The water feature at the new National Butterfly Center Visitor Pavilion has already become a hit though it is young. Of course what kid doesn’t like to look at fountains and water, but once the Japanese Koi come up to feed it is has a whole new meaning to the word thrilling.
It seems wherever you go garden centers have a special section dedicated to the water garden. Ours at the National Butterfly Center is larger than you would choose for home and now I can tell you it is much easier than you might think. It can truly be a do-it-yourself project.
Water features can create a mood like no other part of the garden especially if you incorporate sound or movement of the water. It also becomes a place to gather, sit, watch and relax. Any landscape can be made more enjoyable with water. Water adds a soothing, calming element to a hectic world.
When we think about water features, words like active and passive come to mind. Because our water feature is large I am able to get both, depending whichever feeling or mood I want.
Passive water moves only by a breeze like a pond. We have all watched the wind create tiny ripples on a pond. But with the addition of plants like irises, lilies, ferns and umbrella plants, your passive water pond then becomes a wonderful and unique garden.
At one end of our garden we have established native cattails and have started a little sedge. These plants seem to be a great gathering place for damselflies and dragonflies. If you think flowers can’t be pretty in a water garden you haven’t looked at water lilies lately. We have both pink and pastel yellow selections.
Active water is different in that it moves, such as a cascading, rocky waterfall or a babbling brook. Waterfalls are also extra special in that they create vertical movement. Water also can flow out of decorative containers, and those are usually a smaller hit on the pocketbook.
Nurseries and garden centers now stock everything you need to install your own water garden, including aquatic plants and koi. Koi are the large goldfish looking fish that seem to get more valuable with age.
If you doubt your ability to incorporate one into your landscape, don’t fret. Simply talk to your certified nursery professional who is probably around the corner from where you live.