Water lily garden

If you have the possibility to turn a part of your home garden into a water garden, please do so. It’s like heaven on earth. You’ll be surrounded by green, water, fresh air, by nature with all it means.

There are several floating and aquatic plants for you to dress with the water garden. Such plants are: Water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes), Eurasian water milfoil (Myriophyllum spicatum), Water lettuce (Pistia stratiotes), European frog-bit (Hydrocharis morsus-ranae), Stratiotes aloides, Ceratophyllum demersum.

The water lily is a floating flowering plant too. Nymphaea, by its scientific name, the Water lily is the star of the water gardens and the representative plant and also the most known aquatic plant.

There are about 70 species of water lilies from which you can choose the proper water lily species for your water garden. If you have a mini water garden, with 40-50 cm depth, you can plant into water lily species as Froebeli, Pygmaea Helvola, Walter Pagels. For water lily species like Joey Tomocik, Marliacea Chromatella, Fritz Junge, the depth of the water has to exceed 100 cm.

Water lily flower is maybe the most beautiful and the most elegant floating flower, with a wide color palette, from white and yellow and pink to dark red. Beside white water lilies and pink water lilies, there are now blue water lilies.

Between the water lilies species, the most significant and precious is Victoria regia or Victoria amazonica, named so after Queen Victoria. This giant water lily is a miracle and we’re sure that, once you’ve seen it, you’ll never forget.

Victoria regia flower can reach 30-40 cm in diameter when it’s full-blown. What’s special to this water lily is the fact that this flower changes its color overnight. The V. amazonica flowers are white in the night when first open and become pink and finally red the second night. But the miracle doesn’t last forever, neither the water lily flower. After blooming, it disappears in water, following its vegetation circle.

Sweeten your home garden

The white flowers are a reason to relax and enjoy your time in the home garden. The white means purity, innocence and satisfaction. The white flowers are gladding the eyes and soul. Especially when you’re a busy man and you got tired after a full week, the white garden is the perfect answer. If your only chance to admire the home garden is in the evening, we are suggesting you to choose to garnish the garden with white Flowering Tobacco (Nicotiana affinis). In Romania, we like to call it the Queen of the night, because of its blooming in evening and also of its special calming effects scent.

Description

Coming from South America, Nicotiana Flowering Tobacco sweetens the hot summer air, without being such a decorating plant. The love and appreciation for Nicotiana affinis comes from the perfume that its flowers are spreading in the air. Flowering tobacco is a flowering shrub which can reach even 1 m in height. The flowering tobacco’s leaves are a kind of silky and the flowers seem like little trumpets very bright coloured. There are white flowers as well as pink, purple, red, yellow, violet flowering tobacco’s flowers.

Flowering tobacco care

Flowering tobacco usually flowers in summer and it keeps its flowers till the fall. But, if the weather is fine and it’s hot, Nicotiana affinis will prolong the blooming till October.

This flowering charming flavour plant is not exigent as other flowering plants. Nicotiana loves the soil moisture, so satisfy it by watering every evening. Also feed supplementary the plant, by adding some proper liquid fertiliser once at two weeks.
Regarding the light, Flowering tobacco prefers the alternately sun and shadow exposure. It particularly wants to be protected from the afternoon hot summer sun.

You can obtain Flowering tobacco shrub by seeds sown in April or by seedling. The Nicotiana seedlings are planted directly in the home garden soil with 15 cm distance between.

Please, protect the Queen of the night from red spider and aphis.

Now your warm summer evenings will be more pleasant, spent in a pure white charming and perfumed natural scenery offered by White Flowering Tobacco, also named Queen of the night.

Half barrel pond

Half barrel ponds are great for small gardens. It just so happened the one I set up last year needed a bit of a facelift.
Here’s how I got on.

As shown in the picture above the area around the pond was covered in gravel. The whole garden was awash with it when I moved in around two years ago and it has been my mission since then to rid this evil.

The exorcism didn’t work so after moving several back breaking buckets of gravel and dead soil the bare bones of the area became visible.

The fish and plants were placed in temporary accommodation, other wise known as a tub-it. How versatile are these fantastic devices? I use my three for everything from mixing compost to, well, storing fish apparently!

So two goldfish, Iris laevigata ‘Variegata’, Gunnera magellanica, Typha minima, Juncus effusus ‘Spiralis’, Equisetum scirpoides and an unknown Nymphaea were all sweating away in this tight panic inducing bucket.

