Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Water gardens, also known as aquatic gardens and backyard ponds, have become popular in recent years.
Usually referring to a man-made feature, these gardens usually combine a pool with aquatic plants and often ornamental fish. Fixed items such as rocks, fountains, statuary, waterfalls and watercourses can be combined with the pool to add visual interest and integration with the local landscape and environment.
Types of water gardens
- Man-made ponds
- Natural ponds
Typical water garden plants are divided into 3 main categories--submerged, marginal, and floating.
Submerged plants are those that live almost completely under the water, sometimes with leaves or flowers that grow to the surface such as with the water lily. These plants are placed in a pond or container usually 1-2 ft. below the water surface. Some of these plants are called oxygenators because they create oxygen for the fish that live in a pond. Examples of submerged plants are:
Marginal plants are those that live with their roots under the water but the rest of the plant above the surface. These are usually placed so that the top of the pot is at or barely below the water level. Examples of these are:
- Flag (Iris)
- Taro or Elephant Ear
- Arrowhead (Sagittaria latifolia)
- Pickerelweed (Pontedaria cordata)
Floating plants are those that are not anchored to the soil at all, but are free-floating on the surface. In water gardening, these are often used as a provider of shade to keep down the growth of algae in a pond. These are often extremely fast growing/multiplying. Examples of these are:
- Mosquito ferns (Azolla)
- Water-spangle (Salvinia)
- Water-clover (Marsilea vestita)
- Water-hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes)
Fish: Often the reason for having a pond in your garden is to keep fish, often koi, though many people keep goldfish. Both are hardy, colorful fish which require no special heating, provided you live in a area which does not have extremes of temperature that would affect the fish. If fish are kept, pumps and filtration devices usually need to be added in order to keep enough oxygen in the water to support them. In winter, a small heater may need to be used in cold climates to keep the water from freezing solid.
Predators: Garden ponds can attract attention from predators such as (in the United States) raccoons, heron, snakes, and domestic cats. These predators can be a danger to fish. Owners of koi are often particularly upset by this as some varieties of koi can be very expensive.
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