Don't be fooled. Inside this thin coating of sweetness is a fiery core of total insanity.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

My Stream

People have asked a few times for me to do a post about my stream, so I thought I would oblige. It's a disappearing stream, or a pondless waterfall, I've heard both of those terms used for this type of water feature.

It was built just a little over a year ago, by our contractor Chris Gilliam (the same guy who did our fence and built my freaking awesome potting bench).  The construction started with a delivery of B-I-G rocks.

(Hope the video works)

Big pile of rocks

 Chris used his backhoe to place a ring of rocks to make the waterfall.

 At the opposite end, where the white underlayment is, there is a reservoir for the pump.

Waterfall in place

The stream used one very long, continuous liner

Once the liner was in place, Chris placed the big rocks very carefully along the edges.

View from an upstairs window

The liner was covered with river rock

After smaller rocks were placed along the edges, it was filled with water and turned on

Very dirty water

It was filled and then pumped out a few times, till the water ran clear.

Nice dark soil and compost were placed around it for planting

Ready for planting

Last year I planted Hakone grass, Persicaria, Geranium phaeum 'Samobar' and black mondo grass around the waterfall. I still haven't planted anything actually in the waterfall, to hide the plastic.

On one side of the stream I've planted red twig dogwood, Agastache 'Tutti Frutti', a couple of different Dianthus, some Lupines, Echinacea, daylilies, Shasta daisies, and Salvia.

On the opposite side I planted a Gunnera, some ornamental grasses, a small Indian plum and a Pacific wax myrtle.

I just finished planting some Euphorbias, grasses, primroses and Heucheras there amongst last year's ornamental grasses. I also put in my new witch hazel, and moved my Camella here so it would get a little more sun. The red stems just leafing out right in front are from a vine maple (Acer circinatum 'Pacific Fire').

The upstairs view now

Last year I tried planting some water-loving perennials like Lobelia cardinalis directly in the water of the stream, but the raccoons that come every night to play in it tore them out, roots and all, and chewed them up. 
 Remnants of chewed up Lobelia

They tried chewing on the marsh marigold, too.

But I've read it has a caustic sap, so I guess they didn't like it. Now they leave it alone. And fortunately, the roots of the Lobelia were intact, so I just cut the stalk back and planted it in soil in another part of the garden, and it lived! The marsh marigold should flower soon, it has completely recovered from its beat-down and it has lots of buds.

 Here's the view now through the garden gate.

Here's the view standing up by the waterfall.

I wish I could make up my mind what I want to plant to hide the ugly plastic.

The view from the back porch, where we often eat dinner in the summer. It's a very pleasant spot!


  1. Alison, you had me at the words 'big rocks', lol! Love the waterfall and stream, I wish we had thought of doing something like this. The raccoons sure do damage to the plants in your pond, silly things. I imagine any fish you would stock would be snacks for them, too.

    I love the way the stream meanders, it all looks so natural. You have such a beautiful garden, Alison.

  2. This is absolutely stunning, Alison! I had no idea you had a waterfall in your garden. What a marvellous construction and it blends in beautifully with the overall design and layout of your garden...Oh, Boy! I'm thinking, if your MIL could see you now...she'd take back all her mean comments. You're a master gardener and you're creating a legacy of love and beauty!

  3. Gosh, what a lot of work but it looks so fantastic! You've done an amazing job and built a beautiful space!

  4. Beautiful! I'm jealous.

    Although I'd expect the sound of running water would make me want to pee all the time.... lol

  5. Wow, fantastic. Looks beautiful and sounds heavenly. I would be out every minute of the day sitting beside that feature. Take care and have a great Easter weekend.

  6. Looks fabulous! I have native sword fern by my waterfall and it looks great--just a thought. I love how the stream meanders. It's just beautiful.

  7. Wow! That is fantastic! They have automatic sprinklers that are motion activated if you want to be rid of those racoons. Always thought that would be fun to watch (I know--Im terrible)

  8. Oh my, talk about a place to unwind after a hard day at work...Just beautiful...

  9. Alison,

    This Chris has a lot of talent. He did a great job on the waterfall. You'll have many years of enjoyment out of it.

  10. Alison, what an amazing transformation!! I am sorry about the raccoon getting your newly planted lobelias. rotten ba****ds!!!!

  11. I'm so happy I didn't miss this post! I've always wanted to see what your stream looked like, it's really pretty and natural. In the plastic area could you try floating plants like water hyacinth or water lettuce?

  12. I didn't get any photos when ours went in. It was during the week and I was out both days! Like magic, it was there when I returned! You know, I have just covered up my top plastic by placing large rocks inside and then surrounding them with smaller ones. I'll have to do a before and fact, I can even do that on facebook without writing a post, if you're interested. I've been planting things around it and placed the lobelia cardinalis in a pot right in the stream. Until you told me, I didn't realize it could tolerate (and loved!) the water so much.

  13. Why didn't I ever think of a disappearing stream? I always assumed you had to have a pond, of course, the pond is a good thing for wildlife but more work, too. It look s gorgeous, and I'm a pretty picky person.


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