Container Water Gardening and Water Features

Introduction To Container Water Gardening

Water is one of the most fascinating elements in the garden.

Container Water Gardening - Water Features Whether it is a still pond that reflects all around it, or a gentle whispering fountain, it holds a fascination for old and young alike. Water gardening is no longer the prerogative of those with large gardens and generous bank accounts, but a pleasure that can be enjoyed and afforded by all.

The introduction of new materials, such as Low-Density Polyethylene (LDPE) and fibreglass for pool construction, has revolutionised water gardening. Pumps and filters have also become much simpler and smaller over the last few years. Today you don’t need large pumps and ugly pump houses to create a beautiful fountain or waterfall. Just place a simple, small, powerful submersible pump in the water and switch it on.

Such innovations mean that smaller units can be successfully created, permitting water features even on the tiniest patio, courtyard or balcony, often planted with miniature aquatics. Water in the garden or outdoor living space is now truly within everyone’s range. Container water gardens are not only fashionable but immensely varied and practical, and since they need relatively little maintenance they are ideal for busy people. They also provide an instant effect that in many cases is portable, although, as with other types of gardening, it always takes time for the plants to grow to maturity.

An outdoor container water garden has limited winter appeal. Unlike more extensive garden ponds, which can be arranged to look good even when the plants have died back, container water gardens have insufficient open water surface to make this sort of impact. They are similar to tubs and planters containing flowering plants — a spring and summer-long pleasure, that will often be completely dismantled and stored away during the winter.

The advantage of a container water feature is its versatility. It can be almost anything, you want it to be, from a celebration of moving water to a cameo wildlife pool. If the container is carefully chosen, it can become an integral part of the design. The Dutch go in for what they call ‘mobile gardens’, that is, contained features that can be moved around and changed at will. The plants are grown in inserts, which are lifted and removed from the larger container as plants pass their best and the display needs changing. They are constantly replaced by new inserts with a fresh specimen of the same plant, or a different one to add interest to the garden feature.

Such configurations of containers, and the ability to change them regularly, make mobile gardens something novel and exciting, especially for gardeners who have inherited stark, barren yards or patios and want a quick way to transform them into attractive garden areas.

Container water features can be very diverse, ranging from a miniature waterscape to a geyser gushing through a mound of washed pebbles. If a container can hold water, it is a potential water feature. A wide variety of attractive ready-made water features are available from garden centres, and great sophistication can be achieved with just a screwdriver and the ability to connect a plug to a power supply. If you enjoy DIY, ready-made items may seem less satisfying and the opportunities for creating your own unique feature are legion.

Where space is at a premium and moving water is desired, consider the flexibility offered by a self-contained fountain kit. These are usually wall-mounted with a bowl in a unit that incorporates a small pump, and merely require the addition of water for the desired effect. A whole range of fountains can be used on their own indoors or, with some more elaborate additions, outside. The great advantage of such a modest feature is that it provides moving water for your garden, does not require plants or fish, and is one of the few water features that can be successfully situated in the shade.

There is quite a long history of small water features in the Far East, and oriental gardens are a rich source of inspiration, especially for ideas for fountains. Millstones with water bubbling through them are an adaptation of a traditional oriental idea, and bamboo, currently very fashionable in the West, has long been used by the Japanese in water features. The most popular fountain is the traditional deer scarer, or shishi-odoshi, which would make an amusing and decorative focal point for any garden.

My tip:

Often a water feature can form the central focal point in a garden, surrounded by planters spilling over with colourful plants, or perhaps with subtle-coloured foliage in interesting shapes.

14. January 2011 by admin
Categories: Water Gardening/Water Features | Tags: , | Comments Off on Container Water Gardening and Water Features

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