We have been itching to plant up the pond since it was built in January.M
ost of the aquatic plants we wanted to buy die down in winter so we had to be patient and wait for the nurseries to get their spring deliveries of plants.
Lenny built in three shelves at different levels for us to put marginals – plants that like the shallows. We covered the brick edges to the shelves with liner then filled in behind them with aquatic compost and gravel. It’s important to use pond compost because it’s much lower in the nutrients which can prompt a profusion of algae. Unfortunately the addition of the soil has left our water very murky. It is slowly clearing but it can take weeks for a virgin pond to settle down.
I don’t know much about pond plants at all so my choices are not very adventurous. We bought:
- Marsh marigold Caltha palustris,
- Water mint Mentha aquatic,
- Yellow flag iris Iris pseudacorus,
- Water hawthorn Aponogeton distachyos,
- Veronica Veronica beccabunga
- Scarlet Monkey Flower Mimulus cardinalis
- Dutch rush Equisetum hyemale
- Oxygenating weed Elodea crispa
- and a pretty little red waterlily called Perry’s Baby Red.
One thing I read often is how important it is to avoid non-native, invasive pond plants that can choke your pond and wreak havoc in streams and rivers if they manage to “escape”. I confess to being a little concerned about the Equisetum because it is related to the devilish Horsetail which is a rampant and almost indestructible weed. We planted ours in a basket to restrict root growth and will keep an eye on it. The oxygenating weed is also very vigorous but I have grown it in other ponds and it is easy to keep under control. The rest of the plants went straight in the shallow soil and gravel beds.
We chose a dwarf lily because they too can become monsters once their roots get established in all the rich sediment at the bottom of the pond. Our “Baby Red” is on the lowest of the three shelves in about 12 inches (30cm) of water. The Water hawthorn is a new one on me: orchid-like, scented white flowers held above the water and long, slender leaves. I don’t know how well-behaved it is going to be but it likes depths up to 3 feet (90cm) so it will go in the deepest part of the pond once it’s acclimatised.
I have also started planting up the border around the pond. I want it to be full of hot colours. Most of the plants have come from Mum’s garden: Hemerocalis and Crocosmia, clumps of Sisyrinchium, Monarda and Helianthus. I’ve also sown a lot of annuals: French marigolds, Californian poppies and Cosmos. There’s also a rose, two variegated hollies and a quince.
It doesn’t look much now but just you wait!