The Occasional Gardener: Ideas + Aesthetics + Inspiration from the Garden

Water Feature


When I went to buy the ceramic pots for the dark verandah with my friend and neighbour, she drew my attention to a large water pot (top left corner) with a purple water lily in it. She had wanted to buy it the last time she was there a year ago, and there it still was. I asked its price and it was a steal since it had a small crack. I asked if they would include the water lily and they agreed and so a water pot with a purple water lily in it came to be the focal point in the design of this corner of the garden.

I've seen a fair few water pots in my travels here. There were the ones in Malacca with LotusSagittaria Japonica and Colocasia. When I went to visit Rimba Ilmu botanic garden I took note of their interesting assortment of aquatic plants. There was also the gorgeous water pot at Rimbun Dahan with golden gardenias floating in it.

Apart from the water lily though,  I haven't really done much more than just add some penny wort and a couple of stalks of Pandanus that I've seen grow really well in water, in fact I pulled these two stalks out of a monsoon drain near where I live. This is largely because the  water lily is doing a rather spectacular job. It appears every day, often in a different place, sometimes there's two flowers. With the drab dark colors of the overall color scheme, the vivid purple blue flower provides a sharp accent. I believe it is a Nympaeae Nouchali or Blue Star Water Lily.

Then of course I needed to populate my water feature with some fish to avoid it becoming a mosquito breeding ground. I got four Golden Gourami who are thriving on whatever finds its way in there, including the ants that march up my bamboo that I apprehend and send to their watery fate. There are now more than four fish in there so life must be good in that aquatic haven.

What is it about about a water feature that garden visitors find so delightful? Is it the shimmer and ripple of shadows and reflections and the occasional dart of something below the surface that keeps the eye engaged. Or is it because it's an ecosystem or 'world' in it's own right rich with all kinds of detail that commands all our attention.

In any case the water feature is a big hit. As soon as a visitor enters the porch they head straight towards it and stare into it for a few minutes. I do it myself somedays, but in my case I am always incredulous that it never looks the same, everything seems to have moved around and I wonder if my fish are still alive  and then I catch a glimpse of one of them. And of course my neighbor who contends that the water pot is in fact hers makes a beeline straight for it whenever she visits.



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