Capitol Corridor
University of California
Capitol Corridor

Planting Around a Splashing Fountain

When we moved into our home in Vacaville quite a few years ago, we discovered that the previous owner had done some amazing things with the landscaping. There were beautiful mature fruit trees, a gorgeous palm tree, and some lovely areas of the yard that had their own separate gardening areas.

One area that has always been a pleasure to see is a circular garden.  It is located outside the kitchen area and is the first place you see when you enter the backyard.  It isn't a huge space, approximately 8' in diameter, however, it does catch the eye at first glance.

Originally, there were plants in this garden that would provide blooms throughout most of the year.  One beauty, in particular, is the light pink colored Peruvian Lily Alstroemeria aurantiaca, which resembles a small lily.

Throughout the years, we spent a lot of time focusing on different areas of the yard and did not touch the circular garden, which was okay because this little garden seemed to just take care of itself -  just a little splash of water here and there, and it seemed to do just fine.  We did, however, make one nice enhancement by adding a birdbath with a running water fountain.

We were still focusing on many other landscaping needs when I noticed that one of the plants, the Peruvian Lily, was slowly taking over the garden.  The Peruvian Lily is not invasive by nature but was it happily expanding around the garden because the soil conditions had completely changed.  Due to the light water splashing from the fountain, the soil became very moist in some areas and very soggy in others, forcing many of the original plants out. Even though the Peruvian Lily flowers are very pretty and seem to have a very long blooming season, we missed having a variety of blooms over the seasons.

So, I began researching the types of new plants I could put in this moist garden.  There were so many things to consider when choosing the plants.  Should they be perennials or annuals?  What type of plants can tolerate very soggy soil?  What is their bloom time?  Could they be invasive?  How tall could they grow?  I really didn't want plants taking over the garden or growing so tall that they would block the view of the fountain.

I have come up with a game plan.  The plants listed below are compatible with USDA Zone 9 requirements.  Some of these plants should only be planted in spring or fall, so I may have to wait a while to begin.  However, that works out fine because I will use annuals in pots to fill in where and when necessary.

The Peruvian Lily will stay around the outer edge of the garden.  The next area toward the middle of the garden will be filled with perennials:

  • Elephant Ears, Colocasia for beautiful foliage shape and color
  • Horsetail, Equisetum for light, tall stalks – just make sure to keep in a container or sink barrier at least 12” into the ground so the rhizomes don't spread underground.
  • Iris, Iris for a beautiful splash of purple color
  • Leopard Lily, Lilium for a splash of orange color
  • Crocus sativus for a splash of yellow color

The inside area of the garden will be filled in with annuals.  To add more excitement and change to the garden, annuals can be placed in the garden in pots – no need to plant and pull them out when they are done blooming.  There are so many eye-catching flowers to choose from – Pansies, Violets, Marigolds, Cosmos, Zinnias, Impatiens, Heather.  The sky is the limit (or bloom time), just use the annual that is blooming at that time!

I am looking forward to watching the progress of the little circular garden and will share all that I have learned.  Keep tuned in, there may be a perennial begging to leave the circular garden and looking for a new home!

http://ipm.ucanr.edu
https://calscape.org/loc-california/cat-damp_soils/ord-popular/vw-list
https://homeguides.sfgate.com/plants-water-fountain-gardening-26992.html

Original Circlular Garden - photo by Al Alvarado
Original Circlular Garden - photo by Al Alvarado

Circular Garden Fountain - photo by Al Alvarado
Circular Garden Fountain - photo by Al Alvarado

Circular Garden - Peruvian Lily - Suzy Q Zen Spot
Circular Garden - Peruvian Lily - Suzy Q Zen Spot

Posted on Tuesday, October 8, 2019 at 9:29 AM

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