Make a miniature water garden for work place
By Heidi Bornhorst
|Water lilies grow best in a garden pond with plenty of direct sun to ensure constant open flowers.
Deborah Booker The Honolulu Advertiser
I want something pretty and unique to impress my clients and divert me from my stress and pressure at work. Any bright green ideas?
Naomi K.L. Nakanelua
New on Bishop Street
A. Try a living plant and fish habitat. This is great on a work desk, client reception area or a kitchen counter. In a clear glass jar or vase, grow some: kalo (taro) and koi, guppies with pohuehue, lucky "bamboo" (actually a Dracaena or money-plant relative). Simple water, plants and a fish or two make for a great living display.
The wet habitat keeps your plants watered, and the fish eat any errant mosquitoes that might move in to your liquid display.
Betas, or Siamese fighting fish, come in several colors. Native to the muddy rivers of Thailand, they make a great single occupant of a desktop water garden.
Add a clump of peace lily or Spathiphyllum. Water plants from the aquarium, or a friend's prolific pond, can be added.
Water gardens also are fun and easy to do outside in the garden. Buy a large pretty pot with no hole. Water lilies, lotus or hasu, water poppies and water snowflakes are flowering water plants that grow easily here.
You also can build a full-on water garden, with pumps, filtration systems and so on.
This is complex, expensive and should be well planned with a professional water-garden expert. Consider maintenance costs and time before you plunge into this one. (This is a subject for a future column).
Some palms like the red sealing-wax palm, Crytostachys lakka, do well in sunny water gardens. This outstanding palm is native to Borneo, and likes to have wet, swampy feet and its "head" or crown of leaves up in the bright sunshine.
At Ho'omaluhia Botanical Garden, we often would plant one of these gorgeous and then very unusual red crown shafted palms in spots where riding lawnmowers got stuck in the mud. That was the perfect habitat for sealing-wax palms.
Hawaiian grasses and sedges grow well in water gardens.
Makaloa, from which fine mats were woven, and which the Hokule'a crew encountered in the Northwest Hawaiian Islands, is wetland sedge.
Ahu 'awa, which was used to strain 'awa, is another robust-growing native plant that you can grow in a water garden.
Our native endangered water fern that looks like a four-leaf clover, Marsilea villosa or 'ihi'ihi lau akea, is another very pretty and unusual plant for a water garden.
Kalo (taro), Colocasia esculenta, is another water plant that comes in many varieties. You also can harvest and eat the leaves and corm. Make some poi, fresh from your own water garden.
Lotus or hasu, Nelumbo nucifera, also can be grown and enjoyed for its flowering beauty and then the root harvested for New Year feasting. Some of the roots can be saved and re-grown for years to come.
We can create so many different water gardens here. We haven't even begun to plumb the depths of what we can do. Please send me pictures and ideas for some of your home water gardens, or your favorite public water garden, at the address below.
Heidi Bornhorst is a sustainable-landscape consultant. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org or Island Life, The Advertiser, P.O. Box 3110, Honolulu, HI 96802.