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10 neat things about water gardening

pink lotus The Green Spot

Pink Lotus. photo: The Ultimate Guide to Cold Climate Gardening

1. Water, water everywhere. Water in the garden is such a natural fit that every garden should have some.

You can go big with a pond and a stream or small with a container full of aquatic plants; whatever you do, the rules are essentially the same.

You need at least three different kinds of plants:

oxygenators such as hornwort, deep water plants such as water lily, and a floating plant such as duckweed or water hyacinth to provide sun cover.

This variety will keep your pond fresh and healthy.

2. Container ponds. Starting small with a container water garden is one way to get introduced to the challenge and fascination of water gardening.

Why not start by trying to grow a lovely water lily in a pot?

Start with a large water-tight container, at least 18 inches deep by 36 inches in diameter.

This will hold the water lily in place.

Plant the lily in a smaller 10 inch deep by 8 inch pot filled with heavy soil (not potting mix), laying the rhizome on the top of a three-quarter filled pot with the growing tip toward centre of the pot.

Cover all but the tip with the remaining soil.

At this point you can add some gravel on top of the soil or you can wrap the whole thing in some burlap.

This is to keep the soil from floating away when you submerge your potted water lily the larger pot.

3. Depth sensitive plants. Many aquatic plants are depth sensitive, so choose your aquatic plants with care and have a plan in mind as to how they will be planted.

Garden centres have all sorts of clever accessories to ensure that plants are given the right home.

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4. Five levels. In any water environment, you will note that certain plants have adapted to specific conditions.

In general they are categorized by planting depth.

The marginal plants that like to have wet feet in about six inches of water near the edges of ponds, are plants such as the tall and striking Iris pseudacorus, double marsh marigolds and cattails.

Deep water (at least 12 to 18 inches) plants include water lilies and lotuses.

You will want to add free floating plants such as the tiny duckweed or water hyacinth to provide shade in your pond.

The submerged plants, such as hornwort, water thyme and parrot feathers, are your aerators or oxygenating plants.

These plants also use up nutrients to compete with algae.

Finally, there are the bog plants that grow where it’s very wet but whose roots are not submerged.

5. Breathing in water. Plants breathe through a process of diffusion.

They take in air from water through tiny holes in leaves, stems and roots which have specialized spaces or air channels that help them expel the waste gases.

These vessels are called aerenchyma.

6. How much duckweed is too much duckweed? The purpose of floating plants is to provide shade that will discourage algae.

About 50 to 75 per cent of the surface should be covered by a floater, which could include the leaves of a water lily.

Some floaters are very prolific so you may have to cull them from time to time.

7. Keep it moving. A small fountain pump can keep the water in your pond moving to discourage mosquitoes, and aerate the water.

You can also install a bubble aerator to discourage algae.

8. Copper in ponds. Copper kills algae, so many people add a little copper sulfate to their ponds.

Be cautious, though. If you use too much, it can kill your fish.

There are a number of commercial products containing copper sulfate. Follow the directions.

9. Barley straw. Place barley straw in your pond where there is a good flow of air and water.

The barley straw will break down and add hydrogen peroxide, and in so doing, inhibit or prevent the growth of algae.

If not sold commercially in your area, you can put ordinary barley straw in nylon bags that are located half in and half out of the water to encourage decay, which is what activates the natural ingredients.

10. Bti in the pond. Bti (Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis) sold as “mosquito dunks” will kill mosquito larvae without harming plants, pets, birds or people.

It is a naturally occurring bacteria that is targeted at mosquito larvae.

The Ultimate Guide to Cold Climate Gardening by Bernie Whetter, owner of The Green Spot.

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HEDLEY’S HEALTH HUT

 Iron Earth Soil Re-Mineralizer

• Iron Earth is highly compressed, natural, organic humus, formed through the biological breakdown of plant life over 75 million years old.
• Add Iron Earth to your garden soil and planter pots to provide the naturally occurring nutrients necessary for optimal plant growth, and excellent plant health.
• Also available at The Green Spot

Today’s Throwback

Smith Block Feb 27 Peel's Prairie Provinces

Postcard from the past

Postmark: Brandon, Man., 1912-09-08

Published by the Commercial Bureau, Brandon, c1912.

View of the corner of Tenth Street and Rosser Avenue.  The Smith Block, Canadian Bank of Commerce and Cecil Hotel.

Source: Peel’s Prairie Provinces, a digital initiative of the University of Alberta Libraries.
   

THE GREEN SPOT

Lawn Guardian The Green Spot

Canadian beneficial Nematodes

• Lawn Guardian is a package of Canadian beneficial Nematodes that will help you naturally control insects in your lawn and garden.
• This one particularly focuses on the June-Japanese Beetle and European Chafer.
• Once applied, it will hunt down and kill the grubs before they are able to transform into the beetle.

Tips for hanging framed items

Duane Claridge Lasting image

Duane Claridge, co-owner, Lasting image

We offer these tips courtesy of Larson-Juhl.

Even the most beautiful pieces of framed art can still look awkward if they are not hung logically.

Some of the key considerations are:

  • Choosing framed art that fits the space where it will hang
  • Hang frames in reasonably close proximity to the furniture below it to create unison
  • Hang frames at eye level for maximum viewing pleasure, keeping in mind people stand in foyers and halls and sit in many other spaces so that height can vary.

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To avoid crooked frames on the wall

When frames are hung from a single point, they usually shift on the wall over time.

Both for safety and also to keep frames straight, always hang everything from two points.

On heavier pieces this also helps distribute the weight.

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LASTING IMAGE

Shadow boxed Lasting Image custom framing.jpg

Display Your Collections!

These family heirlooms were shadow boxed with a lovely suede mat and a frame that suited the time period of the items!