Tabletop tranquility fountain

Make a tabletop water fountain and add water music to your home.

By Jo Calvert

Whether you have a pasture-size garden or a postage-stamp balcony, you can always enjoy a little water music. Jennifer Bennett, well-known Canadian garden expert and author, shares her tips for making a small-scale waterfall set within its own diminutive landscape.

Supplies:
• Watertight bowl or basin at least 9 cm (3-1/2 in) deep and 28 cm (11 in) in diameter (must accommodate submersible pump)
• Small submersible pump (not the fish-tank variety), approx 2 x 3 x 2 in (5 x 7.5 x 5 cm) such as Little Giant model PES-A or PE-A (available at some nurseries and specialty suppliers), with clear plastic tube fitted to water outlet
• Enough pea gravel to fill bowl, rinsed thoroughly in water (Avoid using roadside gravel, which often carries weed seeds and oily contaminants.)
• 1 to 3 palm-size flat stones (see "Drilling Stones" below)
• Small sculpture, fossil or shell, rinsed thoroughly in water (optional)
• Scissors and small plastic flowerpot that accommodates pump
• 3 or 4 small plants (Pick a variety of types from feathery ferns to the flat round rosettes of Sempervivum. If planning to move bowl inside in winter, choose plants that require low light levels.)

For step-by-step instructions, click on "SEE ALL IMAGES" under main image at top left.

Designer's Tips
• Try a variety of small plants. Succulents such as aloe, Crassula, Echeveria, Euphorbia, Lithops (living stones), Sansevieria or Sempervivum are good choices.

• Spread a little crushed charcoal, such as that sold for aquariums, along the bottom of the bowl to help maintain the water's freshness.

• Check the water level each time you turn on the pump, or make a shallow "pond" in the gravel so you can see the water level.

• Keep pump submerged at all times.

• Position the completed water feature near an electrical outlet and at the back of a tabletop, sideboard or flower bed so the cord is hidden behind it.

• Place it outside only in frost-free weather and run the pump only when you are there to enjoy it. Make sure the cord stays dry and position it so drips don't flow into the electricaI outlet.

Drilling Stones
Jennifer Bennett drilled holes in flat stones to accommodate tube. First, she secured each stone in a vise, then wearing a mask and safety glasses and using a diamond drill bit (with slightly larger diameter than tube), she drilled through it.

Set a Different Scene
• Fill a hand-thrown bowl with smooth pebbles, several larger stones and various mosses, then add a tiny Japanese stone lantern or carved stone Buddha.

• Fill a glass bowl with glass "pebbles" (available at some nurseries and stained-glass stores) and add a delicate fern or two and glass paperweights or tiny blown-glass figurines.

• Fill a weathered galvanized pail with round fist-sized rocks and rusted-metal sculptures or found objects ˜ no plants.

• Fill a blue plastic basin with small seashells, then add a miniature palm planted in a conch shell, and tiny plastic pink flamingos, a rubber crocodile or even Barbie sunbathing in her swimsuit!


WHERE TO FIND IT:

Handmade Stoneware Containers
Mike Doxey, Banished Moon Pottery, Kearney, Ont.; bmp@surenet.net (705) 636-5615.

Pumps
Moore Water Gardens, Port Stanley, Ont., (519) 782-4052;

Sheridan Nurseries, Toronto, toronto@sheridannurseries.com (416) 481-6429

Humber Nurseries Ltd. and Butterfly Conservatory, Brampton, Ont. (905) 794-0555 or (416) 798-8733;

Picov's Water Garden Centre and Fisheries, Ajax, Ont., (905) 686-2151 or, for mail order, 1-800-663-0300.

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