Saturday, March 31, 2012

Pond-free fountains provide safer, more flexible design option

An example of a pond-free fountain.
Water features add a touch of serenity to any landscape, but most of the time the work to put one in is anything but serene.

You're measuring, digging, fitting, moving rocks, digging, doing way more plumbing work than you're probably used to, digging, and then doubling your water bill for the month. And the work doesn't stop there, because eventually your water will evaporate from the pond and you'll have to replace it. If you have wandering young children, you've now got a drowning hazard.

A pond-free fountain, or disappearing fountain, is an easier, safer alternative to a pond water feature and provides more design options in the yard.

It's a smaller, ground-based fountain structure that uses a pump to cycle water up through decorative rocks, pottery, or other elements. The water supply is underground in the base and does not evaporate, and no above-ground pond means no hazard for small children. All of the plumbing sits on top of the base and is easier to access than in a pond feature.

A fountain base such as Atlantic Water Garden's pro-series FB3200 measures just under 3 feet wide, so it can be placed in just about any part of the landscape.

For a visual of the system, see the excessively corny video below. It's exceptionally corny, so only a skim-through is necessary to get the general idea. But if you're planning on purchasing this base or a similar unit, this video is probably a must-see before installation.

Whispering Hills sells the FB3200 and FB4600 fountain bases, custom cuts of stone, and a variety of stone and other materials that can be used in fountain construction.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Bump it up: New formula for bumper crop readily available

Coast of Maine has been throwing nutrient-rich fish and berry compost into Master Nursery's patented bumper crop mix since 2007, but until recently the cost kept the east-coast soil additive from public availability in the Midwest.

Market conditions have improved, and so for the first time in five years Whispering Hills is selling bumper crop in increments of one and two cubic yards to give northern Illinois plants a little boost to their bloom.  

Bumper crop, which in addition to the brand name is an agricultural term referring to an unusually high yield, is a pH-balanced, organic soil amendment that includes bat guano, forest humus, chicken manure, sea kelp and worm castings. 

It is best used when planting, but can be applied after as a mulch. See video below.

Whispering Hills Nursery & Garden Center
Bumper crop
1 cubic yard:$9.99
2 cubic yards: $13.99