources I have read! Check it out today at your local library or on amazon, and create a beautiful water feature around your home or apartment.