My head is full of plans at the moment for our new garden, it’s going to include a small pond and one of the best things about a new pond is the planting.
The plants will be planted in those special aquatic plant-pots to stop them spreading into the sediment in the pond and running amok and damaging the pond liner. It’s also easy to get the plants out of these baskets to trim and divide them, though this doesn’t need doing very often.
The baskets are lined with hessian and filled with soil, I’ve always used a loam-based garden compost, though many people prefer to use special aquatic compost. It’s a good idea to cover the surface of the soil after planting with shingle to keep the soil in place.
Half the surface water needs to be covered with big leaves and floating plants to stop sunlight getting through the water, the leaves help prevent those algae growing that turn the water a horrible pea-green colour. I’m also placing oxygenating plants under the water to help keep it clear.
This is how my plant list is looking:
- Deep-water plants like waterlilies [Nymphae] and water hawthorn [Aponogeton distachyos], to cover the surface, they’ll be in the deepest part of the pond. You can buy dwarf, small and medium ones, or big, vigorous ones if you have a huge pond. I’m opting for the small ones.
- Oxygenating plants such as water crow-foot [Ranunculus aquatilis] with pretty, little white flowers, will be planted on the bottom of the pond and help to keep the water clear.
- Marginal plants like marsh marigold [Caltha] and Japanese water iris [Iris laevigata] have their roots under the water with their leaves and flowers above, these will be planted on a shelf around the edge of the pond.
Plants to avoid:
Canadian pondweed and parrots feather are widely sold, but don’t be tempted by their pretty leaves, they quickly spread and take over, choking out other plants and making lots of work, they also create problems if they get into rivers. They can be introduced as tiny fragments mixed in with other plants, the best way to avoid this is to buy from nurseries that only stock native plants.
Although I’m looking forward to planting when the pond is finally built next year, I’ll take it gradually and plant a few things to see what grows well. It’s amazing how many plants just appear and take root, probably brought in by birds, so I’ll wait and see what happens there too.
Happy gardening, Jill
all photos: Jill Anderson.