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How To Choose Water Garden Plants
So. The water garden bug has bitten. You've dug and leveled and sweated and said words you hope that no one else has heard. Now it's time for the fun part ? picking out your water garden plants!
Plant varieties within these four categories are what you need to eyeball: deep-water, marginals, oxygenators, and floaters. (If you think these words are big and weird, just thank your stars we're not talking medicine.)
After you've diligently planted your babies in plastic tubs, pans, or clay pots, packing the fertilizer- and chemical-free soil down tightly, load the container down with pea gravel to keep the soil from floating away. (Don't ask why this works, but it does.) Plunk your prize into the water at the appropriate depth (You'll read about that in just a minute, so hang on to your hat.) and you're on your way!
Plant-dunking should be done during the growing season. Wait four or five weeks for the water plants to do their thing before you add your fish. If you just can't hold your horses, er, your fish, for that long, you can jump the gun a couple of weeks, but the idea is to let the plants first get established.
When picking your plants, you'll no doubt be wowed by water lilies of the tropical persuasion. These aquatic wonders lord it over their hardier cousins with knock-out fragrance, big blooms day or night ? depending on the variety ? and a habit of blooming their little hearts out nearly every day during the growing season. They love their warmth, though, so unless you live in a year-round, warm-weather climate (in which case, you are used to being hated and has absolutely nothing to do with this article), be prepared to hasten them into a greenhouse or at least muster up enough moolah to buy them some "grow" lights to tough it out through the winter. They will definitely bite the dust at freezing temperatures, but give them night-time temps of at least 65F and daytime temps of 75F or warmer, and your love affair with tropicals will only grow that much more torrid.
Hardy water lilies, while not the showboaters that tropicals are, are . . . well, hardier. Their big advantage is that they can stay in the water year 'round unless it freezes so deeply the rootstock is affected. And being the tough guys they are, you can plant these puppies deeper than the tropicals, some living it up in depths of 8 to 10 feet.
Both hardy and tropical water lilies are real sun worshippers. At least 5 to 10 hours a day is what it takes, along with regular fertilization, to keep these plant pals happy.
Everybody and their brother with a water garden wants a lotus plant. (Sisters, too, no doubt.) These water-lily relatives come in hardy and not-so-hardy strains, so make sure you know what you're buying. Much bigger than water lilies, lotus have huge, famously splendid blooms that not only will knock your socks off, but make you forget you have feet altogether. Their leaves and seed pods are so breathtaking, they're a favorite in costly cut-flower arrangements. Big, bold, and beautiful, with water-depth needs of 2-3 feet, these shouters are really better off in big ponds that get plenty of sun.
Marginals (sometimes called "bog" plants by those less high-falutin') are grass-like plants that strut their stuff in shallow areas no deeper than 6" that border the water garden. They also do well in mud. Cattail, bamboo, rush, papyrus, and many other plants fall into the family of marginals and grow best with a minimum of at least three hours of jolly old Sol.
Some plants are there but not seen, working stoically under water and without fanfare to fight algae, oxygenate the water, and provide food for fish. (In lieu of these plants, if your pond is small, you can fake it fairly adequately with an aquarium pump.) Easy on the wallet, varieties of these plants can be bought in bunches and like their soil sandy and/or gravelly. Like hardy water lilies, they, too, will warrior it through the winter.
Water hyacinths have become a recent rage, especially for the lazy among us. No soil is required for these beauties. Toss them in the water and they're "planted." A water hyacinth ain't just another pretty face, though; these plants do their part in the war against algae and blanket weeds by keeping sunlight scarce on the water's surface. But one note of caution: This plant may take over the world if allowed. It's invasive as all get out, so keep it under control or you (and your neighbors) may wish you'd never laid eyes on it.
A water garden isn't a garden without plants. Take your time, know your climate, and choose wisely. Your rewards will be great in return.
He also publishes a free monthly newsletter called PondStuff! with a reader circulation of over 9,000. To sign up for the free newsletter and receive our FREE 'New Pond Owners Guide' visit MacArthur Water Gardens today!
Oregano: Joy of the Mountain
Known as "joy of the mountain," Origanum vulgare is commonly called culinary oregano or Turkish oregano. Oregano is a close relative of marjoram and is also known as pot marjoram. Similar in taste to marjoram, oregano's taste is more pungent and has overtones of mint. Greek oregano, subspecies hirtum of O. vulgare, is recommended as the best type of oregano for cooking. Oregano is a half-hardy perennial that can be grown outdoors as an annual or indoors as a perennial. Blooming in early summer, Greek oregano has pink, white, or purple flowers, dark green opposite leaves that are highly aromatic, and slim, squarish, woody, branched stems. Greek oregano has a branching taproot and grows in a clump. Used the world over in Italian, Mexican, and Spanish dishes, Greek oregano is one of the three essential ingredients in Italian cooking along with basil and marjoram.
