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Ponds, fountains and gazing pools create a tranquil mood


From fountains and basins to small ponds and gazing pools, outdoor water features can bring a Zen quality to the landscape.

Paul Edling, owner of Bloodgood Pond & Landscape in Horsham, Montgomery County, said clients and prospects for his services to edit or add a water feature to the home landscape increased during the pandemic as “staycations” were a popular way to relax and unwind.

“We take the position any pond is a great pond and to keep (property owners) excited about their ponds means doing it right. That’s the key to happiness,” Edling explained.

From the sound of trickling water in a smaller water element or fountain to aquatic (plant) gardening or adding fish, it’s important to understand what your water inhabitants will require to make sure they not only survive — but thrive.

“You can have a water feature in just about any setting just try to make the water feature look as natural as possible,” Edling explained.

Taking the surrounding landscape into account, he said a priority for new installations is to make the pond or water feature look as natural as possible and “not like a man-made feature.”

“Eventually if you’re into water features, you may want something bigger or better,” he said.

From ponds to pondless water-falls, rock reserves, a patio container pond or fountain, smaller water features still require maintenance. Check with your local nursery or service provider for products, natural additives or maintenance schedule requirements.

Expectation setting

When it comes to healthy pond fish, work with a reputable outlet for sales and select fish that are healthy looking, swimming and active in their retail holding tanks, he said.

“Look at the (sales) operation and how the fish are cared for. When it comes down to what fish to pick, you don’t have to pick the big one — fish will grow,” Edling said.

In fact fish will grow to the size of the container in which they are kept, he said.

And when it comes to treatments, he encourages clients to observe the pond and “let the pond talk to you. It will let you know what it needs,” he said.

“No one wants a green pool or dirty pond,” he said.

Aquatic plants

Pond plants add texture, color and movement to a pond — with or without fish.

Aquatic gardens can be an extension hobby for the gardener, offering different types of plant material to grow and enjoy as well as a different plant medium in which to grow things.

Consider vertical and horizontal interest when adding plants to a pond or container water garden.

Pennywort and water lilies are broad leafed surface plants. They provide hiding spots for fish as well as shaded areas for them to escape hot summer sun.

Plants provide several outdoor pond benefits — whether or not you include fish in your water features.

For filtering the water to creating natural interest on the surface and providing shelter for fish aquatic vegetation can be annual or perennial.

For annuals, make sure you remove plants at the end of the season. If left to die in the water, plants will decompose and can harm wintering fish, taking oxygen out the water during this vulnerable time of the year.

Check with your retail provider for instructions regarding water plant care, uses and seasonal removal or storage for best results and enjoyment of your aquatic garden plants.

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