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

In the garden: The water feature at last!

Here is a view from the sidewalk, through the wildflowers.

As you can see, there's some space cleared around it, so I hope birds find it safe enough. But do I have to clear more space, so they don't feel predators (cats) can hide in the bushes and leap out at them?

Here's a close-up. You can see the cord, which is ugly, mud, which is ugly, and that I haven't really surrounded the entire area with pretty rocks. I'll do that tomorrow!

I used the Aqua-Rock fountain kit, because when you do the math, it's just a better use of my time than DIY. (My only regret is that the kit is not solar-powered, but perhaps I can figure that out. Perhaps there's an add-on.)

The best part, though -- "Very well, then I contradict myself" -- is that the water reservoir is a plastic bucket with a lid (which is also what the fountain components are shipped in, so, clever). The lid -- I learned after I broke it trying to get if off the bucket, because I'm constitutionally incapable of opening packaging without destroying it in the process -- has holes drilled in it, for the cord, the water pipe up from the pump, and for water to flow, er, trickle down through. So having broken the lid, there was no way for me to install the fountain. Fortunately, the coffee shop downtown gave me a food-grade plastic bucket with a lid, and I finally remembered I had purchased a drill to install an electrified fence, which I never did do. No drill bit came with the drill, alas, so using the broken lid as a cover, I drilled the right pattern of holes into the coffeeshop lid, using the broken lid as a template for the holes, and with a bit I found in the garage, which was rusty because it was my father's and I am not the best son. Oh, and I clamped the two lids together -- using a (rusty) clamp I found in the garage -- onto one of my father's sawhorses, which I also found in the garage.

So this post started out being about a water feature, and ended up being about inherited wealth, though not much.

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nippersdad's picture
Submitted by nippersdad on

I can feel my late FIL looking down at me in utter disbelief whenever I am out doing something, anything, that requires some degree of skill. You are not alone.

Congrats on the water feature; how does it sound?

Submitted by lambert on

I put it where it is, in the front garden, in fulfillment of the design for that area....

Now that I've done one, I'd like another near my desk, to hear it while I work.

But! Is the surrounding vegetation too close for birds, do you think?

nippersdad's picture
Submitted by nippersdad on

that I would hesitate to take out anything further.

I think the rule of thumb is that you need to have a height or breadth combination of about ten feet; as you have no height, you would prolly need at least ten feet of breadth, or clear area, around it to give the birds a chance against predation.


I don't see a ponding area, so it is unlikely to attract many birds for either drinking or bathing, I think you are pretty safe in leaving it as it is. If you can find something that will hold a little water under the drip it will greatly enhance the sound quality of your installation.

Submitted by lambert on

And I'm not sure a small fountain like this would fit in a ten foot diameter area anyhow without looking odd. (I don't think I have a clear space of that size; I'd have to figure out how to do it.)

As you can see in today's post, I put a steel measuring cup under a rivulet, until I can find something ceramic, but I didn't do it for the sound.

So I wonder what I can do to attract beneficial insects like dragon flies?

nippersdad's picture
Submitted by nippersdad on

of which you will not have any because there is no standing water. However, you might look up butterfly mucking stations. It would not need much water, and what you would need could easily be provided by your fountain. That would be something that wouldn't require much space and encourage butterflies to your wildflower patch.

Submitted by lambert on

I can't find anything in two pages of Google ;-)

You don't mean a feeding station, do you?

Silly of me to think that if the dragonflies have nothing to eat, they won't show up... But I won't have mosquitoes, period, because I don't like them!

nippersdad's picture
Submitted by nippersdad on

When you see the recipe you will know why it is also called a mucking station. Kinda gross, but it would be an absolute magnet for them.

Submitted by lambert on

As here. I tried a humming bird feeding station, but it was too much trouble. Bee balm is much more effective and easier!

On the other hand, a pile of rotting fruit on the ground... Maybe some sort of container would be good.

nippersdad's picture
Submitted by nippersdad on

to have a sand, soil, fresh manure mixture. What they really need are the elemental salts found in soil and manure dissolved into water, but they cannot actually drink! They can only lick/suck up moisture from a stable surface; think soil around a puddle or a sandy island in a creek.

These should give you the idea. They really do work, and it would make a nice addition to your garden if you elect not to put in a bath for the birds. Do both close together and the birds will eat the butterflies.....

Submitted by lambert on

As it happens, the spot has very good sun.

The fountain is also surrounded (at this time of the year) by tall plants. It's a little breezy, but not blowy. (I don't know if I want to install a wind-break. I'll have to figure out something.

That leaves the jar. I'm seeing this on the food source on the "butterfly puddle":

Add about a tablespoonful of well composted manure/chicken manure/ mushroom compost/stale beer

I take it these are choices not a mixture? Stale beer is easy, the rest is hard.

Also, is it too late in the season?

Submitted by lambert on

It suddenly occurred to me that those cheap, throwaway pie plates made out of thick aluminum foil would be an ideal medium to form runnels and small pools. I think I'll try that.