Container Water Gardening

With the rainy damp spring in southern Ontario this year, container water gardens seemed to be a perfect topic for the June Tweed and District Horticultural Society meeting. There has definitely been lots and lots and lots of rain to fill containers for water gardens!!!!

Peter and Christine Gill shared their water container garden knowledge through a power point presentation interjected with many comments that had the members laughing as they enjoyed the presentation.

Peter and Christine are the founding members of the Water Garden Society and are still very active members within the society.

Any container can be used for a water garden providing it has no hole!!!! This allows a novice water gardener to start small. What is important in planning for the water garden is knowing how much water ABOVE the plant is required.

Marginals grow close to the surface of the water. The hardy marginals are suitable for zones 4/5. Roots need to freeze during the winter months.

Floaters as the name suggest float on the surface of the water garden. Most are tropical so will need to be brought indoors during the winter months. Floaters provide shade for the water as well as help to filter t he water.

Submersibles need to be planted deeper in the container and the roots must not freeze…. therefore, they need to be brought indoors during the winter months. Water lilies are an example of submersibles but they are more suitable for ponds.

Peter’s photos showed how to use bricks, stones and cinder blocks to gain height for plants, levelling plants as well as protecting them from wildlife.

Since rainwater is recommended to use in water container gardens, pond tabs or Laguna pond sticks can be used to fertilize the plants.

Photos illustrated how to landscape your water garden to fit into the garden naturally. Peter suggested surrounding your water garden with plants give a more natural feel to the water garden.

Mosquitoes and raccoons can cause issues for water gardens. Using a pump and adding goldfish to a water garden helps with the mosquito problem. Or simply add a few drops of cooking oil to the surface of the water and overfill the container to get rid of mosquitos.  Placing plants in the center of the water garden and using containers with straight sides helps with the raccoon problem. Also, Peter has learned that solar lights placed close to the ground scares off the raccoons. You can move the lights around as needed.

Peter emphasized that what is in the pond stays in the pond….do not put plants or fish from your water garden into lakes, rivers or natural ponds as they may be invasive.

Suggested references…

-Water Garden Plants for Canada…. A. Beck

-Garden Artifacts in Uxbridge…. all water garden plants and supplies


June 9…Children’s Program at the Tweed Public Library. The children will be planting potatoes. Pre-registration is required.

July 5-6-7…Tweed Agricultural Fair. Entries must be set up by Friday July 5 at noon.

August 6…Pot luck dinner at Valerie and Chris Foran’s home at 6 pm. Please remember your chair, your favourite potluck main dish and dessert, cup, plate and cutlery.

September 3…Karen ten Cate of Bumblerock Farm near Roblin will discuss Heirloom Seed Saving…..both her successes and mistakes.


July 19-21…OHA 113th Convention in Windsor

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