Floating Plants for the Naked Garden

By on 17th May in Garden

With Anglian Home Improvements being the official sponsors of Britain in Bloom and supporting the RHS, even taking part in the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show with the Naked Garden. This link contains a lovely image of the Naked Garden and what it will look at Hampton Court Flower Show!

Here is the latest instalment from guest blogger and garden designer, David Domoney.

Where will we position the floating plants in the ‘Naked Garden’ at Hampton Court by David Domoney

For the top of our containers I am planning to use plants that naturally grow without soil, that grow long, interesting roots that thrive in water and add shading to the surface.

The foliage is bright green and fresh and enables the plants to actually float on the surface of the water with the roots hanging down.

They have a reputation of being invasive; however, trapped in our containers they will be tamed.

Floating plants are very useful in the way they quickly cover areas of water to provide shade. This will help with controlling the temperature of the water on very sunny days, which will reduce the algae growth & other problem weeds, as well as being beneficial to other organisms. Floating plants will also use up excess nutrients in the water which could cause damage.

In order to photosynthesise, floating plants use only the upper surface of their leaves. The breathing pores (stomata) on this upper surface are kept open and clear by a waxy cuticle which repels any water from the breathing pores.

An interesting comparison is with conventional trees, which have to develop massive structural material in order to rise above all the other terrestrial plants to collect the maximum usage of available light. Water lilies provide a neat example of a plant which has managed to do exactly the same thing, but with the minimum of structural material. Their weak stems produce a massive floating canopy of leaves which dominate the local aquatic plant community just as effectively as trees dominate in woodland. The difference lies in their external medium. Water provides all the necessary support, whereas air does not.

Eichhornia crassipes

Commonly known as the ‘Water Hyacinth’, this unusual floating water plant produces light green leaves that swell at the base, filling with air that acts like mini balloons to keep the plant afloat.  It produces pale lavender flowers with small roots which hang down below the water surface.

I have commissioned 100’s of these floating plants to be grown by Frank and his team at Aqua Flora. They will look beautiful floating around the ‘Naked Garden’ at Hampton Court Palace Flower Show this year!

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