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Ladybugs: The Good Guys

Did you know that a ladybug can devour up to 50 aphids or more in a day? They also attack scale, mealybugs and leaf hopper, but not on your precious garden plants or seedlings. Invite ladybugs to your garden – they dine only on insects and won’t harm your plants in any way.

Ladybug or Lady Beetle?

The different names given to ladybugs are almost as numerous as the number of species. You may call them ladybugs (although they are not really bugs), lady beetles (they are technically beetles), lady birds or in Germany you would say “Marienkafer” (Mary’s beetles). In North America, there are more than 350 species of ladybugs, and more than 4,000 are found around the world. Most species can be identified by the pattern of spots on their elytra (flight wing covers).

Lady beetles are members of the beetle family Coccinellidae, which means “little sphere.” In their life cycle, a lady beetle will go through egg, larval, pupal and adult stages. Lady beetles’ favorite food is the notorious aphid. A female lady bug has huge appetite, eating from 75-100 aphids per day, while the male eats about 40 per day. Most lady beetles are predators, but a few are plant eaters, and can be crop pests.

Lady beetles have some surprisingly innovative ways of protecting themselves. First is their coloring. Most predators know that bright colorings mean that their victim would likely taste bad and may even sting them. Lady beetles also produce a pungent odor when threatened, or may just play dead. Lady beetle larvae is kind of alligator-looking, so not many predators will not mess with it. Lady beetles may live in shrubs, fields, trees and logs.

Releasing Ladybugs

If you want ladybugs or lady beetles in your and – and what gardener wouldn’t? – you can buy them to release in the most needed spots. Ladybugs should always be released after sundown since they only fly in the daytime. During the night, they will search the area for food and stay as long as there is food for them to eat. The more they eat, the more eggs they lay and the more insect-eating larvae you will have. It is best if the area has been recently watered.

Ladybugs tend to crawl up and toward light. Release them in small groups at the base of plants and shrubs or in the lower parts of trees that have aphids or other insects, and they will crawl up the entire plant as they feed, thoroughly eliminating unwanted pests. They may eventually move on and out of your garden or yard, but by the time they do their job is done and you have naturally eliminated many pests while helping ladybugs spread their beauty and helpfulness.

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Gardening With Children

By gardening with your children or grandchildren, you can give them an awareness and appreciation of nature and the world around them that will stay with them for the rest of their lives. Even very young children enjoy helping with simple garden chores such as weeding, spreading mulch and harvesting. Older children love to have their own special garden to look after. This could be as small as several containers on the deck or as big as your whole yard, depending on their (and your) time, willingness and patience. To start out, you might give them a section of your garden to plant and look after.

First, be sure to teach your budding gardener the value of improving the soil with organic material before they begin planting. Explain how organic material improves the texture of the soil and adds some food for the plants as well.

Since improving the soil will make them more successful, they’ll be willing to garden again next spring. There are special kid-friendly tools available, just right for small hands to manipulate and since children love getting dirty, you’ll not be short of volunteers when the digging begins!

Next, help your child select a combination of plants that will make their garden interesting and exciting throughout the year. You can do this by considering all five senses:

