Go With What Works - Page 2
by Dave Brigante, Tualatin, Oregon
See what else Dave Brigante grows by clicking
Native ornamental aquatics and tried and true
performers top the list!
Click images to enlarge
Continued from Page 1
Lizard Tail (Saururus cernuus) is another dual-purpose
plant. We use it as a ground cover of sorts, living year after
year in the garden like any other perennial. It even survives
under our mere four inches (10cm) of ice cover that we occasionally
get some winters.
The hardy Lobelias (Lobelia cardinalis and L. siphilitica)
add great summer color to our local ponderings. The Red Cardinal
tolerates going through the winter submerged in water better
than the Great Blue. As a terrestrial though, Ive never
seen a better survivor than ole blue.
Blue Himalayan Primrose (Primula denticulata) provides
reliable spring color. Wow, what a show their blooms make when
planted among marsh marigolds on the pond margins. Our other
favorite is Pink Himalayan Primrose (Primula rosea 'Gigas')
which has short flower stems topped with hot pink flowers. At
ten to twelve inches (25 to 30 cm), they create a great foreground
statement as spring arrives. Both of these are very easy to start
Caltha and Primula
< ^ Primula denticulata
Primula rosea 'Gigas'
Of course, what pond would be complete without a few grasses
to create some added texture variation? Here we use the ones
that have been survivors through and through. Bowles Golden Sedge
(Carex elata 'Bowles Golden') is a beauty! It has bright
canary yellow leaf blades topped by soft white flower stocks.
Mix it with the next one.
Black Flowering Sedge (Carex nigra) does have black
sedge-like flowers but its best attribute is metallic blue foliage.
These two sedges in close proximity blend extremely well. Now
that we have yellow and blue, lets throw in some forest
Carex elata 'Bowles
Cotton grass (Eriophorum angustifolium) really catches
your eye. When the wispy cottony tufts appear in late spring
to early summer they persist for months. This very hardy grass
forms its own motion. When in full bloom, they look like they
are always blowing in the wind.
< Eriophorum angustifolium
< Page 1
The last of the ornamental aquatics Id like to mention
is Cattail (Typha minima and Typha latifolia variegata).
I chose only two of the many varieties of cattails due to the
special attributes of these. Tough little T. minima usually
only reaches 2 to 2 ½ feet (0.6 to 0.8 m) high, sporting
very rounded catkins in the summer.
Variegated Cattail is a showstopper with its green and white
leaves contrasting so well with its large cinnamon-brown cattails.
Both varieties easily survive outdoors in the pond for the winter.
Both of them work as terrestrial plants, too.
< Typha latifolia variegata
This wraps up the synopsis of which aquatic pond and bog plants
grow best here in the Pacific Northwests Willamette area.
I could present many, many more, but I chose these as much for
their reliability as for their stunning impact on an aquatic
Plan your pond or bog plant list with "good bones"
to start with, using outstanding performers suitable for where
you live. They keep your water garden adding beauty to the surroundings
year after year. You, too, can have a bit of Pacific Wonderland
in your own back yard.