(Editor's Note: This article was originally published on April 4, 2008. Your comments are welcome, but please be aware that authors of previously published articles may not be able to promptly respond to new questions or comments.)
My pot pond is VERY miniature – 3 feet in diameter and about the same in depth. The pot came from a "big box" store, and most carry them. The biggest challenge in placing the pond was to make sure the bottom of the hole was flat enough to keep water plant pots from tipping over when the pond was full. I chose to site it at the foundation of the home, right next to the stairs and porch for easy viewing. All I had to do was to dig a hole slightly deeper than the pot, and the same diameter. By adding some soil to the bottom of the hole, just along the back, the pond form slanted forward and away from my home's foundation. As it is under the eaves, it only gets enough water to keep it filled, but not enough water to cause damage at the foundation level. The top rim of the pond is just hidden by some rocks layed around the edge. Inside the pond I placed a brick or two with a flat stone on top, under the water level. These are at two different heights. Great to perch potted water plants on and to give the $0.12 goldfish a place to hide away from prying paws and beaks. The fish keeps the mosquito larvae at bay. By filling the pot with a lot of plants, I can keep the black interior of it from showing most of the spring, summer and fall.
I am admittedly a very messy pond gardener. The only maintenance I do to the pond is to dig out the plants each spring, and clean it well. The pond looks good in every season but winter. So far I have parrots feather, water lettuce and water hyacinth because nothing can escape into any larger water system. There is no fountain feature in this pond yet (no access to electrical).
This spring I hope to be more creative, like my friend Amy.
Amy has a passion for weird and unusual plants, and her small front garden is a cornucopia of found objects filled with her unique plant combinations. The front steps of Amy’s craftsman style home are wide, and each side has flat stone raised areas instead of handrails. These flat areas are perfect for small potted displays, and Amy mixes all manner of succulents wedged into sewer pipes and chimney pots with her potted water gardens. Amy's pots are also very simple, and totally care free. She finds pots without holes or seals up the hole, and fills the pot with anything that will hold the plants up to the surface of the water. She pops in a few snails to keep it all clean and insect free, then fills the pot with plants. Sometimes a single architectural specimen, and sometimes a fanciful mix of other-worldly looking greenery. Amy leaves everything out all winter long, and just tidies up a bit in the spring.
Potted water gardens are a simple and easy way to bring a small water feature into your own garden, without any big commitment!
Thanks to Amy Handler for the photograph and inspiration!