  • Sight
    Many colorful blooming plants as well as plants with unusual flowers, oddly-shaped leaves or crazy seeds will appeal to a child’s imagination. Consider smiling pansy faces and nodding columbines in the spring and snapdragons to snap and silver coins from the money plant (Lunaria biennis) in summer. In the fall, blue balloon flowers (Platycodon grandiflora) and the bright orange seed cases of Chinese lantern (Physalis franchettii) are fun options.
  • Touch
    Stroke the silky-soft, silver leaves of lamb’s ears (Stachys byzantina) – now you’ll know how it got its name. Or, feel the papery flowers of thrift (Armeria maritima) or strawflowers, the ferny foliage of yarrow or the succulent foliage of sedum. Even thorny plants such as raspberries or roses can engage a child’s sense of touch – carefully of course!
  • Taste
    Growing vegetables is always fun and rewarding for children. If you have the space, it’s always exciting to grow pumpkins for Halloween or weird and wonderful gourds. Other easy to grow vegetables include radishes, carrots, peas, lettuce and cherry tomatoes. And don’t forget fruits like strawberries, rhubarb and watermelon. At harvest time let your child host a ‘salad party’ to share their bounty with family and friends.
  • Smell
    There are many scented flowers to choose from, including perennial peonies and lilies, as well as annual sweet alyssum and heliotrope. Let kids select herbs with fragrant foliage too. Mint is always popular but be sure to allow room for it to spread. Choose varieties with interesting names like chocolate, apple or grapefruit to capture a young gardener’s imagination. Use the pineapple-flavored leaves of pineapple sage in iced tea and watch the hummingbirds gather around this herb’s bright red flowers!
  • Sound
    The whirring of hummingbird wings, the song of a bird, the rustling of foliage or flowers in a breeze – these are all sounds that you and your child can share in a garden. Take time out from your gardening chores every now and then to listen.

So, bring in your child and let us help you get started on that most special garden of all, a child’s garden.

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Father And Son Planting Seedling In Ground On Allotment

Spring feeling

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Garden Accents

Landscape accents have become increasingly popular as many of us have discovered the joys of outdoor living. Used creatively, accents can turn your garden into a magical wonderland. This summer, we invite you to view our many new and exciting garden accent product lines, including popular items such as…

  • Gazing Globes and Stands
    Old-fashioned Victorian gazing globes have made a comeback and we carry them in an assortment of colors and sizes. In addition, numerous gazing globe stands, in both metal and resin, are available.
  • Bird Baths
    A wide assortment of bird baths are available in a variety of materials: concrete, cast aluminum and terra cotta. Place your bird bath in a location where you can kick back, relax and quietly observe the bathers.
  • Statuary
    Set against a simple green background or placed on a garden pedestal amongst the flower, statues become a striking accent in the garden. Stop by and enjoy our wide variety of statuary with many different themes in durable resin and cast stone.
  • Garden Furniture
    Just the sight of our line of garden benches will tempt you to sit down and rest a spell. Choose from several styles of benches made of cast iron, eucalyptus wood, concrete and bamboo to add a sweet seat to your garden.
  • Trellises and Arbors
    Traditionally, trellises and arbors have primarily been used for their functional purpose, support. Today, no garden is complete without one of these structures. They may be used for their designed intention or simply as an ornamental accent, pathway definition or focal point. We carry pvc, wood, powder-coated metal and forged iron trellises and arbors.
  • Pots and Planting Containers
    We have a wide variety of planting containers available, including…

    • Hanging Baskets – Choose from willow, moss, metal, plastic and ceramic.
    • Pots – We have pots from Italy, Malaysia, China and more. Choose from our selection of clay, plastic, cement, tin, zinc, lightweight insulated and self-watering pots.
    • Planters– Choose from lined hayracks, cradle planters and cauldrons. We also carry plastic railing/fence/deck planters and plastic or glazed ceramic wall planters.
    • Window Boxes – Available in cedar, pvc, plastic, metal and light weight insulated material with different sizes for different windows.
    • Wind Chimes
      The soothing and melodious sound of a wind chime is sure to enhance your outdoor experience. Indulge with wind chimes in aluminum, pewter or bamboo.
    • Lighting
      Lanterns and torches are a gentle way to light areas for entertainment in the garden. Candles add a serene ambiance that is unmatched by any artificial light. Lanterns, torches and candles are captivating as their flame flickers in the evening breeze.
    • Garden Novelties
      Add a little whimsy to your garden with the addition of garden novelties. Choose from garden pixies, toadstools, Victorian water bells, wall plaques, glass bee catchers and much more. Stop by and see our great selection.

No matter what your garden size, style or theme, we have the accents to give it a personal, fun touch all your own!

