Friday, September 18, 2009
Thank heaven for little ponds
In many ways, a pond, no matter how small, escapes the peaks and valleys of the usual WNY garden season. It always looks pretty fresh, providing you can keep the leaves out of it. The plants thrive throughout the summer, especially my favorite, papyrus, which is still sending out new stalks. This year I’m trying pickerel for the first time, and really liking it, while, as I’ve posted, my water lily has finally bloomed. Water hyacinths are nice surface plants, but multiply just a bit too rapidly and can clog things up—they’re not great for a small water feature like mine.
This is obvious, but it must be stated because it is the most astounding benefit of water gardening: you do not need to water. Something slightly less obvious: water plants can be fertilized. There are sticks made especially for them or you can use Jobes, pushed well in.
There are so many ways in which a water feature repays whatever effort and cash it cost. The sound provides a backdrop at all times, making your garden seem more idyllic than it is. You don’t have to have fish, but they’re fun. However, they do insert an element of trauma, if your pond is not deep enough for them to stay in it all year. I’ve finally found a winter home for my goldfish—cheap as they were, they’ve fattened up nicely, and I’d hate to just let them freeze. Or any of the sordid alternatives.
We’ll close the pond when it gets too cold to enjoy it; the non-hardy plants will be saved over (though without much success, I fear) and the hardy ones will winter over in the bottom. As for the fish, fingers crossed, my friend’s 20 gallon tank will provide a safe harbor.