Choosing Garden Containers

I have finally made it into the blog-o-sphere, after months of procrastination … don’t have time to fiddle about creating a template … don’t know what to post … and other lame excuses made by a somewhat technophobic busy person … but I am here now and I thought I would start by sharing some of the advice I give to my clients about choosing garden containers…

For urban dwellers, yard space is an unheard of luxury. With apartment houses planted right on the streets and a small amount of communal land behind, there’s no way to plant a garden or cultivate a lot of flowers. You can, however, think small. If you have a balcony or a deck, or even a fire escape, you can create a water garden in containers that will give you the feeling of an in-ground water feature. You’ll be able to hear the water running and watch tiny fish swimming, grow water plants and enjoy the serenity only a water garden can offer. Water garden containers give you the basis for building a watery microcosm in very little space.

Finding water garden containers isn’t as difficult as deciding what exactly you want. A recommended size for a container is 15-25 gallons, and any type of container in that size range can be used. You will also need containers to grow your water plants in, because plants need to be grown in separate pots and then put into the water-filled container. It’s preferable to choose a container with a dark interior, because the dark color will give your pond the perception of depth. Dark interiors are also more practical in that they won’t attract algae and yet they’ll mask the presence of any algae that starts growing.

Your water garden needs to be located where it will get at least six hours of sun every day. Most water plants don’t thrive and flower well without at least that much sunlight, although some bog plants will be okay with less sun. The plants you choose for your garden need to be varied for the best effect. Choose some floating, a few submerged, and emergent species when selecting the plants you want to include. Plants serve the function of shading the water which, once again, discourages the growth of algae. When you start a new water garden, however, you can expect your water to get cloudy after a couple of weeks. Just hang on, though, and the plants and fish will eventually start controlling the algae population, and the water will clear up.

In addition to fish, you want to include a few snails in your water garden containers. Snails are instrumental in eating algae, fish waste products, and decaying organic matter. Small fish, such as guppies, are recommended for containers that are 20 gallons or less; larger than that you can try a couple of goldfish. Guppies and similar fish are excellent choices, because they handle changes in temperature well, and they eat those pesky mosquitoes.


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