The lone voice of horticultural reason

Don’t buy a Zone 6 fountain for a Zone 4 yard.

It’s a fairly common mistake, you finally go out and buy a fountain for your yard, then discover that the thing needs to be tarped for winter because it can’t handle freeze-thaw cycles. I wish garden centers and nurseries would take the same care in selecting the garden accessories they sell as they do their plants. Plants aren’t the only things that need to be hardy for your zone.

The thing to remember when buying and placing a fountain is that it is intended to be a twelve-month garden feature. So what if you have to drain it and pull the pump for winter, it’s still a sculpture, it should still look great in winter, particularly after a snowfall.

This unfortunate scene is not far from my home. I think it’s concrete, and whereas some concrete fountains can be drained and then left alone for northern winters, cheaper ones can’t. Surprisingly, certain types of plastic fountains also need winter protection in Zones 3-5, although if you buy a plastic fountain, well, you had it coming. Two words when it comes to selecting a fountain: iron and stone. If you can’t afford an iron or stone fountain, save up until you can.

Somewhere in the Midwest is a home with a blue-tarped RV in the driveway and a blue-tarped fountain in the yard. I’m sure some day I’ll get that picture.

Don Engebretson
The Renegade Gardener