Sunday, August 19, 2018

What I learned - Water in the Garden

Since it is still ridiculously hot, let's go back to Austin some more... Although, there is some very exciting progress happening, related to this specific thing I learned, that i can't wait to document here! It just needs to be fixed/finished first...

There were a lot of very beautiful water features that we saw during the Austin Fling. I image much like in the desert, water is always welcome in Texas!

The beauty started right from day one at the Wild Flower Center.
that fern (?) looks happy!
Of course, later on day 1, most of the roof turned into a waterfall/water feature, but that's ok!
They also had some beautiful stock ponds
and in ground ponds, covered with lillies
I think this modern water feature at Mirador is supposed to look like that, and the rain was not to blame...
i love the disappearing edge type water features - filled to overflowing...
Jenny Stocker's small water feature in the shade was no less lovely for being smaller.
the extra rocks are a great way to make it look larger and fill the space
This slightly larger one was in her veggie garden - a great starter size, no?
lillies again!
Of course, no discussion about Austin and water features would be complete without looking at Pam's stock tank garden:
So pretty!
A view from slightly up - i love the fountain in there also.
and everything else, of course. 
There were also a lot of pools in Austin. All of the ones on the tour stood out for being beautifully integrated into the whole garden. Some where "stand out", like the gorgeous pool in Tanglewild's court yard:
a great combo of pool & landscaping
in other gardens, the pool almost blended into the view or the garden.
this was at Kirk Moring - it looks like an extension of the river!
In Jenny's garden, it basically looked like a very rectangular pond had appeared in her garden.
The pond in the Japanese garden at Zilker didn't have the clearest water, but did have lillies, and a lantern/pedoga statue.
And Koi!
Fountains, both small and large, were also great examples of how to bring water into the garden.
the mermaid cove at Lucinda's was great. 
this water feature at Lady Bird Johnson Center was gorgeous, and looked like fun!
A slightly smaller, and very restful/zen like fountain at B. Jane's garden. 
I also really loved that plant combo with the fountain! I thought it was a great example of putting a fountain in a planting bed.  At Tanglewild, this fountain on the patio was also a stand out for me. I image the bees and birds like it too.
how do people make this work with no visible cords/solar panels/water lines?
One of my favorite pools of the whole trip was the one at Tait Moring's garden - the landscaping around it was gorgeous!
that wall & those plants and that tree!
And we were even allowed to put our feet in to cool off a bit!
apparently this is a fling tradition?

Thoughts on how to apply this lesson to my garden:
  • Since i specifically bought the house with no pool, we won't be adding one of those!
  • I do think i should finally pull the trigger on trying a stock pond, however. Even if i start with a smaller one, i can use some of the ideas i saw in Austin to make it feel more substantial. 
  • When i add the stock pond, it should be hooked up to the irrigation system and electrical - to make sure i can have a fountain/pump and add water as needed to account for evaporation. 
  • Some kind of smaller water feature/fountain on the patio might be good as well. If it also looks good empty, that might be even better. Austin is a LOT more humid than here, so my guess is that i'd be refilling often. 
  • If i do get a pond, i want water lilies! Probably topical ones - hopefully they would like the warm water? And i should figure out how to keep the water as clear as possible...


  1. That is a thorough survey of all the ponds/fountains at the Fling. Thought-evoking to see them all collected together. Excellent post. I liked the B. Jane fountain so much because that is exactly what birds like for baths and drinking. The plants surrounding it were beautiful, as well.

    Plant material that covers the water will keep it clear. Movement keeps the water free of mosquitoes because they want still water. I ran a pvc pipe from electric plug to fountain pump, ran the cord through that, painted the pipe brown, and it is hidden under mulch.

    You can add a gadget to fill your feature automatically as the water evaporates. Sensor, or float (as in a toilet tank).

    1. Thank you! all definitely good ideas, which have been very useful!

  2. Tait Moring's pool was definitely a favorite of mine. I can't wait to see what you come up with!

    1. I've been looking at a lot of your recent blog posts for inspiration! this planning phase is very fun!

  3. Your "What I Learned" posts are a great way to cover the fling gardens. Can't wait to see your water feature(s!)

    1. We'll see what i come up with. so far, it's water plants in buckets, but that's not the end goal :)

  4. Like Peter, I like this way of covering the Fling. I was also impressed by the way Austin gardeners handled their water features. The 3-tiered fountain we inherited with our current house was so important in my view that I asked it to be written into our offer (not that there was much chance the former owner planned to move that concrete behemoth anyway). My only problem with the feature is the pull it exerts on raccoons - while we were gone this past weekend, they literally pulled out the tubing that carries the water from one tier to the next 2 so now we've got a repair job in front of us. I hope you don't have raccoons...

    1. I'm glad people like these posts - they've been very helpful to me for sure. I'm now starting to see where i'm actually implementing some of these things as i can start to garden again! And no, no raccoons. Just neighborhood cats...

  5. Yes! Water is so important in a hot-climate garden. I like the examples you show here -- so many good ones. Have fun making your own stock-tank pond!

    1. Thank you! The planning phase has been fun - i just need to remember to start kinda small...

  6. Great post! My favorites—as you’ve helped remind me—BJane’s, Tait Moring’s, and Lucinda’s. I guess I have a wide range there! Suggestion for your own stock tank: site it in some shade or part shade. Metal can really heat things up!

    1. That is a wide range, but i agree that they are all great! And so many good examples too! Your suggestion is a good one, except i have almost no shade/part shade...

  7. Enjoyed the post - nice to be reminded of the beauty we saw!

    1. i'm enjoying the look back as well! It's helping me remember all the great gardens we got to see.

  8. Good study. I've seen drip emitters that feed into a smaller fountain, though Hoov's idea of a float sounds better. One thing I learned my last water feature was to turn off the pump when I went to bed, then turn it back on when I woke up...decreases oxygen and algae growth in warmer weather. I also used algaecide occasionally.

    1. I think i'm going with a drip emitter, on a separate timer from the rest of the garden. I'm still trying to figure out what to do with pump for on/off - perhaps an "outdoor smart outlet" so i can control it from my phone?


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