Ponds create a relaxing environment where plants and fish live in harmony Today, the surface of the pond – the size of a hot tub – is bare except for a lonely water lily leaf around which orange and white goldfish make lazy circles. Water gardening, that is, growing plants with water as the medium, is something anyone can do, says Dusty Culp, owner of texaswaterlilies.com, a Waller company that sells and ships water plants to gardeners. The stems reach up through the water from the planted rhizome (its root) and produce blooms and round leaves that float on the water’s surface. Tropical lilies are another variety; its flower stems grow past the water’s surface, and its leaves are oval and serrated. “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder but my opinion is that the tropical lilies look and grow better than hardy varieties,” Culp says. [...] how much space do you plan to use? (A corner on a patio or half of a big lawn?) Second, how much sun does that space get? (Some lilies bloom on three to five hours of daily sun, but most need full sun, or six to eight hours.) If you have little to no sun, do a fountain instead of a water garden. “Water gardening runs the whole gamut, from a classic old whiskey barrel or you can dig up your whole yard,” Nelson says. A small, 35-gallon-size pond can be kept healthy with the right number of plants and kinds of plants, like oxygenator plants that help balance the environment, keep the algae down and keep the water healthy. Nelson, however, recommends bog filtration, whereby water from the pond is diverted into a gravel bed area planted with water-tolerant plants, like certain varieties of irises, spider lilies and others.