Guest Author - Sheri Ann Richerson
One of the most popular water garden accessories to hit the marketplace is been the Floating Planters and Pools. The Floating Planters made their debut at the 1999 Chelsea Flower Show. Their unique design which was conceived by Paul Cooper won a Royal Horticultural Society Award. Cooper wanted to create a water feature with a difference. The interest level in his western red cedar planters was so high that he teamed up with QualCraft to develop the Floating Garden range of products which now includes a variety of planters and pools. It has only been in the past year that these products have made their way into the hearts of American gardeners.
Floating Gardens offer several advantages over more traditional methods of growing water garden plants. For one, the planters freely drift across the water’s surface which creates a spectacular display of color and movement. The continual drifting allows visitors to the garden to see many different views from the same angle which traditionally had not been possible because of the permanent position that is typical of standard plantings. However, should the grower prefer the plants to remain stationary, the Floating Planters can easily be attached to a fixed point so that they maintain a permanent position on the waters surface instead of float freely as they were designed to do. A teetering point is attached to the filter unit specifically for this option.
There is a variety of plants that can be grown in the Floating Planters, some of which may not fair quite as well if they were fully submersed in a pond. The level of submersion determines which plants the planter can successfully grow. This task is accomplished by loading the planters with the correct amount of gravel which in turn allows the grower to adjust the depth at which the planters float. Typically the planters depth in the water will range anywhere from three to five inches. The real advantage to this is that plants that prefer different conditions can be grown in the planters. From plants that prefer dry or normal conditions which would require the planter to be submersed three inches deep, to bog plants that prefer to be half an inch lower to aquatic plants which would require the planter to be submersed five inches deep. The wide variety of plants that can be successfully grown in the Floating Gardens makes the overall effect more stunning. This is especially true when visitors see non-traditional pond plants growing in water. Plants that have been successfully grown in the Floating Gardens include Heucheras, Lamiums, Phormiums, Heathers, ornamental grasses, Cannas and Bamboos.
The overall design of the Floating Planters allows for minimal care. The Floating Planters draw water from the pond which allows them to be self-watering. However, this does require the grower to be more observant of their plants to make sure they are positioned at the proper depth at all times. Considering water conservation is at an all time critical high, allowing plants to take up just what they need can be a real plus for gardeners.