Not all gardens need dirt. Water-only gardens appeal due to ease of care and general affordability.
Better Homes & Gardens offered instructions on a “pond in a pot,” or tabletop container garden, doable in 30 minutes or less and requiring minor maintenance. Select these two elements:
• A wide, shallow container, such as a bowl, copper pot, glass dish, or some sort of reclaimed or antique find.
• Floater plants at a local nursery; some suggestions include water lettuce, azolla, duckweed, water hyacinth and frog bit.
Then fill the container with water and change the water whenever it becomes murky, usually once or twice a week; fertilize with a liquid fertilizer each time the water is changed or per the product’s instructions.
For a larger water-feature garden, davesgardens.com in January 2018 offered a primer with plenty of DIY tips, such as:
• Check local ordinances and homeowners’ association rules before installing.
• Consider the size — wine barrels cut in half work well; if in-ground, find a space in an area without overhanging trees.
• For larger containers or in-ground gardens, choose zone-appropriate larger plants, such as water lilies, Lotus plants, water poppy and fairy moss, as well as some fish such as koi, goldfish and mosquito fish. The number of plants and fish will depend on size of garden; a nursery can provide guidance about how much to purchase.
For DIY in-ground water gardens, gardeningknowhow.com indicated that three main steps are:
1. Line out the space and dig to the desired depth.
2. Line the space with thick plastic and use rocks at the edges to hold down the plastic and disguise the edges; or, purchase a pre-formed liner.
3. Install a pump and hose system. Fill the water garden with water and then plants. “Fish installation should wait until the water garden has naturalized.”