All you need to create a small summer water garden is a container, a plant or two and some plain old H20. Once you've put it together, you can move it around your deck or patio, or even bring it indoors for a special occasion. Pictured: Provide a colorful counterpoint to a rough-texture stone container by adding leafy rosettes of water lettuce (Pistia stratiotes), white water snowflakes (Nymphoides indica) and tiny Azolla fern.
Click ahead for more ideas on plant combinations and containers. For planting and care instructions, plus a plan for a larger garden, click here .
Combine four floating plants in a striking glass bowl: trailing parrot feather (Myriophyllum aquaticum), round-leaved frog's bit (Limnobium spongia), fan-like water lettuce (Pistia stratiotes) and red-tinged Azolla.
Most water plants spread very quickly, so you may only need to buy one of each for your small garden. If you need to thin fast-growing plants from your container, be sure not to put them in natural waterways, where they can become invasive.
Place hardy miniature waterlilies, such as these Nymphaea pygmaea 'Helvola', in a yellowware bowl.
A pale stoneware bowl is a good choice for showing off burgundy-edged Phyllanthus fluitans, tiny-leaf duckweed (Lemna minor) and lavender-flower water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes).
A glossy tureen holds an ensemble of lovely leaves: floating sensitive plant (Neptunia oleracea), water clover (Marsilea drummondii), water lettuce (Pistia stratiotes) and floating fern (Salvinia minima).
Set a trio of small floating plants--water lettuce (Pistia stratiotes), water poppy (Hydrocleys nymphoides) and oval-shape Salvinia--in a square pot. Even without the occasional yellow poppy blossoms, the composition boasts an interesting mix of pleated, shiny rounded, and tiny oval leaves.
Add color to enamelware with floating fern (Salvinia minima) and water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes), an easy-to-grow water plant.
What happens to your tabletop garden in winter? In the Midwest, most water plants are grown as annuals. Some water plants can be overwintered indoors in an aquarium or in containers of wet, sandy loam; check with your local garden center for information specific to your area and the plants you have.