Posts Tagged ‘frogbit’

I didn’t mean to. I swear!

I was visiting my parents from Saturday to Monday this Whitsun weekend, and on Sunday a guy from down the road stopped by for a cold beer in the sun and to offer my Mum to get some shrubs from an area of his garden that he needs to clear.

I went over there with my Mum to see what she might find room for, and she will be getting my younger brother to dig her up some rather large, white spirea shrubs (he’s a contractor and has the heavy machinery to dig up large shrubs…), and of course I couldn’t help falling in love with this:

– So I borrowed a spade and a garden fork and began digging up saplings! I got 5-6 good saplings (1-2ft high) which where then stored in a bucked of water before I put them in a plastic carrier bag this afternoon and brought them as hand luggage on the coach across the country.

I think they will end up in The Hedgerow, but I might change my mind. I think I will keep them in a holding pattern until I can get the Flâneur Husband’s input on the matter when he moved back to Denmark – permanently – on Friday.

My Mum also promised she’d get my brother to dig up a medium-sized spirea for me and plant it temporarily until she comes to visit by car later this summer, as and when my Dad’s illness will allow it. She’s now on care leave from her job so she can be there for him to the end, and to be quite frank there isn’t much reason to hope – or fear? – that it will last too much longer. We all know what’s coming, and that it will come sooner, rather than later. When it does happen, I think it will be good to drag my Mum away from the house for a long weekend shortly after the funeral, just to mark that it’s not the end of anything, really; it’s just a fact of Life, and Life goes on.


Anyway, the aquatic plants were delivered to my office on Friday, so I stopped by on Saturday and picked them up on my way home from the garden and before going to my parents’. The water lily and the frogbits are currently licing in a bucket in the bathroom and doing much better – I’m so glad I didn’t wait until tomorrow to bring them home, since the water lily in particular was in a bit of a state after the trip with the postal service. The frogbit had fared better, as it is a floating plant and just got a bit entangled with itself, but the water lily is planted in aquatic clay, and the clay had sort of squashed the plant and needed some rearranging before I could see the actual plant properly.

Left in the bucket for a few days, though, it seems to have gotten back on its feet quite nicely, and it’s now looking quite cheerful, three leaves floating on the surface amongst the smaller frogbit leaves.

I think the plants are happy to be in my care. At least, I hope so. And I hope they will enjoy their new home once they see it.

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Okay, so water in the garden is great. Or will be, I’m sure. But small – 2½ft x 1½ft – tubs of water in direct sunshine is a potential for disaster, or so the internet tells me, so in order for The Puddles not to turn into the prime algae breeding ground of the local neighbourhood I took a drastic step and ordered some plants… I know; that’s SO unlike me, right?

Initially I wanted some yellow floating-heart (nymphoides peltata), since the leaves of this aquatic is supposedly the source of the 9 hearts in the national Danish coat of arms. However, the nursery I really wanted to buy from – great reputation for quality AND service – was out of this plant so instead I went for this:

Frogbit – hydrocharis morsus ranea

In many ways I think this is a better choice. It does have a rather vigorous growth habit, but in the small puddles it will be easy to manage. Like the yellow floating-heart it’s a floating plant, fully hardy and native to Denmark, but I think it’s perhaps safer to go for a white flower than a yellow, since white goes with anything. And of course the floating foliage is just as pretty – VERY important!

Nymphaea ‘Perrys Baby Red’

I also ordered a nymphaea ‘Walter Pagels’ (a dwarf variety), mainly because of it’s hardiness credentials but also because water lilies are just gorgeous. The ‘Walter Pagels’ is a lovely pale cream – bordering on white – but for this reason I guess I’m happy that the nursery e-mailed me yesterday to say that it had gone out of stock and they would not be able to deliver it for at least 3 weeks. However, when I wrote them to ask them to either come up with suggestions for substitutes of similar growth habits or to just add one more frogbit they came back with several options.

I went for the ‘Perrys baby red’ water lily. In the dug-down tubs of The Puddles it should be fully hardy unless we have a really severe winter, and if I make a lid for its puddle for the coldest months I can be completely sure it can overwinter outside.

So there will be one puddle with a red water lily and two puddles with white frogbits. I’m thinking the red water lily needs to be the furthest from the ‘rhapsody in blue’ roses that will stand between The Puddles and the rest of The Ambitious Border so it can shine on its own, surrounded only by green foliage and subtle white flower umbels.

I want the puddles to be wildlife friendly, of course, and the aquatics are clearly bound to help. However, I also want them to be vignettes of the rivers and lakes I’ve passed through many holidays in kayak; there’s something very elegant about slicing through a patch of blooming water lilies in a racing kayak.

Nuphar lutea

Nuphar lutea

(Mind you, I haven’t bought that one, since it needs far deeper waters than The Puddles can provide…)

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