Friday, September 08, 2006

Water Gardening

water gardening
There is a debate in the water gardening world about rocks on the bottom of the pond. Now, we both know that this is a silly thing to debate when there are so many other more important things but hey - gardeners being gardeners, they'll debate and rant about things that somewhat - well - dumb.

And yes, if you want to clean the pond right down to the bare plastic, it will be really hard to do this with rocks there. Having said that - I note you don't have to clean right to the plastic. The stuff on the plastic is the good algae and we don't want to get rid of it.

For the plastic pond liner people, it is all about ease of maintenance. Nice argument but specious.

Water gardening cleaning is as simple as dropping the water level and hosing down the rocks. The force of a regular hose nozzle will float all the excessive organic matter out from between the rocks into the water where your pump (disconnect it from the filters so it is pumping directly out of the pond) will pump it onto your vegetable garden.

What stays behind is acceptable.

The root of this water gardening power-struggle is that a company called Aquascapes has come in - modernized the entire water gardening industry and made a lot of money in the process. They charge handsomely for their systems and installation and this annoys the heck out of water gardening landscapers who've been doing it the old way for quite some time. To be precise, it p**** off the established stuck-in-their-ways water gardening folks who don't want to look like they've been doing it wrong all these years.

Me. I don't give a fig which system is the easiest to clean. For my money - they both are and I've done both. I also don't care which system makes the landscaper the most money.

Let's even assume that those who build ponds both ways are right - they never have problems in their ponds. It isn't about which system is right or wrong, or cheapest or most expensive.

The bottom line for me is this.

I want a pond that looks real.

When was the last time you ever saw a natural water garden in the bush or swamp that had a black plastic liner installed by Mother Nature? That sat up there showing black plastic.

Black plastic on the bottom of a pond looks like black plastic. And it's ugly.

You want ugly?


At 6:45 AM, Anonymous Ken said...

Thanks so much for this information as it is timely for me personally. I love your site.


At 10:35 AM, Blogger trey said...


I just went through your last few posts on ponds, and their care. My brother-in-law installed ponds for us until he moved just a few months ago. He had an eye for placing rocks and making the pond look natural. He was married to Aquascapes. He went to Aquascape U and it always had to be from Aquascapes. I would have to buy the Aquascapes products which are more expensive. I kept telling him we should be building our own brand instead of Aquascapes. But they had gotten to him.

Aquascapes genius was to take a bunch of products and put them in a kit form and publish a colorful catalogue. Until them no one had done a good job of it. Aquascapes is about marketing, which until they came along was not done very well by anyone. Gee, they are like Pottery Barn now, sending me some catalogue what seems like every month.

They are just a little too preachy and slick for my taste. Like you Doug I use my own pond equipment suppliers and put it together a lot less expensively. Aquascape recently bought out Nursery Pro which we do business with, so much of the time we have to deal with Aquascapes anyway.

At 12:52 PM, Blogger Doug Green said...

Trey - great summary - it's all about the marketing in the pro world. And I do admire Aquascapes for their marketing.

I've even visited the owners monstrous pond (on a P.P.A tour) - it wasn't well landscaped when I was there but massive nevertheless. I'd love one just like it (except that I'd put a lot more perennials around mine) :-)

At 1:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very much enjoyed your pond posts as my son and I are currently wading into our own little pond project and needed some non-commercial commonsense info on what we're getting into. Thanks, Rich in Michigan

At 10:46 AM, Blogger Alex-san said...

Great post Doug,

I love it when people speak the truth instead of kowtowing to big companies. Too many watergardening services and products are full of marketing spiel to get us to hand over what's left of our disposable income.
A point I would like to raise, without geting into the rocks at the bottom debate, is that companies like Aquascape have come in because people want a watergarden without the effort. When you say that maintenance is simple I think you are being modest about your own abilities.
The clue is in the title - 'Watergardening'- like other forms of gardening requires attention now and again but for many the only attention they expected was to feed the fish.
I get your point about the pond looking natural, but when does mother nature build a pond of 500 gallons which constantly recycles over a waterfall and is full of fish.

All the best Alex.


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