One of my big projects this summer was building a water garden. It’s about 10 feet by 6 feet and 3 feet deep with a ledge for pots of emergent plants around the edges.
I chose a spot where I suspected there might have been an old spring house. The digging went quickly. I never found the spring house but I did find water about 2.5 feet down and a drain line leading to the south. I capped the line and lined the excavation with 6-mm clear plastic. I have a standard pond liner still in the box. I just couldn’t bear to use it and cut a hole in it for the spring water to run in and for the drain line to run out. Maybe next year I’ll decide I need it.
I lined the edges of the ‘pond’ with stone, built a small patio for a bench, and also lined much of the bottom and ledges with more stone. Friday, I move the pots of equisetum and corkscrew rush to the ledges, and drew down the water in the half whiskey barrel tub I had them in. Then I lugged the plastic barrel liner over and sunk it into the deep end along with the water lillies and shebunkin. They all seem happier in the larger pool now, joining the minnows that were already there from hauling water up from the stream when I originally filled the pond.
It’s amazing how cool the water is from the trickle that comes in from the spring. (I’ve already soaked in it a couple times after some hot chores.) It’s been very dry this summer, but the ground is sogging around the outlet and is screaming out for some bog plantings — eupatorium, thalictrum, ligularias and the like.
It still has a rough feel to it. But the final stamp of approval came today when I discovered two large frog have taken up residence, hiding in the outlet, behind the rock edgings, or in the lily tub.
I tend not to sit much in the garden. But this spot has already enticed me to pause more than any other.
I think the frogs really like the water garden. I’ve seen as many as four sitting on the edge of the pond and there are now frog eggs all over the place.