Water gardening can be a constant source of delight for the senses. From the still waters of ponds to the babbling rills of brooks, there are as many ways to waterscape as there are water plants.
In quiet waters, the water lily and lotus are kings. These lovely and serene blossoms come in every color and are easy to plant along the shoreline, where they can spread outward. Remember that water lily tubers are a favorite snack for some aquatic wildlife species, so protect them with weighted pots from nibblers! Be sure to select hardy varieties for your area, and you will have a growing profusion of beautiful lilies and lotus in season.
Siberian iris is an excellent choice for both marsh-like environments and areas where water is moving. Slender stems and reed-like leaves set off purple, yellow, white, and blue blossom varieties in summer and stay vibrant well.
Add a splash of red a little further up on the bank where the soil is wet but not soggy, with the tall spikes of cardinal flower and canna lily, which can be pulled and overwintered indoors in cold climates.
Foliage without flowers can also can a significant visual interest in a water garden. The bloody dock doesn't flower but has spidery red veins in its leaves. Arrow arum doesn't bloom but has arrow-shaped leaves in a fresh, pale green.
Any well-rounded group of water plants must include the great cattail! Cattails add height to the waterscape, with their familiar brown tops turning to fluff as their seeds ripen and disperse.
In deeper waters, submerged species like Anacharis, hornwort, and the fern-like elodea are decorative and help the environment by competing with algae and oxygenating stagnant water.