One doesn’t need a pond to grow water plants in Central Texas. All you need is a fairly large container that can hold water, such as a galvanized stock tank. These are readily available in most feed stores.
Position your water garden in full sun. A few afternoon hours of shade would be okay.
Galvanized stock tanks come in an array of shapes and sizes. The ideal height is 4 feet. This allows room to position a cinder block pedestal stand beneath your plants.
Start by filling the pond with water. Let it stand for a day to allow the chlorine to dissipate.
Next, decorate the pond with water plants. Easiest to grow are the water lilies, water irises, horsetail reeds, and umbrella grass. Place them on the cinder blocks in their containers (usually 1 gallon size). The top of the containers should be just below the water surface. Placing a rock or two on the container will keep it from floating in the water.
To improve water quality, install a submersible pump to re-circulate the water. You can also add a fountain at the surface to aerate the water and add a pretty sound. You can even get real fancy by putting in colored lights for ambience in the evening.
The most fun part of all is when you get to add fish to your water garden. Best choices here are goldfish or koi – the beautiful multi-colored Japanese carp. With a little training they will feed right out of your hand. They will also keep the mosquitoes at bay and eat algae as it forms.
You have now created a little eco system in the backyard. With a little landscaping, a containerized water feature will add lots of beauty to any landscape. And it can all be completed with minimal effort.
For an example, visit the native water garden at the Wildflower Center. Or drop by my nursery – It’s About Thyme. We have one complete with a galvanized waterfall made from watering cans.
Happy water gardening everybody!
If you have a question for Chris, send it via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Or mail a postcard to It’s About Thyme: 11726 Manchaca Road, Austin, TX 78748. www.itsaboutthyme.com