Thursday, June 20, 2013

A Garden Pond

I mentioned in one of my first posts that I used to have a pond. The neighborhood raccoons made a total mess of it. It was small and shallow so they would get into it and have parties, eating the plants and turning it into a mud puddle. So I filled in that pond with dirst and made it into the bog area which is now doing very well.

I was not willing to give up on the pond idea, and I learned that raccoons will not go into a pond that is too deep or steep sided. So I dug a hole for a new pond next to the bog area. I made the hole about 4 ft. deep at the deep end and about 3 ft. deep at the shallow end. Next I bought EPDM (rubber) liner and fitted into into and around the hole. The edges of the liner were anchored down with pieces of flagstone which also make the edge of the pond look somewhat more natural. Below is how the pond looked prior to filling with water. Not too natural looking yet.

After filling it with water I proceed to the important part which is PLANTS. My goal is to have the pond filled with native aquatic plants. However, they are pretty hard to find. So I have started with water lilies which are non-native. Water lilies have a rhizome that goes in soil, and the leaves and flowers arise from it. I had some rhizomes left over from my old pond, and I just needed a container to plant them in. Pond plant stores sell special containers for water lilies, but I found something that works just as well and is very inexpensive. Below is a plastic basin from a hardware store that is used for mixing cement, plaster, etc.

I filled this pan with regular garden soil that had some general purpose plant food added to it. I placed the rhizomes in it and carefully lowered it into the water. For more info about planting water lilies there are lots of videos on the internet that will give you more detail. Below is one of these pans in the pond but not yet sprouting any leaves. The lily pads to the right of the container are from a new one that I bought so that I could have some instant gratification.

The photos below don't have anything to do with plants - it's just an excuse to show two of my grandkids (Chadd and Alexa) with their feet in the pond. You can see a willow branch fence that I installed to keep little kids out.

I found a place where I can buy native California pond plants - Owned and operated by the Curtright family, they are located in Escondido, not too far from me. Not all of their plants are natives, but they have a better selection than just about anyone else that I could find. What I was really looking for was Nuphar polysepala (also known as Nuphar lutea) which is a lovely yellow water lily native to northern California. About the furthest south it gets is San Luis Obispo county. I cannot find anyone who sells it in the nursery trade, but I'm not giving up. If I can ever find it I'll remove my other water lilies and use only the Nuphar.

Anyway, I was able to get a number of great plants from David Curtright. I bought a couple of Giant Arrowhead (Sagittaria montevidensis) which has leaves somewhat like a Calla lily but very different flowers (see below). It's a bog plant so I put it in a damp area near the edge of the pond.

I also bought some Lobed Marsh Moneywort (Hydrocotyle ranunculoides). This is another bog plant but it can also just be floated in the pond which I have done below.

One other plant I got from is Bladderwort (Utricularia macrorhiza). It's floater and presently too small for me to get a decent photo of it. If you want to see what it looks like, go to

To finish off the pond (for the moment) I bought some grasses from Moosa Creek Nursery. Here's one shot with 3 different grasses in it.

Below is Clustered field sedge (Carex praegracilis).

All of these grasses are native to wet places in San Diego county. I made a makeshift waterfall out of an old wheelbarrow. One of these days I will set up a more permanent one, but this works for now.

Below is an overall view of what the pond looks like now.


  1. Nice! I like the wheelbarrow waterfall. Do you plan to stock it with fish?

    Where do you get that fencing material?

  2. I also like the wheelbarrow waterfall! I think it has a good rustic feel to it. And thanks for sharing all your information about what you've done. I've also been experimenting with native plants.

  3. Pond for the most part improves the magnificence of greenery enclosure and if minded legitimately, they can give you beguilement in each season. EPDM Pond Liner Repair by Pond Pro 2000.

  4. Do have you found the Nuphar polysepala ?

    1. I have still not found a source for Nuphar polysepala. If you find it anywhere, please let me know.