Wonderful small garden ponds....create your own little oasis
You don’t need a lot of space to enjoy a water garden. You don’t even need a pond to grow water plants. Small garden ponds can be made from any container that can hold water. The opportunities are infinite.
Small garden ponds are easy....
Whether you are young, old, live with an impairment or don’t believe that you have green thumbs. Water gardening in containers is the easiest form of gardening. Just add water and keep it topped up.
What containers can I use?
The Chinese have been gardening in containers for centuries. Waterlilies and lotuses can still be seen popping up out of pots, urns and tubs outside their windows, doorways and along the base of stairs.
The wondrous possibilities of small garden ponds are only limited by your imagination. Water bowls can serve as decorative tabletop water gardens. They can be bird baths, stone troughs, window boxes, even hanging baskets. Virtually any container that can be sealed or lined to hold water.
What should I be careful of, when choosing a suitable container?
An understanding of a containers’ history or its past use, can help to minimise potential water garden disasters. If it has been used for something else, then you should try to find out what may be remaining in the container. In many instances it may need to be washed out, sealed or lined with plastic or a pond liner.
A wine barrel, cut in half, is a popular choice for a tub water garden. However the inside of the barrel often contains alcohol or tannic acid residues, potentially harmful to fish. The same can be said for old coppers. The copper leaches from the sides of the pond and can become toxic to plants and fish.
A couple of solutions are to paint the inside with a suitable pond sealer or line the inside with plastic or pond liner.
Concrete and terracotta planters can also be used as decorative water gardens, however both are porous materials and should be sealed on the inside to reduce water loss. The concrete should also be sealed to prevent the lime leaching into the water changing the pH and upsetting the water chemistry.
Galvanised steel tanks should be scrubbed clean using White vinegar and rinsed out thoroughly.
What can I use to seal my container?
Containers with holes can be plugged using silicon for smaller holes or plumbers epoxy putty for larger ones.
Porous containers can be sealed on the inside. There are numerous pond sealant products on the market. Check that the product that you are using is recommended for potable water (suitable for drinking).
Water plants for small garden ponds...
The choice of plants is only limited to the space that you have available and the desired outcome of your creativity.
Waterlilies need room for their leaves to float on the water surface and are more suited to tubs that are at least 60cm wide. Miniature Waterlilies and some of the smaller leafed waterlily-like plants, such as Nardoo (Marsilea mutica) and Water Poppy (Hydrocleys nymphoides) can be used in smaller garden ponds, down to 30cm wide.
Wonderful combination plantings can provide a variety of colours as well as height levels to your display. Rainbow Parsley (Oenanthe javanica Pink Flamingo) produces decorative trailing celery-like foliage with attractive pink tips. The Dwarf Egyptian Papyrus called “Little Pharoah™” is a superb feature plant, only growing to 60cm high and is a good water filtering plant ideal for small garden ponds.
Leperonia (Leperonia articulata) is a striking architectural plant producing lovely blue-grey cylindrical stems to 1.5m tall. If you prefer darker green foliage then the robust Jointed Twig Rush (Baumea articulata) could be the plant for you.