The area was edged with timber cut at different lengths and placed on end. I like the informal feel it creates and it matches the rest of the lower garden. The borders in the lower garden form a spiral around a central paved area and are planted with a great variety of plants to create an informal but modern cottage garden. Cottage fusion I like to call it. Although at present a lot of the fusion is missing thanks to the Winter!

The ground around the pond was prepared with top soil, compost and some fertiliser in the shape of blood, fish and bone. Although it smells a little, is it wrong that I quite like the smell?, it is by far one of the best fertilisers available. On top of this I regularly apply a foliar seaweed feed and mulch annually with compost from the local amenity site. Food waste is collected fortnightly and composted by the local authority. The compost produced seems to be great for the garden and its free!

Finally, the planting began! I always have an abundance of spare plants hanging around the garden. I am a massive fan of propagation and collecting plants and as a result I had most of what I needed at my disposal. Digitalis purpurea, Geum ‘Mrs Bradshaw’, Astrantia bavarica, Carex buchananii, Leucojum aestivum, Hyacinthoides non-scripta, Allium sphaerocephalon and a hardy Geranium were all thrown in. I’m not a Geranium lover and I’m as surprised as the next person that I’ve actually planted one. The bees like them though so I guess that’s reason enough for me to include it.

As I needed a little more structure I popped to my local botanical garden, as they have a great weekly plant sale, and I came back with a gorgeous Viburnum opulus, which I’ve placed behind the pond, a Primula bulleyana, and a Persicaria bistorta ‘Superbum’. And that’s it! I’m really happy with the final result and I’m hoping that it will help to pull in even more wildlife to the garden.

Five ways to conserve water and keep plants healthy

Most people know that water is an essential requirement in the garden but following a recent decision to impose a temporary hosepipe ban on millions of householders in the north-west of England, gardeners all around the country have come to realise that this Summer has the potential to wreak havoc and leave nothing but scorched foliage in its wake. There are, however, many ways of preserving your beloved plants without the use of a hose. A few of the methods I regularly use are discussed below.

Collect Shower Water:

The addition of a couple of buckets in the shower works wonders for collecting water that would otherwise go to waste. My black plastic buckets may not look stylish but they are most certainly practical. Most people will turn the shower on each day and wait for it to warm up. In my case this cold water fills half a bucket for each shower taken, which is immediately used to water the plants growing in my garden.

As a general rule water that has been used for washing should not be used as it may include shower gel, shampoo residues and other content which may prove problematic for plants and soil. This is classed as greywater. Greywater, which comes from used shower water, washing machines, dishwashers and the kitchen sink, can be used in the garden but it typically requires additional modifications or practices. For more information please see Reusing greywater from the Environment agency.

Collect Rainwater:

Harvesting available rainwater seems to be a logical step when looking to conserve water as it is more than abundant in the cooler months of the year. Water Butts are the favoured option for storing rainwater, with many local authorities providing them at low prices (Check your local council website for more details). Water butts are easy to install and come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colours making them suitable for most gardens.

If you have a surplus of water collected from the shower you can store it in the water butt too.

Drought Tolerant Planting:

Plants that thrive in drought conditions and have low water requirements are invaluable when water is at a premium. Gardens that incorporate such drought tolerant plants may see some decline in warm conditions but they will look considerably better than those that do not.

For more information please refer to the RHS website.

Apply Mulch:

Garden mulches come in many forms and can range from simple organic matter, such as compost or manure, to man made substrates, such as recycled car tyres. Whatever mulch is chosen the principle is essentially the same, to reduce the effects of sun, which may cause water loss by surface evaporation and reduce the effects of drying winds. Plus annual mulches also reduce the growth of weeds that would compete for available moisture. Organic mulch will also help to further improve soil, improving soil structure and allowing soil to retain water more effectively.

Correct Watering:

Believe it or not, there is an art to watering. Watering at the wrong time of day can mean that water is not delivered efficiently and it may even render the whole process useless. It is best to water plants in the evening as this will ensure that plants can absorb water over night when temperatures are cooler. It will also ensure that water penetration is not affected by sunlight. Watering early morning is also acceptable. All watering should be thorough as opposed to the little but often approach and a thorough watering will ensure that plants require less frequent watering. Sprinkler systems should be avoided where possible as they are wasteful and drip or trickle irrigation should be the favoured method if necessary.

A combination of approaches will maximise your water saving credentials although there are a whole world of approaches available that will suit your garden and approach specifically.