What is a water garden container?
A water gardening container is almost anything that holds water and is non-toxic. The idea is not only aesthetics, but practicality. The water garden container needs to be of suitable size and shape for the gardeners needs. The outer appearance of the container is also important; however it still needs to be impermeable as well. The ecology of the water garden is also essential, as it is a very delicate and sensitive environment that gets even more so the smaller the container.
Container water gardening can be done with just about anything that holds water. From as large as an old portable swimming pool to a pudding vase; size is as limited as the human imagination and available resources will permit. But shape and size are what determine the initial ecology of the water garden, as it will influence what kind of plants, ornaments, rocks, soil, fish, pumps and filters can or need to be used. If the container is deeper, then deeper water plants like anacharis and lilies can be used, but if not, then perhaps only as much as moss growing on some rocks and a bog plant or two can be used. Bigger is not necessarily better, but certainly can open the variety of ecological choice. When in doubt, bog plants can usually be the most survival ready choices, for smaller containers.
When thinking of the aesthetic nature of the water garden container, material is just as important as shape and size is. Concrete, wood, ceramic, plastic, glass, tub, barrel, pot, bowl, pitcher, mug, cup, vase… etc. any of these materials are fine, but some may need liners, such as in the case of the bamboo basket, woven by hand for example. Liners, as well as containers, must be non-toxic, which means no reused plastic car oil bottles. Polyurethane black plastic can be found sold by the square foot at local department stores, and can take up to 200 years to biodegrade in a landfill, so usually work great. But plastic materials will absorb toxins into them, so no reusing any plastics that have been contaminated, by unfriendly toxic agents that could potentially destroy the careful balance involved in a smaller water garden ecosystem.
Harmony and balance are the keys to water garden containers. If well planned with detailed calculation, and sublime efficiency, almost any water garden concept can become reality. But ecological balance is an art, and for smaller more complex water gardens, the containers, size, shape, and appearance make the foundation for crafting the ideal project. Aquatic gardens are thriving miniature worlds of microorganisms, plants and sometimes even fish. The exchange for oxygen, carbon dioxide, waste and food gets ever more complicated, the smaller and smaller the container, and artificial filtering, oxygenation, carbon dioxide injection, all become more and more essential for the relative survival and growth in such water gardens.
“Size and shape”, “aesthetics and appearance”, “harmony and balance” are the concepts to keep in mind when choosing the water garden container. Size and shape will determine the water garden containers initial limitations. Aesthetics and appearance will give form to strategic design planning and focus choices around the water gardens intentions. Harmony and balance will suggest what kind of ecosystems can and cannot be used, making last choices even easier. In this way choosing the proper container for the water garden, becomes a quick and fulfilling personal experience that either expresses internal emotions or hones the intellect; both though the direct contact with nature itself.