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Hanging flower baskets

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Fabulous Hydrangeas for Show-Stopping Summer Color

Hydrangeas and are widely acclaimed for their large, showy blossoms that lend fabulous color to gardens from mid- to late summer. Their luxuriant dark green foliage offers a striking background to their large round or smooth blossoms. All hydrangeas are deciduous, and it’s a sure sign of spring when their tender green leaves begin to appear. Hydrangeas are spectacular when grown as single specimens and are equally fabulous when planted in mixed shrub borders. Some of our favorites…

  • Climbing Hydrangea – An excellent deciduous vine with glossy leaves and cinnamon colored exfoliating stems. White flowers bloom in early July. Easily climbs on masonry, reaching 10-20’ tall.
  • Oakleaf Hydrangea – An upright, irregular shrub that grows 4-6’ tall. Large leaves have excellent fall color. Creamy white flowers in July. Tolerates shade well.
  • Bigleaf (macrophylla) Hydrangea – Blue or pink flower clusters (5-10” across) appear in August. Flower color depends on the pH of the soil. Acid soils produce blue flowers, whereas alkaline soils produce pink blossoms. In garden settings, their colors can be changed by adding either sulfur or lime, depending on the color you want to achieve. Blossoms are produced on last year’s growth, so prune just after blooming.
  • Pee Gee Hydrangea – A small, low-branched tree that grows 10-15’ and arches under the weight of large flower clusters. White flowers bloom in July, turning pink and then brown with the first frost, holding on through winter. Flowers appear on previous year’s growth, so prune right after flowers start to turn pink.

Mopheads and Lacecaps – Which is Which?

Before you get the urge to dash out and buy the first hydrangeas that catch your eye, it’s wise to learn the difference between “mopheads” and “lacecaps.” As peculiar as these names sound, they truly are the names designated to two cultivar groups of macrophylla hydrangeas, and understanding the difference between them can help you choose the flowers you prefer.

  • Mopheads
    Garden hydrangeas, also known as ‘mopheads,’ feature large round flowerheads resembling pom-poms and bloom from mid- to late summer. Mopheads bloom in solid masses, their clusters often so heavy that they cause their stems to droop and bend with elegant arches.
  • Lacecaps
    Lacecap hydrangeas bear flat round flowerheads with centers of fertile flowers surrounded by outer rings of sterile flowers. The fascinating flowerheads of lacecap hydrangeas are also somewhat reminiscent of pinwheels.

You will be delighted with the versatility of these lovely shrubs, so relax and enjoy their beauty!

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Climbing hydrangea vine.

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Adding Nighttime Garden Accessories & Accents

You can enjoy much more than plants in your garden every evening and into the night, and in fact the right accessories can beautifully enhance your garden even as twilight falls. Consider these stunning accessories and accents to turn your daytime garden into a nighttime paradise.

Wind Chimes

Let gentle evening summer breezes play soothing sounds in your garden or patio. Choose from Bamboo styles or traditional wind chimes, and try different sizes and styles to find the tinkling tones you like best. Avoid using too many wind chimes, however, as different styles can have contrasting tones that may clash with one another rather than create a soothing melody.

Candleholders, Lanterns & Torches

Light up the night with lovely candleholders, lanterns and decorative torches to keep your summer evenings long and bright. Place appropriate lighting along pathways, deck edges and stairs to safely illuminate gathering areas, or use spotlights to create dramatically uplit trees and shrubs. For a whimsical touch, try kitschy strings of themed lights for a fun accent, or add elegance with multiple lanterns suspended from a large tree.

Tabletop Fountains

Erase your daily pressures by bringing the soothing, relaxing sounds of water to your patio or deck. A handcrafted tabletop fountain will add a soft, natural sound in harmony with your evening of relaxation. Consider fountains that may double as bird baths or centerpieces to do double duty during the daytime as well.

