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Contact Us:
1460 Marine Drive,
West Vancouver,
B.C. V7T 1B7

Tel: (604) 926-8784  
Fax: (604) 926-1427


The Avant Gardener

The Avant Gardener News Letter
May/June 2000
Taking Containers One Step Farther

In our last newsletter we talked about containers. Now let's take containers one step farther. This is your chance to be creative and to devise an instant attraction in your living space. Two very simple ideas for containers introduce water, a fascinating element. With a hint of the Orient, fountains and water gardens, or a combination of both, in containers, can not only give great pleasure, but are also mobile and easily maintained. By creating a mixture of sound and movement with water you can bring small spaces to life. Any container that holds water is a potential water feature.

Click On The Pic To Enlarge
To construct a small fountain you need a small submersible electric pump such as Little Giant's Pondworks PES-70 to circulate the water, a length of 3/8" clear plastic tubing, a bag of polished stones (to mask the container's interior), and something interesting from which the water can flow, such as a ceramic or metal frog, a pot, or a drilled stone. Then just add water and plug in the pump. You can make fine adjustments on the pump to adjust the rate of water flow and the accompanying sound level to your liking.


Voilà ! A fountain for the corner of your balcony or a table in your entrance hallway, or for that touch of surprise in a shady nook in the garden. Just remember to keep the water fresh and clean at all times and to keep it topped up.

Now, to create a container water garden. The container should not be over 3 feet deep. It is easiest to work with only a foot or two of depth. Generally the container is best placed in full sun for plant health and for visual impact. You will need stones, pea gravel, organic aquatic potting soil, planting baskets to hold the mix, and lastly, the fun part, the water plants.

Click On The Pic To Enlarge
When starting out with a small container it is recommended that you choose 3 plants of different textures and height; for example, Nymphaea (water lily), water iris such as Iris Laevigata, and Typha minima (an ususual small cattail). Floating plants such as Eichhornia (water hyacinth), Pistia (water lettuce) and Azolla (fairy moss) prevent algae from greening the water.


Except for floaters, plants are planted in the potting mix in the baskets, topdressed with pea gravel, watered and the baskets secured in place. Again, just add water to submerge the baskets, and enjoy the calm elegance you have created.

Here are some interesting variations for container water gardens. By incorporating a pump and nozzle to make a pleasing spray of water you can add a new dimension to your water garden. But use only plants that are happy in moving water. In larger containers, fish can add considerable visual interest. Only small fancy goldfish such as fantails may be used, however, and they must be given sanctuary in winter.

In climates such as British Columbia's, fountains and container water gardens outdoors are a summer feature only, and plants must be stored over winter. Indoors, of course, both kinds of water features can be enjoyed year round.

Finally, a third type of water feature, the easiest to make of all - a simple, unplanted container with water. Just watch the play of light. Soothing, reflective, peaceful.

Both books shown here as well as the products mentioned are all available at The Avant Gardener (with the exception of goldfish).

Until next time......    

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Contact Us: 1460 Marine Drive, West Vancouver, B.C. V7T 1B7 • Tel: (604) 926-8784 • Fax: (604) 926-1427 • Email: darlene@avantgardener.com