Water Garden Life

Creative ecological design with floating island gardens

Water Garden Life

The best options for a beautiful and unique water garden

Whether you are a landscape architect, Koi pond enthusiast, water gardener, into aquaponics, love the idea of creating a floating pollinator arboretum in your backyard, or just find yourself in the position of a private pond owner, you are aware of the importance of ecological design and have probably asked the question:

What are the best plants for my pond?

All plants increase dissolved oxygen in water, the roots provide hiding spots for small fish, and promote natural filtration. But you know that not all plants in a pond are good. Duckweed ranks among the worst. Even some good plants, like Bulrush, Cattail, and Pennywort, can be very invasive.

The best plants for your pond depend on a number of factors, including
— the size and depth of your pond
— the features of your pond
— whether you are looking to do some pond rehabilitation
— if you fight to control pond algae
— whether it is a natural pond or a constructed pond, and
— how much direct sunlight is on the pond.

Do you want native species or exotic plants? How much maintenance do you want to do? And of course, what is your intention for the water? How do you want to use the water feature on your property?

Do any of these statements reflect you?

— I am an aquascape hobbyist
— I am a koi pond enthusiast
— I’m looking to beautify my pond
— I have pet swans or other waterfowl
— I am looking for maintenance free planter
— I’m looking to beautify a pond at my company
— I need to restore the health of a pond at our golf course
— I’m looking for a sustainable way to improve water quality
— I want to provide a safe haven for endangered waterfowl or provide fish refuge
— I am interested in a green product that’s in line with conservation biology
— I’m searching for an environmentally friendly, nature-inspired (biomimetic) product to clean and restore rivers, lakes, ponds, streams

However you come into looking for plants for your pond, we want you to consider the unique design and abundant benefits of adding a floating island to your pond.

Planting a water garden for beauty or as a floating pollinator arboretum

You can choose plants to attract birds, butterflies, pollinators, and many other species.

Consider planting pickerel weed, which adds color and beauty to a pond. In addition, dragonflies and damselflies often lay their eggs on the plant stems near the water, and its sweet nectar attracts bees and butterflies.

There are literally hundreds of aquatic iris hybrids to choose for your water garden. Some of our favorites are the “Kirk Strawn,” the “Black Gamecock” and the “Clyde Redmond.”

Black Gamecock Iris

The cardinal flower is bright red and gets three feet tall! Aquatic mint has a lovely scent that attracts butterflies and bees. And creeping Jenny is a lovely, low, rock creeping plant that can be used as a groundcover.

Now, if you add a small island for this purpose, you can plant the island to compliment your existing landscape. Grow a floating flower garden with any of your favorite annuals or perennials, or even build a floating meditation garden, complete with moss, a Japanese Maple tree, and a Buddha.

Look at this picture at the Epcot center where landscape architecture with water features included floral displays.

BioHaven Floating Island Gardens at Epcot show the many uses of the floating island. Spaceship Earth appears behind the monorail over the pond islands
BioHaven Floating Islands are featured at Epcot.

Creating a healthy recreational fishing pond

The mosaic plant has pretty diamond shaped leaves and yellow flowers for part of the year and can work in a partly shaded pond. Fish love to hide under the mosaic plant.

Anacharis is a submerged plant that shoots up petite flowers in the summer. Also a great place for fish to hide and find delicacies to eat.

Parrots feather provides another great place for fish to find shade, but it will require maintenance to keep it from taking over.

Floating circle islands

Native species are a great option if you plan to let your island grow wild.

If you add a floating island to your pond, you are also cooling the water and providing fish the shade and hiding spots under and around the island amongst the roots of the plants that grow through it, as well as places for them to find food.

Practical reasons for plants in your pond: Pond algae control

Water hyacinth is an excellent nutrient remover and does best in full sun.

You might try the movie star of all water plants, the water lily. There are so many different strains of water lily, and you can learn more about them here, at https://iwgs.org/

If you are looking for plants that can help provide the maximum pond algae solutions, you may consider a floating island. For pond rehabilitation after a fish kill and improved water quality, planting water plants directly in the water may not be a sufficient solution. The floating islands and the plant root system prevent future fish kills around the area of the island. You can grow virtually anything on our islands, we’ve created a handy list of plants that have worked for us.

Adding an island for algae control multiplies the effects of simply adding plants. In fact, there is no comparison. BioHaven islands offer augmented surface area. The unique design is within the “matrix,” our proprietary blend of fibers which are used to create the BioHaven®. The matrix is important and serves many different functions including water cleansing, as well as extensive root growth on planted islands. MORE SURFACE AREA = MORE MICROBES. Microbes start the feeding frenzy and create a residue known as Biofilm.

BioHaven islands have been used worldwide for habitat management both above and below the waterline. Our marine-grade material is safe and non-toxic to fish and other species. Uses include waterfowl nesting, fish sanctuary or fish refuge, as well as pollinator sites.

What can you imagine for your floating island?

You might also consider a floating island as an unusual and impressive backyard feature. We customize island designs. Perhaps you are into golf? You can use the island to plant sod and create a floating putting green. Virtually anything will grow on these islands.

This is a young planted floating island dock, an original idea for one pond owner to launch his canoe.

Or maybe you want to create a safe home for your pet swans? Plant a resilient mixture of perennial grass, as well as plants that will establish themselves quickly so as not to be gobbled up as shoots.

Swan Island

Maybe you’d like to float your vegetable or herb garden. Aquaponics is really starting to take off, and we discovered that floating islands also represent a form of hydroponics. BioHaven® floating islands are great for growing edible crops … no green thumb required.

hands hold a green seedling in water soil blend to illustrate the soil health for planting

Grow virtually any edible plant in your BioHaven® floating garden. Choose from a variety of edibles such as fresh herbs, vegetables, fruits, salad greens, and even flowers. Plants thrive in our unique blend of fibers known as the matrix. The BioHaven® matrix provides the perfect environment for natural, rapid plant growth without the use of herbicides or pesticides.

tomatoes growing on floating islands
BioHaven floating islands can grow edible plants like this lush tomato garden.

Depending upon your area, there may be some local sources for plants, and your local garden center can help guide you in the right direction. Keep in mind that the BioHaven can grow either terrestrial or aquatic species.

Have fun choosing plants for your water garden, and consider incorporating floating islands into your landscape design.

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