Using water plants as an addition to a garden is part of the trend of something old being new again.
Gena Campbell from Clontarf's Redcliffe Garden Centre says that water plants are popular, which signals a return to traditional values. “We have gone back to the old-fashioned ways of people teaching their children to garden and learn about the environment,” Gena says.
“There is a movement out of chemicals, which is better for people and the environment.
“Frog ponds and water bowls are all part of the eco of the garden. They bring in good bugs to overpower the bad bugs. We need more good bugs and there are lots of them. They feed on the larvae and eggs of the bad bugs or on the bad bugs themselves.
“People can use their imaginations, from old laundry tubs and baths, from water features to large bowls. But they must be mindful of the 30cm deep limit.”
Placement: Ponds should not be exposed to full sun. Prevent heating up by covering some of the surface with plants. Avoid excessive leaf fall by not placing directly under trees. Make sure the pond’s position fits in with the rest of the garden.
Fish/frogs: Native guppies, which can be bought from pet shops, eat mosquito larvae. Fish and frogs need plants to shelter from predators. Frogs also need to be able to climb in and out of the pond.
Depth: By law, a pond cannot be more than 30cm deep. If it is any deeper, it will have to be fenced like a pool. Rocks and gravel can be used to achieve the correct depth.
Plants: The number of plants depends on the size of the pool or bowl. Use one or two for a small bowl. The main varieties you should go for are tropical and hardies. Don’t use water lilies in running water. They do not like movement and will die.
Soil: Don’t use normal potting mix as the fertiliser in it can be toxic to fish. Layer sand and stone in pots to go in water. Tablet-form feed is available for plants.
Algae: Gena says a little algae is OK because fish and frogs can lay their eggs in it, but too much is not desirable.
Redcliffe Garden Centre is at 47/49 Snook St, Clontarf. Phone 3889 3211.