Water Gardening: Tubs and Containers
It is important to realise thatneed not necessarily be confined to the garden pool. Even those who are restricted to a modest courtyard can enjoy the wonders of aquatic life by utilising various containers.
Tubs are the obvious choice for a miniature water garden venture. Those made for shrubs being particularly useful. However, more often than not they are made from old barrels that have been sawn in half and then made watertight. These may have contained all kinds of substances, many of which could cause problems. Old wine and vinegar casks or beer barrels are fine, but beware of those that have contained fats, oils, tar or wood preservative. These are extremely difficult to get clean and leave an unsightly and often toxic scum on the water.
Second-hand sinks make excellent water gardens, but being rather shallow are not really suitable for goldfish. One or two tiny fellows that are brought in for the winter will keep down any mosquito larvae. But sinks should always be watched carefully during hot weather as such a small volume of water heats up quickly and soon causes theto gasp.
It is not my intention here to make specific planting suggestions, for it is obvious that dwarf aquatic plants and pygmy waterlilies are well suited to this kind of enterprise. However, there is one other avenue open that is beyond the scope of this site, and that is the cultivation of tender aquatics which can be over-wintered indoors. Many of the most spectacular, like the tropical waterlilies and sacred lotus, become dormant during the winter and their rootstocks can be easily stored in damp sand. If treated in much the same way as bedding plants they can create quite spectacular effects. With the need for annualreplacement and the difficulty of over-wintering some hardy subjects in such confined spaces it provides an excellent opportunity to experiment with these gorgeous tropical aquatics.