This may be one of the simplest of projects you’ll come across, but it is also one of the most striking. To create “the garden,” choose a variety of water plants and feature each individually in its own container. In this arrangement, water moss floats freely, while pennywort, vallis, and amazon sword are anchored in beds of river stones.
- Tall clear glass containers
- Aquatic plants
- Black river stones
- Filtered, unchlorinated water
- Choose which container best suits each plant, and work one at a time. For example, taller plants will thrive in slender vertical shapes, while spreading plants such as pennywort will need a wider container.
- Layer a few river stones into the bottom of the container for a base. Carefully remove the plant from any packaging and remove any yellowing or damaged leaves. Decide on positioning; once you have an arrangement that feels comfortable, add in more stones to cover up the root basket if there is one, and anchor the plant in place.
- Start adding filtered, unchlorinated water slowly a little bit at a time so as not to disrupt the plants or the arrangement.
- Continue adding water slowly until you reach about 2 in from the top.
Because the water is standing and has no aeration, you’ll need to replace it over the course of a week. Keep a bucket close by and scoop out about one-quarter of the water daily and replace it with fresh water. Adding liquid carbon and an aquatic plant fertilizer (available at aquarium supply stores) will keep the plants healthy. With good care, the plants should last several years. Avoid placing aquatic gardens in direct sunlight to limit the growth of algae; filtered sunlight is best. If you must move a container, remove some of the water and always pick it up from the bottom, not the top.
As featured in the Spring 2017 Edition of Beekman 1802 Almanac Magazine. For more check out Bring the Outdoors In: Garden Projects for Decorating and Styling Your Home (Chronicle Books, 2013)