Tinkling Toadstools

Add enchantment to your garden with magical Tinkling Toadstools. When placed in groups, colorful glazed caps create a tinkling sound when the wind blows. Position them under a shrub or in a large, rustic container to add a fairy garden ambiance to your evening landscape, and be sure there is subtle light nearby to highlight their color and beauty.

 Ponds or Other Water Features

When the moonlight, candles and twinkle lights reflect on the water’s surface, there is an added glow and iridescence to the garden. Running water from a re-circulating pump powering a small spray fountain or waterfall provides a relaxing background sounds to the summer evening. Accent your water feature with floating lights, stunning water lilies or other creative options.

Egglites

Add nighttime beauty to ponds, fountains, statuary, landscaping and more with Cal Pump’s Egglite. These assorted colored, 10-watt lights are compact spot lights that can be used in or out of the water and are suitable for fresh, salt or chlorinated water. Position them unobtrusively and select colors that can magically enhance your nighttime landscaping.

With the right evening accents, you don’t have to stop enjoying your garden when the sun sets – just as temperatures cool off, the beauty of your garden can be heating up.

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Lyme Disease

For those of us who work and play outdoors in deer tick-infested areas, Lyme disease is a reality. If caught early, the disease is usually cured with antibiotics. If not detected and treated early, Lyme disease can be a debilitating condition that may linger for months or years.

Lyme disease is transmitted through the bite of a deer tick. The tick becomes infected with the disease by biting an animal that is carrying the bacteria. The main culprits in our area are the white-tailed deer and white-footed mouse. Not every deer tick is a carrier of Lyme disease but it is wise to always take precautions to prevent potential infections.

Protect yourself and your family by:

  • Wearing light-colored clothes to help spot and identify deer ticks before they attach to spread the infection.
  • Wearing long sleeves and pants to minimize exposed skin that can attract deer ticks. Tuck your pants into your boots or socks. Include a hat for added protection.
  • Spraying exposed skin with a product that contains at least 20 percent DEET and spraying clothing, and all other cloth gear, with a product containing Permethrin. Always follow the product label when applying repellents.
  • Removing clothing and immediately laundering it when coming back indoors. Dry clothing at a high temperature for at least 30 minutes, since ticks are sensitive to dryness and will die quickly without appropriate moisture.
  • Showering immediately and thoroughly after being in a tick-prone area. Inspect all skin surfaces, especially hard-to-see areas like behind the knees, the back of the neck and in arm pits. Ticks that carry Lyme disease are very small and therefore hard to see. Ticks must be attached for at least 18 hours in order to transmit Lyme disease.
  • Protecting pets from ticks with appropriate collars, drops, powders or dips, and inspecting pets’ fur regularly for ticks or other pests.

Protect your yard by:

  • Mowing the grass regularly. Ticks thrive in longer grasses with moist soils, but are not as abundant in groomed areas.
  • Keeping leaves raked and keeping the yard free of refuse that can create moist patches in the soil where ticks will thrive.
  • Creating a protective barrier, at least 3-4 feet wide of mulch or stone, between yard and wooded area. Ticks are not easily able to cross these open areas.
  • Stacking wood neatly in a dry area where it is less likely to harbor a tick infestation.
  • Spraying your yard with a tick control product like bifenthin. Always follow the product label when applying pesticides.
  • Taking steps to discourage deer and mice in your yard, such as choosing deer-resistant plants and using traps responsibly to eliminate rodents.

By taking appropriate precautions to protect you, your family and your yard, you can minimize any risk of contracting Lyme disease.

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Eliminate Water Garden Algae

During the summer months you can eliminate algae easily, effectively, naturally and attractively with the simple addition of appropriate pond plants to your water garden. Three factors contribute to excess algae growth: sunlight, nutrients and low oxygen. While it may be impossible to eliminate every speck of algae – it is still part of your aquatic ecosystem, after all – when you work to control those factors, you also control and minimize algae without adversely affecting your water garden.

