Wild Rice – Zizania aquatica
Origin – North America
I'm actually going to use this desirable aquatic grass as starting point to get into the subject of water gardening. Wild Rice is works growing in natural bottom ponds. It produces edible rice and if not harvested, will provide a free meal for many fish and waterfowl. Growing up to eight feet high, Wild Rice has broad, flat leaves and reedy stems. This hardy bog plant is an annual that will re-seed itself.
And if you are interested in trying Wild Rice and are considering a water garden or container pond, here are some tips to get started.
Water gardens aren't a lot of work to maintain. A well-designed and built pond is almost self-sufficient. The right skimmer/filtration system means that most pond debris is automatically bagged and ready for easy removal. A biological filter with supplemental bacteria cleans the pond, which lets nature establish an ecosystem that recycles fish waste.
Clean filters just enough for water to get through; don't get them "squeaky" clean because you want to maintain good bacteria.
Avoid placing your pond near large trees, places where runoff is heavy or where drainage is poor.
Mosquitoes breed in stagnant water. Keep your water moving.
Feed your plants food that is designed for aquatic environments.
Too many fish can overload your pond's natural ecological system. The rule of thumb is one inch of fish per 10 gallons of water. Keep their numbers reasonable and don't overcrowd.
Just as your aquatic plants need special foods, so do your fish. Feed them a quality fish food for good health.
Cloudy water is normal in a new pond. Submerged oxygenating plants and surface-leaved plants work to clear up the water. Use enough plants to cover approximately 70% of the pond surface.
Thread algae and blanketweed are the most common forms of troublesome algae. Don't use algaecides because they can damage the plants you want to keep. Fish will eat the string type algae. Bacterial colonies living among the pebbles will also help reduce algae. Japanese trapdoor snails are also good algae-eaters.
If you don't have room for an in-ground pond, create a container water garden for your deck or patio. Wooden whiskey barrels can be lined with preformed liners or heavy plastic pond liners.
Local garden centers and catalogues also offer decorative, heavy plastic patio ponds or kettles.
Accent them garden ornaments or small fountains that recycle the pond water.