It may be that either your marginal shelves are too shallow to take an aquatic planting basket without the basket sticking out of the water, something to be avoided at all costs!  Or perhaps you don’t have any at all, which is often the case with raised ornamental ponds, or occasionally where a new pond has been created and they’ve been forgotten -we had a customer recently who left the gardener to dig the pond and went on holiday: 2 weeks later they had a lovely new pond but no marginal shelves!

Don’t panic, there are a number of different solutions!

My shelves are too shallow or uneven

An alternative to a fixed height rigid aquatic planting basket is to use a Planting Bag.  They’re made from a fine mesh flexible fabric that can be filled with soil, and the height can be reduced by either trimming or rolling down the top of the bag or sock to the required depth.  Because they are flexible, where shelves are (gently) sloping or uneven they will mould to the shape of the shelf and be much more stable than a basket, which would be liable to be blown over or fall over very easily.  They can also be useful if your pond is in a windy site as they will give more stability.  The Planting bags come in a range of sizes from 2 litres to 22.5 litres.

Another option is the Pond Planter Sock which holds 18 litres of soil to a depth of 10cm.  It’s very useful for following the curve of a pond marginal shelf and great for planting shallow creeping marginals to soften the edges of ponds.

I don’t have any marginal shelves in my pond

Depending on the depth of your pond you could build some shelves or piers by using bricks to raise the level around the edges.  If you don’t fancy having a go at this we have 2 options to help you:

The Over Growing Mat: this is a large mat with 3 rows of 6 pockets for planting at different depths.  They’re made of a tough black fabric and come with stainless steel pegs to secure them to the edge of your pond, and they then simply hang into the pond. 

The Planting Island:  this is based on a fabric covered floating polystyrene ring which is the equivalent of a 3.5 litre basket.  Islands can be left to float or anchored in place, and can be linked together in groups.  They would fit one good sized plant of a litre plus with a couple of smaller creeping or rafting plants as undergrowing, such as a Water Forget-me-not or Water mint.