You can grow some remarkable moisture-loving plants in your water garden. Not many of these plants are showy and bright, but many of them are giant-leaved, with striking forms and delicate blooms. They tend to be vigorous and fast growing. A small pool is worth installing simply to grow one or two lovely water lilies, an elegant bamboo, or some delicate, lush ferns.

In a naturalistic setting, marginal plants are used to soften the edges. Plants should be chosen that have all the right functional qualities and are, at the same time, pleasing to the eye.

Water lilies (above, left) work best in deep water. Marginal plants are a good choice in boggy gardens, and choice treasured plants work well with container water gardens.

Pickerelweed (below, right) is a perennial blue-purple blooming plant that attracts butterflies. Many people devote whole sections of their gardens to satisfy the needs of these special visitors.

Choosing plants the butterfly larvae need will encourage butterflies to stay in your back yard.

Water mint provides fluffy lavender pink blooms over a long summer season, and attracts butterflies as well. This can be planted in a soggy area.