Tabletop Water Garden

As you spend more time in your outdoor living spaces, add the restful sounds of bubbling water with this easy-to-assemble tabletop water garden. It is the perfect accessory for a low bamboo table next to your favorite outdoor chair. Or, for a larger, more dramatic display, position the bowl on a plinth against a tropical background of elephant ears or a banana tree.

Ingredients:
(1) Green ceramic bowl – 18" diameter X 8" deep (I used a Norcal Water Garden Bowl in Emerald glaze. This pot is available at garden centers across the country.)
(1) 1 quart 'Hilo Beauty' Alocasia
(3) 1 quart 'Oborozuki' Sweet Flag Acorus (Acorus gramineus 'Oborozuki')
(3) 3" pot 'Great Blue' Lobelia (Lobelia siphilitica)
3" stone (to weigh down the pump)
Pebbles (to weigh down the plants)
Small electric pump

Tabletop Water GardenDirections:
The idea that water gardens must be large and elaborate proves untrue with this compact model. A glazed ceramic bowl (without drainage holes) is easy to transform into a bubbling water bath with the help of a small electric water pump and a few water plants. Place a small electric pump inside of the jar and weigh it down with a stone, and then pull the cord over the back rim of the bowl.

Position the planted pots inside the container to conceal the electrical cord. Set the shorter pots on pieces of brick to display them at varying heights. Sprinkle pebbles on top of the plants to keep them from floating.

Fill the container with water to about 2 inches from the top of the pot, and then plug in the pump.

Because of the compact size of this container and the delicate bubbling and gurgling of the small pump, I put it on a table in my loggia, where I often sit and read the newspaper. The fountain provides a wonderful soothing sound and a cool serenity that is a welcome addition to my outdoor setting.

There are many wonderful varieties of water plants so feel free to experiment with other plant combinations that may be available in your garden center. Like those planted in soil, water plants have their preferences for certain kinds of growing conditions such as sun or shade. The plants used here are a mix of tropical and temperate woodland plants that can coexist happily together and were selected for their ability to tolerate shade and grow in marshy conditions. If you want to place your container in a sunny location, be sure and select water plants well suited for those conditions.

Things to Keep in Mind:

  • Keep leaves and debris out of the water to keep it looking fresh.
  • Small water pumps can be found at garden centers, aquarium stores or on the Internet.

 

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