Pleasing, Pleasurable Ponds

On the home front: a few years ago, I pumped up our view from driveway to front door with plants for pollinators.
native rock rose, Salvia regla, eyelash saliva, silver ponyfoot drought driveway bed Central Texas Gardener
Instead of sparse grass in this part shade arena, now I’ve got plants that excite us and wildlife every season. Blooming this week: native rock rose (Pavonia lasiopetala) silver ponyfoot, Salvia regla and eyelash sage (Salvia blepharophylla). Fluffy asters need cutting back a few inches!
Salvia regla, fall aster foliage, native silver ponyfoot Central Texas Gardener
Our wildlife value water as much as we do! Any time of the year—but especially in hot times—a birdbath or fountain helps thirsty critters make it.
millstone sunken fountain stone patio Central Texas Gardener
SO, save the date for the Austin Pond Society’s 23rd Annual Pond and Garden Tour on June 3 & 4.
As always, meet the owners for hands-on tips on how they did it.
gorgeous waterfall Austin Pond Society Central Texas Gardener
This year’s “Backyard Bliss” ponds and gardens include all styles and sizes to match your dream!
Get all the details right here.
magical night time pond Austin Pond Society Central Texas Gardener
I well remember when building a pond or stream or even adding a fountain was quite adventurous!
pond and fountain garden replace grass Central Texas Gardener
Before the Austin Pond Society, many gardeners considered them a wondrous feature at botanical or estate gardens, instead of DIY projects like Bruce McDonald’s pond garden.
formal limestone pond walled garden Central Texas Gardener
Now, even small spaces pump up wildlife visitation and soothe our cluttered days.
stock pond deck Central Texas Gardener
This week, Steve Kainer from Hill Country Water Gardens & Nursery joins Tom to show off the latest pond plants, fertilizer tips, and algae control.
Tom Spencer and Steve Kainer pond talk Central Texas Gardener
Innovators from the beginning, Hill Country Water Gardens & Nursery continue to dazzle us with ideas, solutions, and beauty. Check out this bountiful burgundy ‘Yucatan Princess’ (Alocasia sarawakensis). 'Yucatan Princess’ (Alocasia sarawakensis) Central Texas Gardener
Water lilies are gorgeous, of course, but I love this structural, gentle Arrowhead (Sagittaria montevidensis).
Arrowhead (Sagittaria montevidensis) Central Texas Gardener
This blue rush connects nicely, I think, to those structural succulents that may be in your garden, too.
Blue rush pond plant Central Texas Gardener
And dwarf papyrus explodes in spikey yellow. Watch now for all of Steve’s tips!
dwarf papyrus pond plant Central Texas Gardener
On tour in Wimberley, Irene Anderson and John McMillan designed a naturalistic pond beneath heirloom live oak trees.
Irene Anderson
What’s so different about that? Well, until recently, this pond was a swimming pool.
Irene Anderson
Rarely used, the pool was a maintenance headache. Irene’s son, Chris Smartt, suggested turning it into a self-sustainable pond. “The philosophical part of it was to create something that was as natural as possible to promote life, not kill life,” he said.
Irene Anderson
It became a family project, including John’s daughter Sarah McMillan and husband Clinton Robertson, biologists for the Texas Parks and Wildlife River Studies program.
Irene Anderson
At the deep end, they built an island to replicate a pond bank, supported by cinder blocks and metal framework. Underneath, the pump sits at the very bottom of the pool.
waterfall natural pond Wimberley Central Texas Gardener
Tubing runs up through a rock for a natural looking waterfall.
Irene Anderson
They designed shallow points for some plants and lots of hiding places for fish under cinder blocks. Aside from dividing plants now and then, they don’t have to manage the water clarity at all. “I don’t put anything in it—nothing—we have put absolutely nothing into this water,” Irene said.
native aster reflection natural pond Central Texas Gardener
On the perimeter, Irene arranged plants for fragrance and pollinators. “We used the rock to create above ground beds that look natural all along the edge of the pond and then interspersed other native rocks to soften the edge,” Chris said.
Irene Anderson
John tells us, “Every time I’m down here I think there’s not really anywhere else in the world I’d rather be right now.”
bench at natural pond Central Texas Gardener
Irene and Chris collaborate in their mom-and-son Sol’stice Garden Expressions in Dripping Springs. Along with locally grown, drought tough plants, pick up garden art and furniture styled by artisan designers and unique creations by Chris.
concrete mushroom garden art Central Texas Gardener
Artistic gate by Sol'stice Garden Expressions
Watch the whole story now!

And thanks for stopping by! See you next week for sizzling summer combos, Linda