Limit Sunlight

Algae needs abundant sunlight to reproduce, and sunlight also raises the water temperature which helps algae grow even more quickly. In shady, cooler ponds and water gardens, however, much less algae is able to grow. You can easily reduce the amount of sunlight reaching the water surface in your garden by 40-60 percent by adding floaters that will cover the surface and provide shade. Top water garden floaters include water hyacinths and water lettuce, both of which successfully reduce excessive algae growth. For the best results, cover 50 percent or more of the water’s surface area with floating plants.

Reduce Nutrients

Because algae can grow so rapidly, it requires abundant nutrients to reproduce. If you remove those nutrients, there will be less nourishment available to sustain algae growth. Submerged plants, such as water lilies and lotus, compete with algae for limited available nutrients, essentially starving the algae to death, while at the same time adding their own beauty to your backyard pond or water garden. If fish are part of your container garden or pond, be sure you are not overfeeding them, since excess, uneaten food quickly decays into vital nutrients algae can use as well. Similarly, prune and clean out any decaying plant foliage so it does not become the nutrients algae needs.

Increase Oxygen

Algae thrives in stagnant water, and abundant oxygen is toxic to these simple growths. Oxygenating plants like milfoil and hornwort should be included in your plant choices to increase the oxygen in your water garden and make it less suitable for algae. More oxygen will also be healthier for any fish, frogs or toads that might call your water garden home, and many other water garden plants will also thrive with better oxygen in the water.

Stop in and see our extensive collection of water garden plants and supplies. Our well-informed staff will assist you in making the best choices for your water garden to help reduce algae growth and keep your water garden or pond clear and sparkling.

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Less Pain, More Gain: Ergonomics in the Garden

Merriam-Webster defines ergonomics as: An applied science concerned with designing and arranging things people use so that the people and things interact most efficiently and safely. Experts in ergonomics strive to design and produce items that better match the capabilities, limitations and needs of the people who use them. The result is a safer product that causes less fatigue and stress on the body, while still allowing you to perform the same functions as with regular tools or items.

How Gardening Can Hurt Your Body

Repetitive gardening activities can put you at risk for carpal tunnel syndrome and tendonitis, and can exacerbate other conditions such as arthritis, sciatica and other aches and pains. Poor movement or sudden strains can pull muscles or pinch nerves, which can lead to days or weeks of recovery, doctor appointments, tests, medications and other treatments. Even worse movements could lead to more severe injuries, falls or sprains which could cause you to miss out on a gardening season altogether. Listen to your body – if a movement hurts, change what you are doing and the tools you are using.

Ergonomic Garden Tools

Before purchasing the tools required to perform your garden chores it is best to choose those that fit the job – weeding, pruning, digging, trimming, harvesting, raking, etc. It is equally important, however, that the tools fit you as well – your size, your grip, your posture and your preferences.

Ergonomic tools will help you accomplish different garden tasks with greater efficiency and reduced effort, force, bending, leaning or twisting. With the correct tools you will be able to dig, trim and cut more, in less time, with less effort and more gardening enjoyment. Some ergonomic tools may look no different than the familiar tools you’ve been using for years, but they may be made of different materials to be lighter or stronger. There may be angle or length changes in handles to allow for easier use, or handles may be cushioned to provide firmer grips without causing pain or fatigue. Some tools, such as portable stools or combined tools that include buckets as well as a seat or kneeling pad, help make gardening chores more accessible and comfortable as well.

Ask one of our employees for their assistance in making your garden equipment choices. We carry a wide selection of ergonomic garden tools and are happy to help you choose the right device, size and style for you to accomplish your gardening chores safely and pain free.

