Water. Everything on this planet needs water. To a gardener, it is the most vital aspect of gardening to consider. You could have the ultimate gardening space, with ample sunlight and vasts amount of land, but without a water feature, it is worthless. I have seen many available gardening plots in California that had incredible views and was right next to a vineyard with fertile soil. The only issue is there was no water available. Water availability matters for plants but have you ever stopped to think about all of the beneficial insects and other animals that need just as much water as your plants, and maybe even more.
Gardeners often overlook leaving available water for beneficial insects and animals. We all know the importance of bringing beneficial insects to the garden. They help keep pests in check and help with pollination. Make sure you think about how thirsty these garden heroes maybe after chasing down all of the thrips in your garden. What about a bee or wasp after they have spent countless hours helping to pollinate your garden, I’m sure they could use a drink.
Setting Up Your Garden’s Water Feature
These reasons are why I recommend that every garden has some water feature. I’m not saying you need to go a build a lake or pond in your backyard. I know not everyone has available space like that. Instead, consider some of these other options.
- Small Pond
- Bird Feeder
- ½ or ¼ of a wine barrel
- A pot with no drainage holes
- A Bucket
When setting up your water feature, make sure the water is accessible to variously sized animals. Ensure your vessel can hold water, and that is not excessively deep. If the vessel you are using is deeper than bees or other pollinator’s legs are long, then consider having ledges or vegetation. Having multiple access points will ensure that no pollinator is left unable to access the water. Sometimes bees and other beneficial insects will be so thirsty that they attempt to access the water and end up drowning unsafely. Now, remember when setting up a water feature, insects like mosquitoes are known to lay eggs in stagnant and still water. To avoid this, you have a couple of options:
First, add some fish to the container. Guppies or goldfish will suffice. Depending on the size of your water feature, you may even be able to add koi. Regardless of the fish variety, they will feast on whatever larvae or eggs laid in the water.
Secondly, you could add a pump to cycle and move the water around. Since insects, like mosquitoes, are attracted to and reproduce in still water, the pump pushing the water around will negate this. Any water feature that has a fish can also benefit from adding a waterlily or other gog plant to a water feature. The bog plant will absorb the ammonia from the fish waste and help purify the water. Adding a waterlily is a way to handle two issues at once. The flowers from the waterlily are pollen-rich favorites of the honeybees, and other pollinators and the lilypads offer a landing and resting area for the pollinators to access the water.