Water is an important part of every garden, it encourages wildlife and can be a useful feature adding a tranquil peaceful element. Planting out a water garden is a great opportunity to discover some wonderful native plants, that flower and have striking foliage like other ornamental plantings, if grouped with some thought the plants will set off a pond.
There are two levels to plant out a water garden; water plants that grow in the water, water plants that grow next to the water in moist boggy soil.
Below is an image of a very generous frog pond planted out with the yellow flowering Nymphoides crenata and surrounded by Carex appressa.
Or the water area can be left open and the edges can be planted out with low ground covers that like a moist soil; below there is a small area planted with Pratia pedunculata and Viola hederacea, some fronds of Macrozamia communis provide access into the water for frogs.
Broad leaf plants make a striking statement when planted near water as they give height and create wonderful reflections. Below you can see Doryanthes excelsa and Dendrobium speciosum cutting a fine figure with the large rocks. Crinum peduculatum would also look great as waterside planting.
It may be necessary with some water plants to keep them in pots or containers under the water, the labels on the plants when you purchase them should tell you how deeply immersed the plant likes to be. It is also wise to keep some species in pots if they have the ability to take over and become a problem by smothering the entire water surface.
Milfoil or Myriophyllium propinquum is a native milfoil, it can go a bit rampant, and in the image below has taken over the entire upper pond and it being used to filter and clean the water below it falls down the waterfall in the pond below. It forms a large lush mat of foliage that is good for frog and fish habitat and for improving water quality, you can see it has been interplanted with creeping Nardoo (Marsilea drummondi) that is loosing the battle!
There are also a large range of native rushes with interesting seed heads and a range of different greens that work well planted either in the water or as a bog plant. I will talk about these in a later blog post. So when thinking of building you pond make sure you leave lots of space for some planting around the edges.