Throughout history water has been an integral element in gardens. It is hard to imagine any famous garden without some natural or man made water feature. We need only look in our own backyard to discover this: Congress Park in Saratoga Springs. Not only did the designers incorporate the mineral springs into their grand scheme, they included a variety of water features to “heal one’s spirits”.
These once exclusive city park and wealthy home water gardens now range in design, size, shape and budget to allow the general homeowner the pleasure of experiencing water in their own personal spaces. As we center around our homes enjoying, improving and even running businesses from it, water gardens can increase the pleasure from these daily surroundings.
The soothing sound of water can be just the right medicine at the end of the day. Tucked within our gardens it give us reason to pause, take in the sights and sounds and reflect on the importance of nature in our technology driven society. The social element of gathering around water cannot be understated in our rather detached world of texting and emails. Children have always be drawn to the playfulness of water. But a new mother recently told me she takes her sometimes fussy baby out to hear the waterfall and it immediately calms this little one. The sounds and sights of water can also bring joy to our elder population. A 95 year old gentlemen shared that his “wife loves sitting by this water garden each day. I have never seen her take to something as she has this in all my 65 years of marriage”.
For the avid gardener, it opens a whole new world of gardening skills sets and challenges. “Right plant right place” maxim is king when selecting plants that will naturalize the nooks, crannies, rocks and elevations now present with a water feature. Learning and enjoying the uniqueness of water plants versus standard soil based plantings provides added interest to gardeners.
We all like to see the beauty of wildlife in our gardens. Water gives the birds a daily space for their bathing. Last week I saw a gorgeous yellow finch atop our stream bed. In our 20 years in our home, I never saw this gorgeous creature until we added water. Add a well placed butterfly attracting plant to the water’s edge and you will host a variety of butterflies to your space. Create an ecosystem and they will come! Frogs and newts seem to appear from nowhere!
If a pond is your idea of a backyard water feature, fish are such an enjoyable element. Like the loyal dog welcoming you home at the end of the day, fish gather and await your feeding. Although the plants add the visual beauty, fish become the real interactive element to our water garden.
Today’s water features have become “greener”. Not only are certain brands of pumps and lights the most efficient on the market, water conservation components are now available. You can actually “capture the rainwater” with your feature. One water garden recently constructed here in the Saratoga area boasts the ability to capture 23,000 gallons of rainwater/snow melt from the roof and store 500 gallons underground for recycling.
So as your garden season comes to a close, consider the enjoyment and infusion of nature water elements can bring. to the garden. When your standard garden begins to wind down this season, water gardens give a welcome extension with their enduring power.