June in the Borders Garden - Ponds and Water Plants
Ponds make a wonderful addition to the garden – as well as creating extra habitats for wildlife, it also provides different planting conditions for a whole host of plants. The most successful ponds tend to have a boggy area next to them to allow moisture loving plants to grow there and to make a smooth transition from pond to garden. Not only that, but the sound of moving water is very relaxing, and the presence of fish in the pond gives an extra dimension to your enjoyment of your garden.
Ponds are generally sited in sunny spots, which makes plant growth stronger, but also encourages algae growth. Ideally a pond should have 30-40% of its surface area covered with plant leaves, using plants such as water lilies, and other deep water marginals like the very pretty Water hawthorn (Aponogeton) and the Yellow Fringed Lily, which isn’t strictly speaking a lily at all, but a close relative (Nymphoides peltata). This will help shade the water from the sun and reduce algae growth.
Water lilies prefer still water to moving water, so be sure to site them away from fountains and inlet streams, and read the label carefully to make sure they are at the right depth within the pond. Miniature water lilies can be submerged in large water-tight containers if you don’t have space for a pond.
Oygenators and floating plants are vital for the health of the pond. Oxgenating plants grow and photosynthesise under water, releasing oxygen into the water which is essential for water dwelling animals as well as for keeping the water full of healthy bacteria to help keep it clean. Crystal confetti (Hydrocotyl) is one of the most attractive oxygenators and should be submerged in the pond.
Floating plants, such as Water Soldiers (Stratiotes) can simply be thrown into the pond, making them the easiest plant in gardening to actually plant! Barley straw products also help keep pond clear and they act as an algae inhibitor – the product we currently have in stock treats upto 2000 gallons and last approx.. 6 months.
A selection of tall, grass like plants are useful for height, structure and for allowing emerging larvae of dragonflies to hatch. Recommended varieties are Lesser Bulrush (Typha angustifolia) and any of the water loving irises.
Other marginal plants provide colour and texture. By creating a bog garden you give yourself the opportunity to plant a whole range of plants from the beautiful green foliage of Hostas and ferns to the bright colourful flowers of candelabra primroses.
Hopefully this gives you a few ideas on how to make your garden even more attractive this summer, as well as creating a new habitat for wildlife.