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Virginia Home Grown: Pond Plants

>>Many homeowners who have ponds in their backyard can
benefit from watching how the summertime ponds
of our farmlands and of our wilder
areas are behaving. And here at Maymont,
we try to mimic that by showing the different layers that are pretty not
obvious all the time but are there anyway. And here we have to start
off with along our edges. We have a pickerelweed,
our native pickerelweed, which is a wonderful plant, as well as our
native Blue Flag Iris and these plants being the
edge of the pond plants are able to grow up on the land as well as in shallow water and then moving on out
are the surface plants, the ones that are floating
and a favorite of mine, which forms a big mat
is the Pennywort here and think about all
of the nutrients that it’s filtering
from the water through that
wonderful root system, as well as the mat
when it’s fully formed is creating shade for the water and helping to control the
temperature of the water, which is important for the fish. And then another floater
that we have is a fern. It’s a little fern
called Azolla. And it’s a cute
little tiny thing and it turns actually
beautiful burgundy in the fall. But another very popular
and well known plant is the Duckweed
and I always note that with however tiny
that duckweed plant is it’s got quite an
extensive root system. And finally, you have to think
about what’s under the water. And this is where
people start going, hmm, because they want their
ponds to be crystal clean. But it’s those submerged
plants that are so important. And here we have Coontail. And this is a great plan
for being able to oxygenate the water as well as being able to provide nursery
habitat for fish and reptiles and amphibians. Another component
that we tend not to consider is the algae. It forms large mats underneath the water creating
wonderful places for fish to be able to hide, as well as for
amphibians and reptiles and fish to propagate
for a nursery. And the best thing
about the algae is, it is constantly
here year round, cool water or warm water. However, it does die
and when it dies, it floats to the
top and forms mats and many people
then judge this area to be swampy and not clean. When it’s the opposite. It’s a very healthy pond. Here at Maymont because
it is the Japanese Garden. We want it to look nice. Every few weeks we
physically remove the algae that’s floated
to the surface by hand with a rake and put
it in our compost pile for the soil in our gardens. So take a few minutes, look at the ponds
as you drive through the countryside and consider
what’s along those edges so that you can
incorporate these elements into the pond in your backyard.

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