Many say bread is the staff of life, but I beg to differ. Instead I declare it to be water. Considered one of the four classical elements - along with air, earth and fire - water is essential to every living thing on our planet. Yet gardeners often forget it when planning their landscapes. I'm not sure why.
Perhaps the process of adding water sounds complicated because landscapers throw out words such as "water feature." Remember: You don't need a waterfall unless you want one.
Instead your water feature can be as simple as a birdbath at the end of a path. Add a bubbler and drive your birds wild.
Water wakes up your garden with its simple flowing movement, but it also provides the small creatures in your landscape with life-giving moisture. Add water to your garden and you'll soon have a healthy ecosystem with more birds, lizards and frogs. As long as we continue to carve up wild places, pollinators, such as birds, bumblebees and butterflies, lose habitat. By having water in your garden, you can restore some of the balance.
A few years ago for my birthday my in-laws purchased a small fountain to place on the back deck of our home. We inserted the pump into the reservoir, plugged it into an outside socket and filled the basin. In minutes water began to flow over the resinous surface. Nothing could be simpler, and the soothing sounds make our summer weather more bearable. The back deck has become one of my favorite places to relax and read.
We enjoy our little fountain so much that when we built the kitchen potager, the first item we drew on the plan was the red fountain. Not only does it provide water for our pups, it also is a pop of color in a relatively green vegetable garden. The fountain also plays off of the red brick sidewalk and walls.
Whether you choose an extravagant pond or the simplest birdbath, try adding some water to your garden this summer. Relax to the sight of birds splashing and butterflies alighting upon the surface, and the sound of it flowing over stones. I think the Greeks were onto something when they named water one of the four classical elements. It is the very source of our lives. Let's include it in our gardens, too.
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