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Author Topic: Floating gardens to grow difficult plants the easy way  (Read 2985 times)

partisangardener

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Floating gardens to grow difficult plants the easy way
« on: December 01, 2021, 05:39:34 PM »
Since Corona began, my moveable floating gardens increased in number and beauty.
A simple form is this one, floating on my rainwater tank. This one is from beginning of August and the picture is about end of october.
It comes in handy when you have cuttings or seeds which would need maintenance. I just put them there and everything takes roots or germinate.
In addition it looks good and no animals drown there.

I had started iwhen Corona came a new bog garden. Since it is so easy and takes next to no time for care I started now at every available space now a lot of these floating gardens. Especially for plants which take a lot of expertise to grow. Like Cypripedium and alpines.
The best thing is, you can leave it for month without anybody taking care.

https://forum.carnivoren.org/forums/topic/36569-patchworkmoorbeet-erweiterbares-moorbeet-im-baukastenstil/page/11/
« Last Edit: December 01, 2021, 06:53:36 PM by partisangardener »
greetings from Bayreuth/Germany zone 6b (340 m)
Axel
sorry I am no native speaker, just picked it up.

brianw

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Re: Floating gardens to grow difficult plants the easy way
« Reply #1 on: December 01, 2021, 11:14:58 PM »
I would like to try this in my new small pond but I suspect it would have to be protected from birds stealing the moss for nesting in the spring. It is fed from water butt overflow at present. Now to find some suitable seed. "Dacs" seed themselves in my pots in the garden but nothing else at present. I only really had water lettuce floating on it this year, which I got for nothing.

Brian Whyer, Thames valley.
« Last Edit: December 01, 2021, 11:21:06 PM by brianw »
Edge of Chiltern hills, 25 miles west of London, England

partisangardener

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Re: Floating gardens to grow difficult plants the easy way
« Reply #2 on: December 02, 2021, 03:05:20 PM »
I had on this special one no birds acting. Maybe it is a bit irritating that the island moves when a bird is landing on it.

I have now about forty water filled 90 liter buckets with my islands.
But the ones shown in the link just a few meters away have a netting. My blackbirds are pretty bad here. Since the one shown exists only since last August, I will see how it works in the next nesting season. I am also working on solutions which are not as ugly as the usual ones.

I am too already working on ceramics which would hide the plastic optic. Pretty similar to the ones I put around my bog in the link.

Here are some of the plants thriving therein:

Cypripedium tibeticum (low ph)
Cypripedium reginae   (medium to low ph)

Pogonia ophiglossoides
Epipactis palustris seedgrown there in acidic ph
Dactylorhiza praetermissa (neutral ph)


Drosera binata
Drosera anglica
Drosera intermedia
Drosera filiformis
Drosera linearis*+seeds

Pinguicula grandiflora
Sarracenia alata
Sarracenia rubra

Sarracenia purpurea dwarf form
Sarracenia leucophylla seedgrown and plants from BG Prag
Darlingtonia californica mountain population Oregon seed grown

Chamaedaphne calyculata nana  seedling
Andromeda polyfolia
Vaccinium vitis-idaea
Vaccinium myrtillus
Vaccinium uliginosum

Iris chrysographes seed grown black form
Iris setosa
Mentha requienii (weedy)grows extremely well, very hardy there but overgrows everything
Fritillaria meleagris
Fritillaria camtschatica grows very well, pretty low plants without ferilizing

Primula veris red form (seedlings)
Primula integrifolia
Primula matthioli
Trillium grandiflorum
Soldanella hybrid

Gentiana acaulis
Gentiana pulmonaria
« Last Edit: December 02, 2021, 07:57:11 PM by partisangardener »
greetings from Bayreuth/Germany zone 6b (340 m)
Axel
sorry I am no native speaker, just picked it up.

partisangardener

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Re: Floating gardens to grow difficult plants the easy way
« Reply #3 on: December 02, 2021, 08:50:29 PM »
There is no substrate below the waterline, so it is always aerated. It simulates  the conditions of a natural seep, or a rock constantly washed by water.
Even plants which grow usually under quite dry conditions grow quite well. Especially alpines and mosses do well.
The water tank and evaporation on the moss cools this environment (could be interesting for city climate, if used a lot)

The soil conditions vary of course with the thickness of the substrate. Through seeds I try out what works best. for a desired species.
To get different mycorrhiza I took small pieces from interesting habitats to to inoculate different floating pieces.
The thickness of substrate is only one method to vary moisture. Another one I use, is flat pieces of styrofoam, stones or even plastic onto the soaked fleece.
So in result I get different moisture levels without much substrate.

