I got my order of duck weed (Lemna) and fairy moss (Azolla) today. These two tiny aquatic plants float on top of water and form a thick carpet that shades the pond underneath. I’ve always loved the look of duck weed, but I could never find anyone who sold it locally. I would have to scoop up as much of it as I could when I bought water hyacinths and then water for it to multiply.
But I was lucky enough to visit Margaret Roach’s lovely garden on her most recent Open Day and her water gardens were covered with the stuff. Needless to say, it was all I could do to stop myself from shoveling it into my pockets. Instead I asked where she got it in quantity and she very graciously directed me to Pondplants.com. You can read Margaret’s post on Instant Water Gardens, where she talks about them.
I like having a small water garden. I enjoy the evening croaking and the birds splashing about in it. But I didn’t want to have to run electricity for an ever running pump or have to do a lot of seasonal maintenance. I didn’t want fish, because local zoning makes it difficult to have a deep enough pond for them to survive the winter. So I put my water garden in a partially shaded spot, which meant my water plants didn’t bloom as profusely as they should, but also drastically cut back on the amount of algae that was produced.
A couple of years ago, the large maple that provided the partial shade for the pond had to come down. With full sun, my little water garden was becoming an ugly stew of sheet algae. Planting another mature tree nearby was as impractical as moving the water garden, which is when I started scooping duck weed where ever I could.
If you think you’d like a small water and want to test the waters (excuse the pun), these surface covering plants could be just what you’re looking for. Wildlife will still visit your pond and the tiny, fern-like plants look quite pretty floating about. They can turn a reddish-brown in bright, direct light, but they still look good.
I’d love to hear about your experiments with water gardening.