Saturday, April 30, 2011

Water Plants

Yellow Flag Iris pseudacorus
This week we opened the fishpond. It was still covered with the protective net, the water was very murky, the plants were in a crate at the bottom, and the waterfall was not hooked up. We were late starting-up the pond for the spring, due to the crazy weather, especially heavy rainfall. The best time to do this task is between St. Patrick's Day and Easter, and with a late Easter, we were really behind schedule. The same garden-center pond-experts who helped us prepare the pond for winter (read Winterizing the Fish Pond ) took the steps required for springtime start-up: They pumped out a third of the bad water, replaced it with fresh water, and added liquid bacteria and salt. They hooked up the pump and filter and started up the waterfall. They used the 'bubbler' (that oxygenated the pond during the winter) for a fountain at the edge of the pond, with the 'boy holding a goose'. I was very happy with the result:

For me, the best part was adding some new water plants. I chose just half-a-dozen perennials to start with, and we will add water lilies and water hyacinth after the last frost date.
Here is a list of my new aquatic plants:
Iris (see lead picture above
The iris grows from 18 inches to 2 feet tall. It is a prolific bloomer from early spring to midsummer.

Varigated Pennnywort Hydrocotyle sibthorpiodes
Pennywort grows 4 to 6, inches, forming flat lily-like leaves. It is a surface creeper.

Parrots Feather Myriophyllum aquaticum
Parrots Feather is a floating aquatic oxygenating pond plant. Each plant will cover 3 to 4 feet of the surface.

Floating Heart Nymphoides pelta
Yellow floating heart is a perennial, waterlily-like plant that carpets the water surface with long-stalked heart-shaped leaves.

Annacharis Elodea canadensis
Annacharis is an oxygenator plant that competes with algae. It acts as a filter in the pond. It was tied to a rock and placed in the bottom of the pond.

Blue Sedge Carex glaucescens
Blue sedge is a typical sedge plant with triangular blades that have a blue tint. It grows 12 to 18 inches high.
Chi-chi Ruellia
Chi-chi has a trumpet-like flower and prolific blooms from late spring to summer. It is multi-stemmed and grows 18 inches high.

Variegated Sweet Flag Acorus calamus
Sweet flag is a grass-like plant that grows 12 to 16 inches high. It has a sweet odor when cut.

Of the small number of plants that we over-wintered in the crate at the bottom of the bond, only the two blue sedges seem to have survived. When they were pulled up, we were fascinated to see that they had been used by toads to anchor their eggs. This shows the importance of aquatic plants -- not only do they oxygenate, provide food and protection for the fish, but are used to anchor eggs.

Strings of toads' eggs attached to a blue sedge water plant.
We saw and heard numerous frogs and toads in the pond all week. It seems we will get many more, as there are lots of eggs. It is easy to tell toads' eggs from frogs' eggs. Toads' eggs look like long strings of black beads, held together with clear jelly. I look forward to seeing the tadpoles. I hope the toads eat the slugs in my vegetable garden! Incidentally, the koi fish are becoming a little more active, but they still hide for most of the day.

My thanks to Ryan and Rocco for their hard work with the pond ...

... and a special thanks to Ryan for giving me the descriptions of the water plants.

Spring has sprung in several parts of my garden. The blue of the grape hyacinths in the shade garden is stunning! Many of the daffodils are past their peak, but this morning I photographed one of the double daffodils - gorgeous! I planted pansies and Johnny-jump-ups in the window boxes. A vary large rabbit visits often and I need to spray a deterrent, but we are still having frequent rain showers. I was delighted to see the humming birds on the feeders. I put the feeders out on Monday and the first hummer was there on Tuesday. You can see these spring joys in the collage below.

In addition, the catbirds are back. I saw one on Monday collecting hair from my mini horse to line its nest. And H.H. saw a bat last night flying around the pond -- searching for insects.

How I love the spring! I have started my early-morning routine of walking through my gardens, coffee cup in hand, looking for newly arrived blooms and shoots, and planning the days work out there. This morning, I startled some deer in the lower field.

Look closely; there are two deer in the picture.
It was a week of good events and bad. The devastation caused by the tornadoes in Alabama and across the south is unimaginable. I am relieved that Chris, The Redneck Rosarian, is safe. We pray for those who have lost loved ones and homes.

