Let me just say up front that I'm a big fan of native plants. They require less water once established, and provide food and shelter for insects, birds and mammals.
I took advantage of the warm fall weather to start cleaning the pond. One of the plants we’ve used at the Habitat Garden is the native pickerelweed or pickerel rush. It grows well in shallow water and has a spike of purple flowers. So far, so good.
Pickerelweed is a relative of water hyacinth, which was introduced into the United States in the late 1800s. Warmer climates have made this plant a multi-million dollar nuisance. While the water hyacinth spreads out along the surface of the water, the pickerelweed has a stubby rhizome that roots into the shallow mud or bottom and forms clumps from there. It is quite happy in the relatively quiet waters of our ponds.
In its native setting, ducks will consume some of the plant’s seeds, and small mammals keep its growth in check. Just a reminder, native in the wild and native in a cultivated setting, may not be the same.
My efforts this week removed about five trash bags of debris, filled almost exclusively with pickerelweed. I’m happy to say that you can now see the water, fish and the plants.