Everybody knows that even small ponds require water plants, in the form of oxygenators and marginals, floating plants and filtering aquatics, but how many actually grow useful plants as one as decorative and functional ones in the garden pond?
I discovered quite by accident really, that one of my favourite herbs – the Vietnamese Coriander, normally grown in soil, and which has a lovely piquant aromatic flavour, also grows very well in several inches of water. Even when there is a thick covering of ice in the winter, the plant dies back but recovers again next year from some of the woody stems left underneath, eventually growing into a thicket of leaves that need to be harvested regularly to prevent it taking over.
So that’s one useful herb for growing in the pond, and another I’d like to mention is more obvious, and that’s watercress. Some of the garden centres, aquatic centres and pond shops seem to have a form of cress which is sold as an aquatic plant, or you may get given some from a neighbour, but I think it’s more important to get the right variety for culinary purposes so what I do is this. When I buy a bag of watercress in a plastic bag from a supermarket for use in salads, if there are any stemmy parts with white roots already growing out, I throw one or two pieces in the pond. They look a bit sad floating there on their sides, but in few days will find their feet and start spreading. Watercress is a useful water plant for filtering harmful nitrates out of the pond water in any case, but if it spreads well then you can cut and wash some for eating purposes, and the tiny white flowers are quiet attractive too. Like the vietnamese coriander, the watercress seemed to survive a frozen winter last year as well, but in previous years I have had to start all over again, which is easy enough given the method I have already mentioned.
So there are two edible plants which can be grown in a small garden pond. I wonder if you can suggest any more please?