This system is maybe adabtable for a lot of problematic eco-systems
https://www.srgc.org.uk/forum/index.php?topic=18727.msg424682#msg424682

« Last Edit: December 03, 2021, 09:15:36 AM by partisangardener »
greetings from Bayreuth/Germany zone 6b (340 m)
Axel
sorry I am no native speaker, just picked it up.

partisangardener

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Re: Floating gardens to grow difficult plants the easy way
« Reply #4 on: December 03, 2021, 09:09:17 PM »
Cypripedium reginae was for many years in my old bog garden. 2020 in spring I transplanted it in a new setup. The original 2 olants had made two seedlings.
Not jet flowering. These flowered this year.
Growth was slow but good in the past years. But in the new setup with continuous water supply it seemingly exploded.
It is so dense I will have to make three out of it.
first picture 2020
second 2021
greetings from Bayreuth/Germany zone 6b (340 m)
Axel
sorry I am no native speaker, just picked it up.

Maggi Young

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Re: Floating gardens to grow difficult plants the easy way
« Reply #5 on: December 03, 2021, 09:16:09 PM »
Cypripedium reginae was for many years in my old bog garden. 2020 in spring I transplanted it in a new setup. The original 2 olants had made two seedlings.
Not jet flowering. These flowered this year.
Growth was slow but good in the past years. But in the new setup with continuous water supply it seemingly exploded.
It is so dense I will have to make three out of it.
first picture 2020
second 2021
  What a great result!
Margaret Young in Aberdeen, North East Scotland Zone 7 -ish!

Editor: International Rock Gardener e-magazine

partisangardener

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Re: Floating gardens to grow difficult plants the easy way
« Reply #6 on: December 04, 2021, 05:47:04 PM »
Rectangular rafts tend to stay not level if build up too high. As a solution for one like  the Cypripedium acaule container I tried this solution.
I fixed a slab of granite with some wire to the bottom.
like this or for the slender rectangular ones.
« Last Edit: December 04, 2021, 06:24:54 PM by partisangardener »
greetings from Bayreuth/Germany zone 6b (340 m)
Axel
sorry I am no native speaker, just picked it up.

partisangardener

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Re: Floating gardens to grow difficult plants the easy way
« Reply #7 on: December 04, 2021, 05:51:50 PM »
At the Moment is the 90 liter container full. So my plant-raft floats on top.
In general I recommend round buckets and rafts. They wont topple until being very high.
But if you use small pieces for keeping plants apart or not waste Styrofoam a small slab of granite or suchlike as ballast underneath comes in handy.
You can create small landscapes even with Bonsai, which are more easy to maintain than the old type. And it is no big deal to have them for a short time as a table decoration inside, in a nice ceramic bowl.
« Last Edit: December 04, 2021, 06:28:04 PM by partisangardener »
greetings from Bayreuth/Germany zone 6b (340 m)
Axel
sorry I am no native speaker, just picked it up.

partisangardener

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Re: Floating gardens to grow difficult plants the easy way
« Reply #8 on: December 04, 2021, 06:07:53 PM »
This one was a birthday present a year ago. It floats on a small pond for two season now. Birds did visit it but the growth of the moss is too strong for them.
Additional it clings quite well to the cloth.
greetings from Bayreuth/Germany zone 6b (340 m)
Axel
sorry I am no native speaker, just picked it up.

partisangardener

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Re: Floating gardens to grow difficult plants the easy way
« Reply #9 on: December 04, 2021, 06:39:42 PM »
The last generation is round an on top some border out of Styrofoam, nailed to the raft with toothpicks. Finally a cover of Micro-fleece and in the middle a wick from the same material.
The fleece shields UV rays from the Styrofoam and after very short time the Moss cover will do the same job for ever.

The row of tooth pic surrounding it serves the purpose to fix moss onto the rim, until it fixes itself there through its growth.
Some mosses have strong root like structures, some not like sphagnum. But it sticks quite well after a time and in sour habitats I prefer it.
greetings from Bayreuth/Germany zone 6b (340 m)
Axel
sorry I am no native speaker, just picked it up.

partisangardener

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Re: Floating gardens to grow difficult plants the easy way
« Reply #10 on: December 04, 2021, 09:04:24 PM »
The advantage of floating substrate is, that there is always a very thin layer of water there, which is always saturated with oxygen and anaerobic microorganism have no chance.
It is not the water supply alone. Excess water flows always into the main water body without much organic material.
Your setup has varying oxygen levels, which I try to avoid without much maintenance.
The quite excessive water body will keep for month without intervention or rain and if it rains no water will suffocate the substrate.
I quote that here because there seems to be the chance of misunderstanding the idea.
greetings from Bayreuth/Germany zone 6b (340 m)
Axel
sorry I am no native speaker, just picked it up.

