Water

Some years ago my Mom bought me beach towels for my birthday; this gift infuriated me.  “What am I supposed to do with these”, I asked her.  “That you don’t know what to do with them is why they are a gift from me.” ; she fired right back. She was right. I work, and work more.  But after she died, I took the money she left me, and built a fountain in my yard.  It has a ledge for sitting, and is deep enough to get in and soak. On hot days, I take my glass of wine, and my beach towels out there; it takes no time to shed the pressure of a work day.  My garden is designed to provide me privacy, relaxation and serenity, as my work-life is anything but serene and relaxing.   Every living thing needs water-and in many more ways than one.�
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Water is sublimely satisfying in a garden, no matter what form it takes. A rain barrel, a pond with fish, a pot, a fountain or pool-take your pick. I think about water in the landscape routinely now.
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This cistern was placed on a stand, so as to put the action of the water at a level high enough to be clearly see from the terrace.  Boxwood will soon eliminate the view of the stand, and become part of the fountain.�
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Almost any pot can be converted into a fountain.  The water spilling over the edge of the pot is collected, and recirculated via an underground cistern.  The pot sits on a rigid Fiberglas grid which will be covered with large flat stones.
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This lovely Doulton-Lambeth coadestone vase made in England in the 19th century has a waterproof metal liner.  The liner is home to a group of aquatic plants.  This arrangement eliminates the problem of soil and fertilizer getting into the fountain, and damaging the pump.
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This client liked the idea of water, but not the reality.  A mulch of  tumbled sea glass the colors of water is a simple and effective substitute.
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My fountain is framed in herniaria, a short perennial that is tolerant of the overspray a fountain can produce.  It also provides a buffer between the grass clippings from the mower, and the water.  The filtration system, identical to the type used in a swimming pool, keeps the water scrupulously clean.  The ledge below water is a great place to sit on a blisteringly hot day. Getting in all the way isn’t bad either.
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A private body of water suitable for family swimming can double as an elegant reflecting pool for more formal entertaining. A light color on the interior will reflect light, and make the water appear blue. A pool with a dark interior will absorb light, and reflect the sky on its surface.
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This very large ,sculptural waterfall is beautiful even when the water is still. The smallest pot spouting water has the same magical effect; don’t do without water in your garden.

Comments

  1. Now I know why I fell in love with your fountain the minute I saw it. Your mother knew you well….listen to you mother and get in that fountain and relax.
    Please publish!
    Helen…I think Deborah would tell you to just include the raccoons into your garden.

  2. I agree completely with your sentiments. However, I’m forced to reconcile my feelings with the fact of Toronto’s large raccoon community, all of whom are equally and aggressively enamoured of water.

    In my very tiny garden, my fountain was a metal watering can with a spigot above it; it constantly filled itself with water. The raccoons kept knocking it over to get inside, or washing their hands in it, and eventually killed the pump. Sigh. But I’ll persevere. One day, I’ll outwit them. Or should I say… outwet them?

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