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We use plants in any garden design, so the plants are important also in the water garden design. Plants with lush foliage and flowers enhance the pool and link it with the rest of the garden. Plants are vital to maintain clear water in the pool and to oxygenate the water if the pool contains fish. Plants should be introduced into the pool during their growing season and planted in containers (lined baskets, plastic tubs, dishpans, clay pots) to prevent them from spreading and overcrowding. Fish can be introduced into the pool 2-3 weeks after planting the plants, but it is best to wait about 4-5 weeks in order to give enough time for the plants to get established.

There are specific type of plants that are suitable for a water garden design. They range from plants that thrive in deep water to plants that require moist soil only around their root tips. There are six main categories of plants that are used in a water garden design: oxygenators, deep-water plants, surface floaters, marginals, bog plants and moisture-loving plants. A properly planted mix of all of those types of plants will ensures a thriving and self-sustaining system.

Water Garden Plants

Oxygenators are submerged, fast-growing plants that help to clean and oxygenate the water. They are essential if you want to keep fish in your pool because in a sunny weather, submerged algae may turn a new pool completely green in a week or two after installation and suffocate the fish. Oxygenating plants will compete for the dissolved mineral salts on which algae thrive, starving the algae this way and clearing the water.

Deep-water plants are the type of plants that flourish in a depth range of 30-90 cm. Apart from their ornamental value, those plants are also helping to reduce the algae from the pool with their floating leaves that cut down the amount of light that reach the water. The largest group of this type of plants are the well-known water lilies.

Surface floaters are plants that float over water. They play the same role in a pool life like the deep-water plants, but is vital not to let them cover too much of the water surface because this will make the oxygenating plants suffer if there is not enough light.

Marginals are plants that grow in shallow water, 7-15 cm deep and are usually very attractive plants. In a wildlife pond they will provide cover for wildfowl and small creatures that come to visit your pond. There are some species from this category that also help to oxygenate the water.

Bog plants are plants that enjoy living in waterlogged soil and can withstand occasional flooding. Plants that grow in moist or wet soil but don’t tolerate waterlogged soils are not suitable for this type of planting.

Moisture-loving plants thrive in soils that contain extra moisture but are not waterlogged. There are many herbaceous perennials that will suit this type of planting. They all associate well with marginals plants that are growing around an informal pond where the growing conditions are ideal.

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Create a Bog Garden

A bog garden contains permanently moist soil and allows you to grow plants that are well-adapted to such conditions. Bog gardens associate well with water features, helping to integrate them into the wider garden. They can also make an attractively lush feature in their own right. Mid spring is an ideal time to make a new bog garden.

Using flexible liner when you create your garden pond is easier to extend the excavation to create a depression of 45 cm deep for an adjacent bog garden. Buy a piece of liner that is large enough to cover both areas and lay it on a bad of sand. The piece of liner that is covering the bog garden needs to be perforated with few holes and lined with a layer of gravel of 5 cm deep to provide a good drainage.

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