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POND PLANTS - Am I worrying over nothing?

WALES, United Kingdom Gb

Hi all!

I purchased a starter pond kit which I popped in the pond last week - see blog 'On Golden Pond'. I did as the kit said and popped the marginal into one basket with clay and small gravel on top, 6 oxygenators in the second basket with clay and small gravel on top and the miniature lily in the third basket with clay and gravel. Finally, the 2 floaters wer popped on along with the snails.

Everything seemed fine until the past 2-3 days. The water has gone very murky and the lily will not open and is half under water. I'm really new to all of this and may be worrying for no real reason but a few questions:

1. Should the water be murky or is this just a change that happens in the process of 'settling in'?

2. Should I have cut the lily off before planting as it said to remove any buds and mature leaves? I did remove one leaf but left averrything else. Another leaf has since detached itself from the crown of the lily with its stem and was floating loose in the water - why?

Further details: We've had torrential rain on and off for a few days now. Sunnier today but Ali says the lily did not open.

Am I doing something wrong do you think? It suggested clay in the baskets so I used what was dug up to install the pond and covered the tops with small gravel, washed beforehand, again, as suggested.

Please put me out of my misery folks! I feel I'm failing miserably here!!

Thanks in advance.



Oh heck OB....your not failing miserably! All ponds look mucky when they are first planted up, so don't worry...the water will clear when the "balance" is right! Not sure about your water lily...I've never grown one...but I'm sure it'll settle in soon :)

29 Aug, 2009


Oh good! And thanks. I look at everyone's gardens on here and think...WOW! I am amazed by the abundance of knowledge and help/support that is so forthcoming and it does ease your fears somewhat.

Being a complete novice, you just 'never know' if you're doing right for doing wrong!

I was concerned as it started off fine but has gone murky. I guess it will as the clay, plants and bits settle into the water. Wonder about the lily though!

Thanks for the re-assurance and your front garden looks brilliant!!

29 Aug, 2009


Aww, thanks OB :)
Ponds take a while to settle down...eventually all the muck sinks to the bottom, but you do go through a "pea soup" most stuff in gardening, you need a little patience, lol.

P.S. I've just Googled water lilies...and the crown of the plant (the growing tip) shouldn't be below the level of the gravel...

29 Aug, 2009


will check it out then. I'm sure it is above but I may have got it worng. Thanks again.

29 Aug, 2009


Crazydi right all ponds look like yours at first. The water lily bud was best cut off. But not to worry it has to reach the surface and can take several days to open once it does the flowers don't last long but are stunning. Cut the dead flower off when it is full of water. Try to disturb the water as little as possible it is also usual for it to turn green.
The lily pads will produce shade and help to reduce the algee that turn it green.
Frogs and newts will just arrive mine did. if you want them to stay you need plants they can hide in near the pond.if they have to cross wide open areas with no cover such as lawns they tend to get killed.
When you do get them late afternoon and evening is a good time to see them as they leave the pond.
Get a net and remove the dead leaves that will start to fall soon so as they do not rot down in the pond. If you have fish do not hit the ice to break it as the vibration can kill them. But if it does freeze over use a kettle to melt a small hole to let out the gases that build up and can also kill the fish. Never add tap water if you have fish either treat it or let it stand for 5 das to get rid of the chlorine.
I love my pond and the original fish will be 11 in january. the wild life it attracts can be stunning. Good luck You learn as you go along.

29 Aug, 2009


Wow. Thanks Drc726!

Very informative and helpful.

We have some cover around the pond but maybe need to pop some more plants down further out from the pond for the frogs etc.

When you say cut the dead flower off, do you mean stem and all or just below the flower head?

No fish or any plans to get some. I'm takiing leaves out daily already and will be constructing a bamboo/netting cover this coming week on my day off to pop loosely over the pond to catch the falling leaves.

Thanks again for the sound advice!

29 Aug, 2009


Clay soil is very rich in nutrients. Using it in your plants, will have allowed the nutrients to wash out into the surrounding water. Together with sunlight, algae will have multiplied significantly, very rapidly.
If you have the space, plant a tall specimen on the south side of your pond, or in an adjacent bed. The shade it casts will help to subdue algae growth, and provide you with beautiful shadows across the water.

30 Aug, 2009


I just cut mine off as far as I can reach and empty the water in the head back in to the pond. 'The Rock and Water Garden Expert' By Dr D.G.Hessayon available at garden centres is the one that got me started its part of his 'garden expert series.
If you do not have fish you will get less water disturbance - churning up debris and the murkyness will settle quicker.
We love our frogs we have had a three legged one for some years. Slug pellets can harm them and any thing that eats frogs. Male frogs may stay in the bottom of the pond during the winter.
Our frogs just came yet I have never seen any frog spawn
Lovely blue crane flies and other things will visit you next year. Be very careful when adding things which may have tiny weeds as they can take over.

30 Aug, 2009


Good point Burgandy - that is what I did and in the very hot spell I put my parasol over it too. I also have a bird bath and feeding table near mine as the water attracts the birds. The tree to the south also gives birds a safe place.
I would have expected the starter kit to suggest aquatic soil?

30 Aug, 2009


Thanks both!

It's mostly in shade to be honest and not much sunshine in Wales so it algae may not multiply too quick - lol! The south side is covered by the garage wall but will look at something on the west side though as that is where it gets most sun.

The limited instructions that came with the kit suggested clay but I'm sure it will be fine in the end!!

Drc726: I only have a small pond so could reach in and cut at the crown if necessary. There is also one mature leaf turning yellow with brown spots. Guess he needs to be removed as well!! Will another flower grow back eventually?

30 Aug, 2009


aaaah bless
our pond was gross first off, still is pretty gross as we have a shallow area like a puddle

think you are doing a fab job,

we didnt use clay to sink our pond plants we used a soil compost mix and lots of stones to weight it down but its not a problem different places suggest different things

x x x

30 Aug, 2009


The flowers just appear from time to time. do not cut near the crown a few inches above will be fine. Take yellow leaves off .
Some floaters die, off some sink to the bottom and re appear check which you have?
Best left to itself now to settle in.

30 Aug, 2009


Thanks again to all of you for your advice. I will take heed and do as you've said. Cut the flower a few inches above crown. remove yallow leaf and basicaly leave to settle in itself and not fret so much!! lol!

Cheers everyone.

Thanks for the 'add' Mookins

30 Aug, 2009


A couple of poins to add to the excellent advice given above.
Make sure the leaves of your waterlily are at water level and not below it. If necessary, raise the pot with a brick underneath it to get it to the right level. As the leaf stems grow longer, you can lower the pot but keep the foliage above the water level.
If you are going to get any more plants for the pond, also buy a bag of aquatic compost for planting them. This is low in nutrients and will help to keep the water clearer.

30 Aug, 2009


Thanks Andrewr!

Probably not much room for any more plants as only a small pond. I have got a brick under the lily basket but may put another just to play safe.

I'm sure it will settle over time and become a little less murky. Thanks for the extra advice though. Appreciate it and will be out there on Tuesday when I'm off. hammering down at mo!!

30 Aug, 2009


do you know which type of lily? there are some that are only meant to be in 10-12" of water and others that are happy at 24" and my pink ones are happy at 36". But the cloudyness will settle as others have already said.

30 Aug, 2009


It was just a miniature lily Seaburngirl which you can see on my blog Hey you, get offa my cloud. Ali unwrapped the plants so not sure if it had a name. Are you able to tell from the image on the blog?

30 Aug, 2009

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