Gardening Guide

61. WATER GARDENING Section


 


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61. WATER GARDENING Article

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WATER GARDENING

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Is there any element in nature that can be as simultaneously soothing and dramatic as water? Most people love to hear the roar of a waterfall, the laughter of water tumbling over rocks or splashing in a fountain, and the murmuring noise of a small stream. They love to see the sparkle of sunlight on falling water as it makes each droplet a tiny prism, the rippling effect of the wind across the surface of a pool, and the reflections cast by still water when there is hardly a breeze.

For these and many other reasons, water gardening is one of the most challenging and rewarding forms of horticulture. And even though as far as modern horticulture is concerned water gardening is a relatively new art, the practice does in fact go far back in history. The ancient Mesopotamians, Egyptians, Greeks and Romans, as well as the rulers of Arabia and China all used water gardening to beautify their homes, palaces, places of worship and important public areas. They cultivated exotic plants and sometimes stocked their pools with beautifully coloured fish.

But in those long gone days only the very rich could enjoy water gardens. Slaves usually did the actual work of water gardening, which frequently involved hauling great quantities of water. There wasnít always a natural spring to keep the fountain gushing in a sultanís cool, shady courtyard.

Thanks to twenty-first century technology, however, a far greater number of people can share the pleasures of water gardening. Most people, of course, cannot replicate the grand water gardens of a Caesar or a Chinese emperor, but they can have a garden on a less ostentatious scale that is just as beautiful and provides an equal measure of joy.

Your water garden can take on many different forms. You can build it around or adjacent to a naturally occurring wet area on your property, such as a spring, brook or marsh. Or you can use an artificially constructed pool or fountain as the focal point of your water garden. You can adorn your water garden from a vast array of flowers, shrubs and trees. You can also have an aesthetically pleasing water garden that has no plants at all. You can add fish to your pool if you desire. Or you can attract birds, butterflies and other living things to your water garden by the selection of certain species of flora or the placing of feeders. You can decorate your water garden with statuary, or enhance it with stonework. Whatever your choices, water gardening will provide you with the means to be at your creative best, and a place of tranquil beauty for you to enjoy.