Another project completed: the stream

I'm quite happy with the progress I'm making on my list of projects for this summer. Thanks to Peter who convinced me that I didn't have to rebuild the entire thing but could probably just revamp it quite easily, the stream is now flowing again!

It had been silent and dry since the early winter, as I was certain that I needed to dig the channel deeper to keep it from leaking.


Can I tell you how dreadfully quiet it was on the patio and deck without the sound of running water?

That was another reason to tackle the stream project earlier rather than later, but even just repairing it took some effort and it was not very much fun. I decided not to document the process with photos as that would have just slowed me down and since there was a lot of water and mud involved it would have been more trouble than it was worth.

I'll describe it though: I removed all of the rocks from the stair side of the stream (since that was the low side that I suspected was leaking), then built up that wall using bricks under the liner. I then re-stacked the stones to cover the liner as best I could, then adjusted some of the channel rocks and added more pebbles as needed.

I don't really like how high the rocks are on the stair side as it looks like a wall -- not quite natural -- but it's necessary as I've learned over the past few years. (Unnatural is better than leaking!) The plants will help with that though...

I ripped out as much of the stringy stonecrop (Sedum sarmentosum) as I could find -- that stuff is way too aggressive!

That left only three plants worth saving, the 'Beatlemania' sedge (Carex 'Beatlemania')...

Carex 'Beatlemania' with some stringy stonecrop at the lower right
...and the mix of sedums: 'Angelina' and 'Blue Spruce':

That left lots of room for new plants!

I added a white Gaura 'Whirling Butterflies', Anthemis kelwayi 'Sauce Hollandaise', Lime Thyme, 'Silver Mound' Artemesia, and a creeping thyme.

I also tucked more sedum into some of the nooks and crannies, things that I already had around like the red stuff that might be Sedum spurium 'Dragon's Blood' (no photo -- I couldn't take a good one). I may stick my remaining few sempervivum here as well...

A closer look at the plants...

Gaura 'Whirling Butterflies'

Lime Thyme

Anthemis kelwayi 'Sauce Hollandaise'

Anthemis kelwayi 'Sauce Hollandaise'

'Silver Mound' Artemesia

'Silver Mound' Artemesia

Carex 'Beatlemania'

I added grey santolina (Santolina chamaecyparissus) toward the bottom of the stream...

...and there's still space for more planting or a potted plant maybe:

I'm happy to say that the stream doesn't seem to be losing water (or if it is it's happening much more slowly than it was last year), and the birds immediately started bathing in it. A dragonfly hovered over it literally as soon as the water started flowing -- very cool!

I'll post more photos later this summer after the plants have filled in a bit.

(The tour is this weekend so I won't be able to start another project until after that's over...)


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outlawgardener  – (June 10, 2015 at 9:09 AM)  

Your stream looks great and once the plants fill in, it'll look quite natural. Sometimes I wonder if water in the garden is worth all of the effort but when hearing the sound, watching the wildlife, and enjoying the fish, I think it is. Great job, Alan!

Mark and Gaz  – (June 10, 2015 at 10:38 AM)  

Love it Alan! Great work you've done there and I can just imagine the lovely sound it makes. Well done on Peter too for giving the advice :)

Gerhard Bock (Succulents and More)  – (June 10, 2015 at 11:46 AM)  

I love it, too. I'd be thrilled to have something like this in my backyard, except it's neither big enough nor sloped enough (in fact, it's totally flat). Great plant choices, too!

Jane Baldwin  – (June 10, 2015 at 12:58 PM)  

I am so impressed with your industry, and the outcome. And Beatlemania cracks me up!

Rock rose  – (June 10, 2015 at 1:09 PM)  

I think that working with rocks is one of the most difficult tasks that a gardener has to tackle. It is so difficult to make them look natural. I applaud you for having done such a great job. Are you sure you live in St L. I never saw a rock there and the plants you grow were way out of my range of knowledge for the area. The sound of water is a must in every garden.

Hoover Boo  – (June 10, 2015 at 3:02 PM)  

You did a good job, Alan. It looks wonderful, so you need to reward yourself with a new plant or two. ;^)

Lisa  – (June 10, 2015 at 9:40 PM)  

It was your stream that brought me to your blog when we were researching our own pond build. So I'm happy to see it restored to it's full glory! Every garden needs water!

Alan  – (June 11, 2015 at 11:09 AM)  

Thanks everybody! The stream still seems to be losing water -- I had to add a couple of gallons today -- but maybe that's evaporation and loss due to animal visitors?

Jenny: You forgot to include "fun" in the "working with rocks" description -- I love it!

Gail: You're kidding right? The stream project was one of the reasons I bought so many plants this spring!

Lisa: How do you use DE? Do you sprinkle it on all of the foliage? How does that stop caterpillars? Don't breathe the dust -- VERY BAD!

Lisa  – (June 11, 2015 at 10:37 PM)  

We sprinkle it all around the plants. Three sharp particles cut into the soft body of the creepers and they, well, seep out. (Sorry for the faint of heart!)

The DE we use is food grade - you can actually consume it and I know folks who do as it has some health properties - don't ask me what! But it's not the fine particulate type that is used in manufacturing, which is extremely danderous to inhale. While I am still cautious - like I am with azomite or bentonite clay or any fine powder - it's not a hazardous material.

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