Véronique Macrelle

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Re: Floating gardens to grow difficult plants the easy way
« Reply #11 on: December 05, 2021, 07:28:31 AM »
for the cypripedium, you put what thickness of soil.
and only peat?

 and for Trillium grandiflorum?

partisangardener

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Re: Floating gardens to grow difficult plants the easy way
« Reply #12 on: December 05, 2021, 10:17:29 AM »
I have 15 cm for Cypripedium tibeticum and a bit lmore than 20 cm for C.reginae.
Trillium grandiflorum is in the same trough as C.reginae. Seedlings grow already in less than 5cm. I think this is sufficient for this species.

With my method  the waterreservoir-funktion of the substrate is needless. Like in the thriving mats of vegetation on waterfall rocks
When I tear apart the Cyps coming spring   I will give them not more than 15 cm and some will do with less than 10.
I did not expect them doing that well.
« Last Edit: January 04, 2022, 03:45:57 PM by partisangardener »
greetings from Bayreuth/Germany zone 6b (340 m)
Axel
sorry I am no native speaker, just picked it up.

brianw

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Re: Floating gardens to grow difficult plants the easy way
« Reply #13 on: December 05, 2021, 06:17:24 PM »
Hi.
I have just read many of your original postings in 2014 by using Google to translate, when you constructed the bog area. Questions in my mind are where the water comes from. Is it a natural source? Is it there all year round or do you have to control, or add to it? Sunlight is not obvious in many photos; is it in a naturally shady area that maybe slopes? In later photos a fence appears. Is this the same garden/area?
Apologies for all the queries, but it is such an interesting concept. I doubt I have enough rain water for a large area but on a smaller scale I might manage something next year. I still have a large round hole that was supposed to be a pond a few years ago. ;-)
Brian. Thames valley UK. (Lots of chalk and gravel around)
Edge of Chiltern hills, 25 miles west of London, England

partisangardener

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Re: Floating gardens to grow difficult plants the easy way
« Reply #14 on: December 05, 2021, 08:36:56 PM »
These are different gardens. The first on from 2014 is a patchwork type with ordinary filling. Sand , lime free gravel,peat apart from what you see.
worked quite well, but I had to water it sometimes when I had longer dry periods and it took a lot of material.
It had a floating part in a small pond. In the end I had to give away the more interesting plants. Only the Cypripedium were still there when Corona hit. And of course the material and more ordinary bog plants and mosses. This one was most of the day sunny, only partly (time and space) shaded by fruit trees not too close.

The already ingrown one from beginning of Corona is in front of the place I live at. Only sun in the late morning until 13 o clock. To make up for the poor light I constructed at its north side a mirror-front to increase the light, which works sufficient.

The plastic troughs are  pretty moveable and are not always at the same place. Some are in front of my flat. Most are at a friends place in a ex military compound . Nearby, but much more rain. These had this year excess water and there I have 3000 liter rainwater reservoir.
This area slopes in some places. Area offers every possible sun or shade.

If growth is not sufficient I place another plastic trough at a better spot. Then put the raft on some foil and then carry the water to the new one.
Alternatively I can exchange the rafts between the different buckets.
All water I have is rainwater collected from housetops or solar panels. Our tab water is good, but has a somewhat high Ph . I had yet no need to use it.
For special  plants and in case of emergency I have sulfuric acid.

If you prefer plants from acidic spots I would do it elevated in your area, then it does not get contaminated from the surrounding soil. The military compound is on a chalk mountain.
But there are a lot of interesting plants possible on chalky soil.
The small birthday present (8) floats on a pond near the military compound and has a lot of chalk stones around and in the water.
But Sphagnum species and Sarracenia still grow well on such a floating raft. Much is to be tested and these raft conditions allow much more than one would think. This would not work in a pot, chalk level would accumulate.
« Last Edit: January 04, 2022, 03:49:18 PM by partisangardener »
greetings from Bayreuth/Germany zone 6b (340 m)
Axel
sorry I am no native speaker, just picked it up.

 


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