Can you enjoy the visual beauty and soothing sounds of water without digging a hole for a pond?

The answer is yes, and the solution is simple: Take any waterproof container, fill it with water and allow the chlorine to dissipate (for 24 hours, or use a chemical de-chlorinator). Then add some small potted aquatic plants and floaters such as Salvinia or water fern (Azolla) and you’ve got your own portable pond.

These water features can go just about anywhere — your patio, deck or balcony — and tinier ones can be transformed into tabletop centrepieces. Imagine the dramatic foliage of papyrus (Cyperus papyrus), taro (Colocasia) or spiral rush (Juncus effusus “Spiralis”) sitting next to your summer flowerbeds.

With these diminutive water gardens, otherwise invasive ornamentals such as Houttuynia cordata “Chameleon” and golden creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia “Aurea”) become handsome, contained marginal specimens; for herb enthusiasts, there’s even aquatic mint (Mentha aquatica).

Local water plant suppliers have done a great job responding to the need for smaller-scale stock by packaging specimens in ready-to-plant plastic mesh baskets. Caring for these containerized plants means simply removing any dead foliage, dividing or repotting as necessary, and feeding them in spring by pushing a compressed aquatic fertilizer tablet (such as 10-14-8) into the soil.

The exception here would be water lilies (Nymphaea), which bloom best with a monthly feeding from May to July. A few dwarf or pygmy water lily cultivars to consider for water bowls are “Pygmaea Helvola” (pale yellow), “Perry’s Baby Red” (rich garnet) and “Joanne Pring” (deep pink).

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