The good news was the royal wedding. I got up at 4:45 am and I loved every minute of it! I think the best review is by Crystal Coast Gardener. Kyna is so very witty. Do read her post about William and Kate.

Have a safe and happy week, dear gardening friends!
Pamela x

~~ I love reading your comments. I hope you leave one so I’ll know you visited!
I look forward to visiting your blog in return.


  1. Pam, your pond is looking great. The men did a wonderful job building it. I was taking photos of the pond at the farm yesterday. The koi were hiding under the blooming weeping cherry. It was a gorgeous image. It will be so fun for you to design the planting. I always take for granted the water plants. I will have to pay more attention to them seeing your interesting photo of the toad eggs.

  2. What a lot of work you have done to make this pond a beautiful and serene place! Absolutely delightful!

  3. Pam, you have my dream garden, it's such a delight to visit your blog. I too, love ponds, frogs, and toads and hope to have one like yours in the future.

    The photos are exciting! and I learn something about the pond, it's plants and wildlife every time I visit.

    Thanks for sharing and informing us on the events that come about in your lovely pond and garden it is very entertaining.

  4. My wife and I enjoyed reading this post. She wants me to start digging right away... She loves ponds. The Sweet Flag and yellow iris are so pretty. Thanks for sharing your adventure with us.

  5. Love your 'boy holding a goose' fountain! Lovely. I must get some yellow flag iris. Water hyacinth, although it cleans the water and I've heard it will even take out heavy toxins, is prohibited in Texas. :( Enjoy your beautiful pond!

  6. Know nothing about water plants but yours look pretty good.
    That is one awesome pond !!!

    Thanks to the men in our lives :)

  7. What a beautiful pond. I loved seeing the toad eggs, I've never seen these before and had no idea what they would look like.

  8. It's looking great. It's amazing just how much wildlife depend on ponds. I've noticed so much more wildlife in my garden since we installed one, albeit a tiny one. I'd love a water lily but our pond is too small for one, I've just bought an Iris.

  9. The pond is beautiful...lots of work so worth it...I love iris and pennywort in and along the pond....I haven't spotted toads yet, but we have frogs...look at the color in the garden...finally jumping to life...lovely...I watched the whole wedding as well but had to wait until Friday night...I will check out the blog you mentioned...

  10. Pam, everything in your garden is looking great. I'm glad to see Spring is finally putting in an appearance for you. Spring is definitely running late to get to us though. (It's so cold out yet!)

    Your pond is very pretty, love the fountain. I bet you'll be hearing frogs and toads singing very soon. Thank you for sharing the blooms in your garden with all of us.

  11. DearPam - when I read the title, I thought you were having the same dry Spring that we have here! Instead you've shown a great selection of aquatic plants though Parrot's feather in No 1 invasive on the UK list. Toad spawn is a testament to the health of your pond - well sited too, away from trees and with sunlight. Very professional! How lovely your Spring garden looks now.

  12. Oh Pam, this post makes me miss my pond. We built a lovely pond at our last house, and keep talking about adding one here, but it may be a while before we get to it. Our pond had many of the same plants as yours. The parrot's feather, the anacharis, and I loved the sweet flag we had. One day a little 2 day old mallard duckling came swimming out behind it, completely surprising us! By the looks of all those eggs, you're going to have a lot of tadpoles! Our first year with the pond the surface of the water was seething with toad tadpoles, it was almost creepy, but in a fascinating sort of way ;)

  13. Hey Pam!

    Loved reading your entry and looking at the photos taken of the water plants we brought.

    It was a pleasure meeting you and you husband. Hopefully we will see you soon this summer.


    P.S. Thanks for the receipe! My wife and I are anxious to try it out!

  14. I do hope you get some interesting wildlife visiting your pond. Birds will love it!
    I think you have chosen some remarkable plants that will flourish in your pond.

  15. I like the pictures of garden and pond very much. I also like the garden care. Really very nice blog here!!

  16. Your pong makes me extremely jealous, especially the toad eggs. I have to have some kind of water feature soon!!!

  17. Ooh, I wish I had a pond to redecorate. These are such fun plants! The toad eggs are delightful, too.

  18. Your pond is gorgeous!
    Best regards
    María José

  19. Your pond is looking great! What fun to put plants in and around it!

    Yes, those walks around the property seeing what's new in the garden are a fun blessing.