Friday, February 27, 2009

Gardens - Water Gardens

I have been familiar with water gardens from childhood, my mother was ahead of her time, when, in the 60's she decided to put a small pond in her garden, with water lilies, fish and a fountain.

At that time the resources for building a home water garden weren't readily available so she had to improvise. Mom used a rigid vinyl kiddie pool with a fountain pump in it. It'a a lot different now, today, you can buy pre-formed pond kits in many sizes and shapes, or do-it-yourself kits with pond liners at your local department store or hardware store. There are even stores that specialize in water features that will help you decide what you need and how much if you want to do it from scratch.

The first water garden I made in 1994, I started from sratch, I used the pond liner that's sold by the metre on a roll. I found that it is the best way, with a large pond. A pre-cut 12' square liner sold in a kit would be enough to make a 6 foot pond that is 2' deep. If you want to make a shelf you have to add the depth of the shelf onto the measurements. It is advisable, in colder climates, to make the pond a depth of at least 3' so it doesn't freeze solid. So, where I live, a 12' square liner would make a pond 4 ' x 3' deep and I wanted a larger pond.

The second water garden I made years later, and I had different circumstances and considerations. I wanted a shallow pond, because I had grandchildren at this time, so I started with a kit. It was large enough for my purposes.

I decided to go with an idea I saw on a gardening show, I can't remember which one, where they used old sinks to make a waterfall. the sinks were placed in tiers with liner betweeen the sinks with pebbles on the liner and rocks around the edges leading into a pond. I liked the idea, but my space was limited and the ground was too level, so I decided to raise the sinks, so I made a waterfall with an old cast-iron bathroom sink on a concrete pedestle, overflowing into a copper kettle, over some rocks and into a kitchen sink and then into a single laundry tub and into the pond.

A few years later, the grandchildren were getting bigger, so we decided to expand the pond.

We wanted the original pond to connect to the new pond, which is 3 1/2' deep, so we made a stream to connect them, and bonded the two liner pieces together where they overlapped. Now we needed a bridge to go over the stream, it had to be wide enough for the lawn mower and garden tiller to be moved easily, and sturdy enough to be safe for the grandchildren to run across and jump on.

I also had to remove my clematis from the arbor that we used for our wedding, and start it growing on the fence that was being built there. It was a slow process, I did have an advantage in that the arbor was constructed in small lengths, held with screws, so I just dis-assembled the arbor, sliding the pieces out of the plants. I then wrapped the vines around the fence-posts and up around the rails, and started training them. They have come through the re-placement with flying colours.

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