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If you have "no place to go," come here!

In the garden: The fountain improved

Here is a view from the sidewalk.

And here is a view from above. One of the nice things about having done a number of projects over the years is that I have a lot of rocks lying about or, more likely, buried in the earth when I used them to edge borders. So I dug the rocks up and arranged the prettily here.

However, I'm not seeing any insects or birds. So I arranged that piece of root -- handily, a root I hacked out of the hole I dug for the bucket, now dried in the sun -- for a landing platform, and then I put that steel measuring cup in place to create a pool, until I can find something better. Maybe that will attract them, but somehow I feel that's not enough. Maybe some flowers?

Another street view, showing I still have work to do with that bare earth in the back of the fountain. A path, perhaps. Or clover. Or flowers. Or a sheet mulch.

Oh, and yes, when I walk by I can hear it burbling away. It's a nice sound at night.

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nippersdad's picture
Submitted by nippersdad on

Where there is water there will be wildlife. The sound will attract them, and a larger basin will both give them something to drink from and enhance the sound. If you put out a pan of some form, you might want to put some of that gravel in the bottom so that the birds can get traction for bathing.

Submitted by lambert on

I was thinking of a smallish china something, like a saucer. The metal pan looks dumb.

nippersdad's picture
Submitted by nippersdad on

As your installation is small, a cake pan would prolly work. You wouldn't see the sides were you to bury it in the gravel, and a little of the gravel in the bottom would give traction for the birds. That should give you about an inch of depth; sufficient to drink and bathe from and to enhance the sound....Or you could use a glass casserole pan.... You will have a problem with predation what with it being so low to the ground but that is a trade-off that may be worthwhile as you appear not to want anything larger. And, of course, predators are wildlife too.

I wouldn't worry too much about mosquitoes. They have to land on the water to lay their eggs, and the rippling from the falling water should prevent that.

Submitted by lambert on

Then I could punch holes in the bottom, and it could drain into the gravel. (I was very good about that; the whole bucket is set in gravel, not directly into the earth.

Mosquitos need standing water, so I want to keep the water in motion.

Even if I don't get birds, I might get dragonflies.

What would you plant round the edges? They would need to be low....

nippersdad's picture
Submitted by nippersdad on

As long as there are ripples on the surface mosquitoes cannot lay their eggs; IOW it is not standing water. The birds will need a shallow pool in which to drink and bathe, holes in the pan will prevent that from happening.

The first time I saw that picture, the first thing I thought of was clove pinks! They smell awesome when they bloom in the Spring, but the rest of the time they stay pretty low to the ground, almost like a greyish green grass, kinda moundy. They grow thickly, so they would keep everything else at bay around your installation as long as it is not too shaded out....Look 'em up and see what you think.

mitzi muffin's picture
Submitted by mitzi muffin on

I wasn't going to comment, Lambert, because I wasn't feeling positive. But, I have decided that I should let you know that I'm disappointed. Maybe when you get a bowl for the water to flow into (or maybe I'm just not seeing it properly), it will fill out. But it simply looks too small, proportionately, for your wonderful garden.

I also think birds want something higher off the ground where they can feel safe. This water feature doesn't do that. You will get wild life, as Nippersdad commented above; maybe even the eventual bird (like the unpleasant sounding blue jay who can defend himself from predators). But the ones who sing beautifully and are more vulnerable will be more reticent.

Keep your eye out for something that can be put together as a tall bird bath. I'm a great believer in my neighbors garbage. Also, too, salvage places (I know you don't have a car, so that may not work w/o cooperation from others).

Also, look around at what you have. Perhaps you have a tree where a flat 12" round ceramic bowl could be placed with wire support. The birds would love that.

Keep at it, Lambert. The garden is going great and you'll happen upon a solution. I can't wait to see how your garden grows.

Submitted by lambert on

I like the modest size of it because it seems more natural. I don't like big constructs. So this is the sort of water feature I deliberately sought ought (also, becuase it was made of stone, not resin). It seems like a little brook or spring, which is what I want. Also, it looks smaller in the photograph than in real life, where it sneaks up on you. I like surprises like that, to get people looking.

I need to think more about what to put around the outer rocks; more flowers, perhaps. When there are living things making use of the water, I think it will be fine.

Another option is work out a way to get a wider ring of water. The pump is not of the scale for there to be a pool, but I'm thinking I can get something flat and circular that a sheet of water would run over and then sink into the gravel. (I don't want standing water, because of mosquitos.)

nippersdad's picture
Submitted by nippersdad on

Up at the Demonstration Garden, several years ago, the head of the Garden wanted an approach along each side of the dirt road that leads to the garden proper. It used to be a gravel parking lot, so the soil was preposterous...but he demanded something be put there, like, yesterday without a budget. Having no imagination, he left it to me to fulfill this task.

So, we moved the big sign to the head of the road where people could see it. I worked with the state roads department to bring in some large boulders, unearthed from an overpass they were building, to put in front of the sign which we then repainted. I got the livestock sales barn to bring us yards and yards of their used barn litter to add to the soil in order to break it up. I got the schizophrenic guy in the club to bring out his tractor to turn it in, added some lime and got some friends to come out with their rototillers to till it all together. I rebuilt the intake for the culvert where it had collapsed and taken part of the road with it. I then unclogged the culvert, itself, so that it would drain instead of washing out the road. I got the county roads department to bring in some loads of gravel to resurface the road.

I hit the sales, dumpsters and the classifieds to get native grasses, trees and shrubs to outline the larger areas that were to be planted as a wildflower meadow. We put in an art installation made by a local artist of a family of deer; a buck, doe and their fawn made out of iron scraps. The wildflower meadow grew in such a way that they were peeking out of it at the people in the road during the summer. We got a deer crossing sign to put fifty feet before the installation. I sowed the wildflower meadow as thickly as I could with both food and nectaring plants, and collected seed from the roadsides all over the county to add to the meadow. I planted vines for the humming birds. I endlessly watered that thing in hundred degree temps. I kept the head of the garden from mowing it all down for two years so that it could establish itself; I even dragged old split rail timbers out of the woods to build a fence and keep him and his lawnmower out of it. By the time it was established photographers were tramping their clients through the middle of it to pose them with all of the flowers, butterflies and other pollinators. We even, ultimately, got real deer grazing in it. Over an acre landscaped for less than a hundred dollars. I was pretty proud of it.

I fought every bloody person in the Master Gardeners organization, they thought it weedy, to get that damn thing done, including the guy who wanted it in the first place.

It was bulldozed this week to make way for a gravel parking lot.

Such is life.

nippersdad's picture
Submitted by nippersdad on

I left last October when they did this kind of thing just one too many times. It is a habit with them.

mitzi muffin's picture
Submitted by mitzi muffin on

Nippersdad, What a sad story. I would love to have seen it.

Lambert, I stand corrected. It's your garden and it's beautiful. Just like y our blog.

Submitted by lambert on

I think if I wanted something bigger, I would connect more small things. For example, a second small fountain in the same area, with a different look and different plants. This one was really easy once I bestirred myself to drill the holes in the lid!