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The Waterfall Pond


When we arrived in our Houston-area home, we knew it was only a matter of time before we got a pond. We had come to love the sounds, plants, and wildlife associated with a pond, and wouldn't be without one for long. It took a few months, but by the following spring we engaged a local pond-building company to install one for us. About the same size as our small patio pond back in Pennsylvania, but with a waterfall and bog filtration, and all-around more professional installation than that simple pond I built many years ago.

The pond project came complete with a plant package that included two waterlilies and a variety of marginals suitable for planting in the filtration bog and along the stream; we promptly supplemented this assortment with some additional purchases, so that the pond is already home to quite a few plants. Which is a good thing, because it is also home to several fish, so the plants serve the important function of cleaning up fish waste and keeping the water clear.

In the weeks following the installation of the pond, we added a patio area immediately in front of it, and borders all around – the pond-plopped-in-a-lawn look isn't what we were looking for. We planted some small pennisetum grasses right behind the stream area, looking for air-blown movement to complement the watery movement. Somewhat to my surprise, those grasses grew FAST! By mid-summer, they were quite tall and formed a solid wall behind the pond. That really helped to give the pond its own "room". The photo above was taken in early November, about six months after the waterfall started splashing.

It's fun to have a set of pets outside, to complement our warm-blooded ones inside. Unfortunately we had a minor tragedy along the way: We're on our second batch of fish, after learning the hard way that those chloramine chemicals in tap water really are deadly to goldfish. Leaving a hose running to top off the pond was a bad move, and killed both the originals and all of the offspring they had produced. We promise to be more careful with the new ones (fantails, shubunkens, and a small koi) that took their place.

So far, we're quite pleased with our pond. The sound of water greets us every time we open the back door (and those fish greet us when we take a few steps further to the edge of the pond). Dragonflies and damselflies are drawn to the pond too, and add more movement to the garden. Equally importantly, the pond gives us a reason to be outside, and so has really accelerated the process of transforming a bare lawn into a lively garden.

Mrs. Crane stands guard over the filtration bog, where purple-leaved taro and crinum duke it out with acorus and bacopa

Currently growing in our waterfall pond

Acorus calamus 'Variegatus' (sweet flag; scented striped rush)
Acrostichum danaeifolium (water fern; leather fern)
Bacopa caroliniana (lemon bacopa)
Carex flacca (blue sedge)
Colocasia 'Black Ripple' (elephant ears)
Crinum species (red bog lily)
Equisetum scirpoides (bushy horsetail; dwarf scouring rush;)
Hibiscus coccineus (scarlet rose mallow)
Hymenocallis caribaea 'Variegata' (variegated spider lily)
Juncus effusus f. spiralis (corkscrew rush; spiral rush)
Juncus inflexus 'Blue Arrows' (blue rush)
Lythrum alatum var. lanceolatum (lanceleaf winged loosestrife)
Machaerina rubiginosa 'Variegata' (golden spears; variegated sedge; striped rush)
Myriophyllum aquaticum (parrot's feather)
Nymphaea 'Colorado' (hardy waterlily)
Nymphaea (tropical hybrids) (tropical waterlily)
Nymphoides indica (water snowflake)
Saururus cernuus (lizard's tail)

Currently growing alongside our waterfall pond

Alpinia zerumbet 'Variegata' (variegated shell ginger)
Anthemis cretica (Cretian mat daisy)
Aristolochia fimbriata (white-veined pipevine)
Artemisia 'Parfum d'Ethiopia' (wormwood)
Artemisia 'Powis Castle'
Canna indica (arrowroot)
Ceratotheca triloba (African foxglove)
Chrysanthemum hybrids (garden mum)
Clarkia purpurea ssp. quadrivulnera (four-spotted purple clarkia; winecup clarkia)
Cordyline fruticosa (ti plant)
Coreopsis hybrids (tickseed)
Cuphea hyssopifolia (Mexican heather)
Curcuma australasica 'Aussie Plume' (Aussie plume ginger)
Cymbopogon citratus (lemon grass)
Dianthus turkestanicus
Dicliptera squarrosa (hummingbird plant; Uruguayan firecracker plant)
Eucalyptus cinerea (silver dollar eucalyptus; argyle apple)
Freesia laxa 'Joan Evans'
Gaillardia grandiflora (blanketflower)
Gazania hybrids (Gazania)
Gloriosa superba (gloriosa lily; glory lily)
Gomphrena 'Fireworks' (globe amaranth)
Habranthus gracilifolius (rain lily)
Heterotheca subaxillaris (camphorweed)
Hippeastrum hybrids (amaryllis)
Ipomopsis rubra (standing cypress)
Iris x louisiana (Louisiana iris)
Lagerstroemia 'Midnight Magic' ('PIILAG-V') (crape myrtle)
Leucojum aestivum 'Gravetye Giant' (summer snowflake)
Liriope muscari (lilyturf)
Miscanthus sinensis 'Little Kitten' (maiden grass)
Monarda punctata (spotted horsemint; bee balm)
Oenothera macrocarpa (Missouri evening primrose)
Ophiopogon planiscapus (mondo grass)
Pelargonium quercetorum
Pennisetum species/cultivars (fountain grass)
Penstemon laxiflorus (nodding penstemon, loose-flowered beardtongue)
Petunia exserta
Polianthes tuberosa (tuberose)
Salvia blepharophylla (eyelash-leaved sage)
Salvia buchananii (Buchanan's sage, purple autumn sage)
Salvia elegans (pineapple sage)
Salvia microphylla 'Hot Lips' (ornamental sage)
Salvia roemeriana (cedar sage)
Sedum 'Angelina' (stonecrop)
Teucrium hyrcanicum (Caucasian germander)
Thunbergia alata (black-eyed susan vine)
Thymophylla tenuiloba (Dahlberg daisy)
Thymus pseudolanuginosus (woolly thyme)
Tripora divaricata (bluebeard)
Zephyranthes fosteri (rain lily)
Zephyranthes macrosiphon (pink rain lily)
Zephyranthes morrisclintii (rain lily)

More impressions of the waterfall pond area

Late summer 2019 – the plantings in and around the back of the pond are radiant in the sunlight, even after a prolonged dry spell.


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Last modified: November 10, 2019
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