Fleur De Lotus: Purity in a Sullied World
Rising from a muddy pond, a lotus flower blossoms. Such epitome of purity in a turbid environment has sparked off much inspiration in ancient oriental literature and Buddhist teachings, shaping a repertoire of odes to the graceful demeanour and refreshing fragrance of the lotus.
The Tools of Rose Gardening
Like any job you tackle, it's always easier if you have the right tools. Before heading out to your rose garden, make sure you arm yourself with these basic rose gardening tools.
Create a Hummingbird Garden Habitat
It's not difficult to create a garden that will attract hummingbirds, but if you'd like to build a habitat in which they will happily nest and live throughout the northern summer, you need to provide them with more than a sugar-water feeder and a plant or two. An active hummingbird garden doesn't need to be large, but it will have all of the following key ingredients to attract and keep the attention of "nature's fairies".
Why Should You Create A Butterfly Garden?
Have you noticed you do not see as many butterflies as you once did? It is sad that we do not see as many butterflies as we might like. You can change that by planting a butterfly garden.
Gardenscape On A Shoestring
Many of us flip through garden magazines, all the while thinking that it takes years, a professional, or tons of money to landscape the gardens featured in the glossy pictures. This isn't necessarily true. You can design a breathtaking garden and be the envy of the neighborhood by following some of the following tips.
Online Garden Seed Exchanges
If you've been gardening for any length of time you have probably realized a couple of things.
Summer Pond Tips
Low Oxygen levels Kill Fish
How to Grow Cucumbers
The versatile cucumber (cucumis sativus) is tasty pickled, in a salad, as a salad, in a sandwich, or just eaten raw. How to grow cucumbers depends largely in part on how you plan to eat them. Cucumbers come in over 120 varieties that range from small picklers to large slicers and from dark green to the yellow of the lemon cucumber. They come "burped" or burpless, seeded or without seeds.
A Few Simple Facts About Purple Martins
Purple Martins are the largest member of the swallow family. However, in flight their wings are more triangular than other swallows.
Easy to Grow Roses
There are many different types of roses. If you are new to rose gardening, then it is wise to choose varieties of easy to grow roses to begin your rose garden. Some roses require constant attention and caring for while others require none. Roses come in varieties of high maintenance to no maintenance. Most roses, though, do require a certain amount of time to get started and to care for adequately. Minimal care roses that produce maximum results are ideal for beginners or those still somewhat new to rose gardening. Not only will it teach you the basics without working you to death, it will also encourage your gardening experience, perhaps leading you to take on other rose types that are a little more challenging to care for.
Gardening for Kids
Children are continually bombarded with advertising for fast food and unhealthy treats. One of the most important lessons you can teach them is how to tend and grow their own food from the garden.
Straw Bale Culture Technique
In general, plants grown in straw bales appear to require less water than when grown in soil. Another benefit to using straw bale culture is the garden bed will turn into compost offering some additional nutrients to your vegetables and herbs. The constantly composing environment warms up to provide gentle heat to the roots of plants and for your greenhouse. After some preparation and processing the compost will also begin to generate Co2 which will help to boost your plant's growth rate.
Are My Grapes Ready to Harvest?
This is the time of the year that I keep hearing the question "When do I harvest my grapes?" Or sometimes the question is phrased "Are my grapes ripe yet?" And then there's the "Are they ready yet?"
A Rose is a Rose?
There are many varied definitions of what each color of rose symbolizes. Florists and floral experts alike will agree that flowers hold the meaning we give them and the feeling with which they are given.
How to Grow Bananas
If your grocer says, "Yes, we have no bananas. We have no bananas today," it isn't surprising since the banana is the world's second favorite fruit, surpassed in popularity only by the apple. Once only grown in tropical climates, the good news is that several varieties can be grown in northern areas as well as in the south.
Everybody recognises palm trees, they are the universal symbol for the tropics but many are hardy enough for our temperate climate gardens. Until recently New Zealand gardeners have had only a very limited range of palms to choose from. In the last five years the range has grown enormously as nurseries have been encouraged by gardeners eager to experiment.
Can Your Sundial Really Tell The Time?
"I am a sundial, and I make a botch Of what is done far better by a watch"
Composting the Easy Way
Having an ample supply of good rich compost is the gardeners dream. It has many uses, and all of those uses will result in nicer plants. However, composting can be time consuming and hard work. I place a reasonable value on my time, so spending hours and hours turning compost piles doesn't qualify as a worthwhile exercise, at least in my book. Nonetheless, I do compost, but I do so on my terms.
Are you looking for a truly versatile vegetable to grow and serve? Try beetroot! It has the most amazing colour and texture. Varieties range in colour from gold to deep red/purple and are delicious raw, boiled, baked, pickled and juiced. Even the leaves are edible! The root is packed with Vitamin C and the leaves are a great source of Vitamin A and potassium.
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