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Summer Watering Tips

As the days heat up, watering can become a dreaded garden chore and too many gardeners use wasteful techniques that use plenty of water but don’t give their plants the moisture they really need. Make watering plants easier and more efficient with the proper practices and tools…

  • Mulches not only make plantings look more attractive, but their most important functions are to help retain soil moisture and minimize weeds, which would also usurp moisture from your plants. Mulch around plants to a depth of 2-4 inches, refreshing mulch as needed to maintain that depth and attractiveness.
  • Watering cans and small containers work great for spot watering plants with different watering needs by hand. You don’t always need to get out a hose or sprinkler to get the watering done.
  • Check to make sure that you have the proper length hose(s) to reach every corner of your garden. Take into account any obstacles in the way, and be sure you aren’t dragging the hose over any delicate plantings to reach more distant dry spots.
  • Add a water wand to the hose to get the water where it’s most needed – the base of the plants – without needing to bend over repeatedly, which can cause back strain.
  • The best time to water is during the early morning hours of a sunny day. This will allow plants to absorb more water before it evaporates when temperatures rise, but won’t leave water to sit on plants overnight when mold can develop.
  • Always water plants and container gardens thoroughly and deeply to encourage deeper, more drought-tolerant root systems. It is better to water less frequently but more deeply rather than more often but with less water.
  • In the landscape, a good rule of thumb is to provide an inch of water per week minimum. Keep track of precipitation with a rain gauge to avoid wasting water by overwatering when Mother Nature does the job.
  • New individual plants that are set out, direct sown seed beds, sodding, etc. often require daily care, including watering, until established. Check moisture levels carefully during this period so the plants are well cared for.
  • Use soaker hoses to provide slow drip watering. This allows plants to absorb water easily without wasting water by evaporating from foliage or spraying into the air. Soaker hoses can even be layered beneath mulch to preserve as much moisture as possible.
  • Pay extra attention to plants in containers and hanging baskets as they tend to dry out faster and with greater frequency. These plantings will likely need to be watered daily or even multiple times a day during heat waves.
  • Place Tree Gators, a drip irrigation bag, on newly planted trees for slow, steady watering that will soak down to the root system without draining away along the surface of the soil.

If you’ll be away on an extended vacation, or even just for a few days, make arrangements with a trusted friend or neighbor to “plant sit” while you are gone. There’s nothing worse than worrying about your garden while you’re away – except coming home to crisp plants that haven’t been watered properly!

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Simple Water Features for Small Spaces

A simple water feature can make a large impact even in small spaces. The addition of a container water garden will transform, beautify and diversify your existing garden into an oasis that brings relief during the dog days of summer and beyond. Sit back, relax and enjoy the melodious sound of dancing water from your garden pond, and it will provide soothing, background music to your summer retreat. Bring wildlife into the garden by incorporating fish, frogs and snails into your mini aquascape. A simple water feature may be placed in the garden, on a deck, patio or porch or even added to a rooftop garden for a tremendous impact in a tiny space.

Choosing a Container

Container water gardens can be created from practically anything that has the capability of holding water or supporting a liner. Ceramic sinks or tubs, half-barrels, buckets, pottery or planters and troughs can all be used to create beautiful ponds. Remember, these features will look their best when the shape and materials are similar in style to that of your home and surrounding gardens.

Lining Your Container

If you have chosen a whiskey barrel or other similar wood container, follow these simple instructions to incorporate a liner to waterproof the container.

  1. Center your flexible liner over the whiskey barrel or other container. Push down in the center so excess material is evenly spaced over the outside lip. Begin folding the liner over itself at 4 to 6 inch increments, working your way around the container and minimizing any bulges. Fasten each fold with a half inch staple placed about a half inch from the top of the container.
  2. Trim the liner so it is even with the lip of the barrel or container.
  3. Fill your container with water, and then arrange your aquatic plants and pump/filter system.

Rigid pond liners are also available to insert into half whiskey barrels for ease of waterproofing these containers, but double check sizes to be sure you choose the right fit.

With such a wide assortment available, pots and planters make great garden ponds when properly prepared.

  1. Plug the drainage hole with a small piece of pond liner spread with caulk.
  2. Seal any minor cracks with caulk.
  3. Paint the inside of the container with a water garden sealant.

