Bonsai Your Pond!

ContainerPondsThese are the small to really small ponds and container water gardens are one of the easiest ways to try your hand at water gardening. The beauty of these container water garden is that you can integrate one or many into your landscape. A container water garden is also ideal for an apartment or small home where you may only have a small patio. Your creativity is the limit for these little gardens.

Anything that can hold water can be incorporated into your garden. Containers for your water garden come in a variety of shapes and sizes. You can use something as elegant as a ceramic planter or as rustic as an old horse trough, kettle, or half a whiskey barrel.

You should have a container that holds more than 7 gallons of water, anything else is too small. Look for a container that is at least 12 inches deep. If you can find something that is a little deeper, say 18 inches that would be ideal. You will need a little depth if you plan to keep water lilies or any fish. Water lilies need 6 to 12 inches of water above their crown to grow well. Fish need a little depth for swimming and for keeping cool.

Place your container water garden where you can enjoy it often, as well as add a visual display to your visitors. Decide ahead of time where you want your container to be positioned, and then buy plants that suit the situation. There is no point buying sun lovers for a shady position, for they will not do well. Some plants also have really large roots, so they are best kept for the open garden.

To keep your container from rusting or leaking and to keep any toxins it might contain from harming plants or fish, you should line it. There are now fiberglass shells specially made for half barrels. For other containers, use a piece of PVC liner.

Although you shouldn’t cram the container with plants, it is possible to enjoy a half dozen species in even a small one. Water lilies are always a good choice for your container water garden. Cultivating aquatic plants in containers make for easy maintenance and management. Individual varieties can be lifted and divided as required and isolating one kind from another means that they do not readily invade one another’s territory. Try to include an upright plant or two, as well as one that will hang gracefully over the side.

A few small goldfish or mosquito fish will help keep your mini-pond free of mosquito larvae. Unless you live in a warm-winter climate or can sink the container into the ground for the winter, you will need to transfer the fish to an indoor aquarium for a few months each year.

Container Plants
A wide range of plants can be used in containers. In fact, virtually any plant is suitable, although those with long taproots tend to be unhappy unless the pot is really deep. Some plants are used almost exclusively in containers. Trailing plants, for example, have been bred especially for hanging baskets and window boxes. The most common plants used for containers are:

* Ageratum
* Agapanthus
* Argyranthemum
* Begonia
* Bidens Ferulifolia
* Brachycome Iberidifolia
* Cordyline Australis
* Diascia
* Felicia Amelloides
* Helichrysum Petiolare
* Hosta
* Impatiens
* Lobelia
* Pelargonium
* Nemisia
* Pelargonium
* Petunia
* Phormium
* Primula
* Tagetes
* Tropaeolum
* Verbena x Hybrida
* Viola x Wittrockiana

One benefit of having a water garden is all the creatures it will attract. All creatures need water for survival, and the addition of any kind of water feature to your landscape is a sure way to attract birds, butterflies, bullfrogs, and other wildlife to your yard. Water features of all kinds with or without fish, in the house or out in the garden, filled with plants or little more than a basin of still water reflecting the sky; add a soothing element to any setting.

At every stage of creating your container water garden, you will be faced with many interesting choices, each with their own challenges and benefits. Be led by your own creativity, budget, and instinct to create a garden feature that reflects your own inspiration. You start with a clean slate, so let your imagination take over.

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