Yippee! It’s March of 2011 and we have a pond in the ground. There are no fish and no plants. From all the research done, we knew that we needed to let the water sit or “balance” for a month before we put any fish in. So, I focused on plants in and around the pond. Unless you hire a landscape contractor, which we did not, you are not going to have instant landscaping. It’s been two years and we’re still working on it.
Everything that I read said for a good fish environment, there should be about 50% of the water surface covered in plant material, read, water lilies. The vegetation provides shade on scorching Arizona summer days, keeps the water temperature a little lower and also help to oxygenate the water. It also provides hiding places for the fish. Why would they need hiding places? More on that… later.
In the pond, I used Lilies, Yerba Mansa, Pickerel Wart, and Taro. I tried a wonderful water plant called “Mosaic” but it is very delicate does not seem to survive our few Arizona frost nights.
In 2012 I put some grass in the pond because I wanted to create some visual height. Big mistake. I would never put grass in the pond again. It proliferates just like weeds. Soon, it was everywhere! I spent part of this past winter season removing it. Some shoots may still come up but I will pull them as soon as they do.
If you know of anyone with a pond you can always try asking if they have extra plant material to share. I do have such a friend who supplied me with Lilies, Yerba Mansa and Taro. She (is a Master Gardener…good friend to have!) also advised me on the kinds of plants that would require low maintenance and would grow and live for years. My plant palette around the pond includes: Gazania, Rosemary, Stasis, Verbena, Ruellia, Lantana, Daisies, Dwarf Palms and various Aloe and lately some grasses. All of the plants were in one gallon containers or smaller. The only large plant I splurged on was the Aloe we put in the island between the stream and the pond. I even put three cacti in the pond island. Who could kill a cactus? I did. We’re now down to two of them.
In the past two years I have had some land plants thrive and others like the daisies…well, they are in plant heaven. Ground plants that have done well for me have been the Rosemary, Verbena, Ruellia, Stasis and Lantana. The Ruellia and Lantana seem to suffer damage from frost, even when covered but they regrow with gusto. The Stasis has reseeded itself and seems to like nooks and crannies. The Rosemary just grows and grows. The Verbena makes an excellent ground cover and also is taking off. The Gazania has suffered from frost as well but is making a comeback. Where it frosted it died.
All of the pond plants have done well. The Pickerel Wart and Taro, even in the pond can suffer frost damage but they will come back. The Yerba Mansa is very hardy, suffers little frost damage and does very well.
Next time, I’ll share my fish experiences…