Gardening is a great way to keep kids busy and inspired during the summer months, but digging in the dirt isn’t the only way to hone their green thumbs. A compact water garden on your deck or patio is a great way to add some colour to your outdoor space, and to demonstrate the concept of life cycles.
You can find supplies for a basic water garden at your local nursery, or, simply pick up a President’s Choice Water Garden Kit (just $30) on your next grocery run. The kit includes a stylish container, a water lily, two marginals (plants that grow along the sides) and an oxygenator (to combat algae and create the necessary oxygen.)
When you get home, find a spot that’s not too shady, place the planter inside the container and fill to the brim with water. Now comes the fun part: add in some wild life! One or two goldfish will feast on any mosquito larvae, keeping the pests at bay, and a small snail will take care of any unwanted organic matter.
This all-in-one ecosystem will require very little maintenance—just make sure to top up the water to compensate for evaporation and protect against frost like you would other annuals. The fish don’t require any additional food, but it wouldn’t hurt if the kids wanted to drop in some feed every now and then.
—Christina, CF’s managing editor