Properly lined, your container will hold water easily without slow leaks that can traumatize plants and destroy your water garden.

Picking Plants

The use of aquatic plants will help you avoid the need for algaecides by reducing pond algae in two ways. First, aquatic plants remove excess phosphorus and nitrogen from the water. Second, plants shade the water from sunlight, thereby inhibiting algae growth. For a healthy balance, cover half of your pond surface with floating plants for shading. Submerged plants should be planted at a rate of one bunch, 6-10 plants, for every 5 square feet of surface area. Marginal or bog plants will complete the ecological balancing act.

  • Floaters: Water Lettuce (Pistia stratiotes), Water Hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes), Frogbit (Hydrocharis morsus-ranae) and Miniature Water Lilies (Nymphae spp.). These plants provide habitat and will shade the pond water surface to reduce the production of algae.
  • Submerged Oxygenators: Anacharis (Elodea Canadensis), Water Buttercup (Ranunculus aquatilis) and Fanwort (Cambomba caroliniana) are great choices that help maintain water clarity by consuming excess nutrients that contribute to the production of algae. These plants can reproduce rapidly, but they are easily controlled in the small pond by simply removing surplus growth.
  • Marginal Plants: Sweet Flag (Acorus spp.), Dwarf Cattail (Typha minima), Dwarf Papyrus (Cyperus profiler), Iris (Iris pseudacorus) and Camelion plant (Houttuynia cordata). Placed at a pond’s edge, these marginal aquatic plants add color, height and variation to the water garden. They also provide cover, habitat and oxygen.

Be careful not overwhelm your container water garden with too many plants or it will be difficult to maintain a natural balance.

Fish and Other Pond Life

Different types of wildlife will love to be a part of even a small water garden.

  • Fish: Fish create additional interest to a water garden by adding sparkle and movement. Good choices for a small water garden are: Goldfish, Red Comets, Calico Fantails and Shubunkins. Do not overstock your water feature. As a rule of thumb, each inch of fish should have 6 square inches to one square foot of water.
  • Snails: Slow and steady, snails can help keep your water garden clean and healthy. Japanese Trapdoor Snails eat algae stuck to the sides of the pond and will consume excess fish food.
  • Tadpoles and Frogs: Tadpoles will morph into amusing frogs. Tadpoles eat algae and add motion and interest to the pond, especially for children. Frogs will lend sound to the garden and aid in insect control.

Water Garden Container Care

Several common problems can occur even in small water gardens, but they are easily controlled and you can keep your water garden looking beautiful.

  • Algae: Despite all your planning, it is perfectly natural for your pond to turn green at first. Once the plants get to work, the green will fade. If you find that you require a little extra help in algae control, try Microbe-Lift or Barley Straw pellets, both are natural algae controls. Adding an extra snail or other algae-eater to the pond can also help control the color naturally.
  • Mosquitoes: Mosquitoes may be managed in several ways. Adding water movement to the pond with a pump and small fountain will keep the insects from breeding or settling on the water. Adding BT (Bacillus thuringiensis) to the water in the form of Mosquito Dunks will also discourage the insects. Incorporate small fish into your pond garden, they eat mosquito larvae. Other mosquito predators include: dragonflies, bats, tadpoles and frogs, all of which can be a part of your backyard ecosystem.

Maintenance

Check the pond weekly. You need to be observant to animal activity and any abnormal growths or marks. Inspect plants and fish for health, insects or disease. Clean up any dead or yellowing foliage. Replace evaporated water as necessary. If your water contains chlorine or other chemicals, be sure they are removed before adding this water to your pond. Chlorine is toxic to fish and beneficial bacteria. Chlorine will dissipate after a few days if it is exposed to air, but do not add fish or plants until after this is accomplished.

With just a little thoughtful planning, the right plants and proper care, you can have a small water garden to brighten up a small space in your yard.

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