NEIGHBORHOOD GARDEN FOR MAY 31, 2008
SMALL WATER GARDEN
BY GLADYS JEURINK
can have a small water garden in any container that holds water.
Not every water garden needs a LOTUS
or a WATER LILY but if you
have a large enough container you can even have those. Over the years I
have acquired various ones. My
two smallest ones look like the old cast iron kettles the pioneers
carried in their covered wagons. They
are black and sit on three legs so can be put anywhere you like,
preferably in the sun. In the last year some of the garden centers have
an even bigger “kettle”.
This week I
moved my UMBRELLA PLANT (Cyperus
species) into its summer home after spending the winter in the
garage. There are a number of different Cyperus
sizes you can get at the garden centers. This one is large enough to
almost fill its container so there is not a lot of extra water.
It was in a WATER LILY
pot so I just pulled it out and moved it. It is about 3 feet high with
long narrow leaves forming an umbrella at the top.
The UMBRELLA will
grow, and this fall I will have to use a big knife or saw to cut a piece
off to put back in the garage. It
is put in large ponds on the shelf around the edges with the crown not
more than 4 inches under water.
They need fertilizer
but you need to get special water pellets and push them down close to
the roots. When it warms up I will put WATER
LETTUCE (Pistia stratiotes)
around the edges. You can not use water lettuce down South as it is very invasive in warm
water just like WATER HYACINTH.
So when it fills the “kettle” I can just throw a few in the compost
I have 6 colors
of HARDY WATER LILIES that
fill my two small ponds so any other plants have to live elsewhere.
This means the WATER LOTUS.
One will more than fill a container as large as a whiskey barrel. They
will send up small leaves at first, then very large, very tall ones
above the water line. The
blooms themselves may get to be five foot tall and last three days-a
large waxy creation. I have a white one and a red one that both leave a
large flat seed pod with holes containing seeds that is almost as
interesting as the blooms. Flower
arrangers love to have these seed pods.
One nice thing
about container water gardens is that one can grow bog plants by leaving
your plants in their pots and putting bricks or other pots filled with
rocks under the bog plant pots to adjust the depth of the water. Some
plants only need to keep their feet wet.
One of these is the RED LOBELIA (Lobelia fulgens)
with dark leaves and brilliant red flowers about 30 inches high or Lobelia
cardinalis with dark green leaves.
At its feet Juncus
effuses spiralis is not an especially pretty plant but a
“weirdo” to liven things up. Corkscrew RUSH will
stretch out with its curly foliage to soften the edges.
It needs to have its crown just above the water line.
I have one planted in the ground that has survived several years
while the one from the water lived in the garage all winter.
(Pontedaria cordata) has a
spike of blue flowers that blooms off and on all summer.
They should not be under more than 6 inches of water. In the fall
I drop pot and all into the bottom of my 2 foot pond as its roots must
not freeze. It gets 18-24
inches high in a clump of spear shaped leaves and the stem is spongy so
I keep small rocks in the pot to keep it from floating.
(Typha species) is a fun
plant. You can get minis or
talls. People who have them
in their farm ponds or ditches are sometimes not to fond of them as they
are quite invasive if given room. You
can keep them under control by putting them in a large pot.
The brown “tails” are fun to have as a background. I hear
they are edible but I have never tried.
Pioneers dipped them in oil after drying and used them as
minima is the dwarf form only about 2 feet tall.
I like them in a pond with WATER
HYACINTHS (Eichhornia crassipes)
which will crowd the container very fast.
After the WATER HYACINTH
gets crowded, they usually decide to bloom with upright blue flowers.
They are not allowed down South as they reproduce rapidly and crowd the
water ways. In our zone 5 they can not stand the freezing so are treated
as an annual.
Each year you
can find at the Garden Centers and pond stores any number of water or
bog plants to try such as HORSETAILS, WATER IRIS, SWEET
FLAG, MARSH MARIGOLDS, WATER CANNA,
DUCK WEED, PARROT FEATHER, and even LIZARD’S
TAIL. And you can use
most anything for a pond or container bog garden. I have a friend who
has a water garden in an old, legged bath tub.
BY GEORGE EDGAR
This reminder is for
you if you used Scotts Halts, or one of the store brand Crabgrass
pre-emergent products from Westlake Hardware, Minards, Home Depot,
Wal-Mart, Ace Hardware, etc. These products contain either “PENDIMETHALIN”, or
as the active ingredient. They have a residual of only about 60 days so
you will need a second application sometime during the first two weeks
of June to have season long control of FOXTAIL,
SPURGE, and late germinating CRABGRASS.
These weeds are going to start germinating in a couple weeks. Be
sure and water in with at least ˝ inch of water. You can get Crabgrass
pre-emergent with or without fertilizer. Remember, the more you
fertilize, the more you have to mow, and the more you have to water. I
recommend no more fertilizer until Labor Day.