Learn how to add water gardens to landscape

Gardeners Gathering is Saturday at Blue Goose
By: Kathy Maynard, Loomis News Correspondent
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What: Placer County Master Gardener’s Sixth Annual
Gardeners Gathering
Where: Blue Goose Fruit Event Center, 3550 Taylor Road in Loomis.
When: 8:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m., Saturday, March 2
Tickets: $30 includes lunch and light refreshments. Advance registration is required. Register at or at the UCCE office in the Dewitt Center, 11477 E Ave., in Auburn.
Information: (530) 889-7388

Golden Pond Water Plants
What: Aquatic plant nursery
Where: 3275 Sierra College Blvd., in Loomis
Hours: Open April to October; 10 a.m.- 4 p.m.,
Thursday - Sunday
Information: 652-5459 or

A Loomis aquatic gardening specialist will demonstrate how to enhance any yard or outdoor space by adding water gardens to the landscape.
Sue Golden, of Golden Pond Water Plants, will be one of five local experts featured at the Placer County Master Gardener’s Sixth Annual Gardeners Gathering from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Saturday, March 2 at the Blue Goose Event Center, 3550 Taylor Road.
Golden will show participants many ways to create water gardens by adding plants to water features of all types, depths and sizes. She will talk about assembling table-top water bowls and constructing floating water gardens in large earth-bottom koi ponds to protect plants from the fish. “Using water brings so much interest and dimension to landscape. Most people think of ponds, but I’m going to demonstrate how anything that you can flow water through, even a gutter, could be a planter for aquatics,” she said.
Golden graduated from Del Oro High School in 1980 and earned her Bachelor’s degree in Landscape Design and Ornamental Horticulture in 1987 from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. She started her career by working at Fowler’s Nursery in Newcastle, while running a landscape design business on the side.
“I was designing water features into my clients’ yards, but there were no aquatic plants available except by ordering them bare root from back east, so I started growing plants here to supply my clients. I started growing more and more plants as interest in water gardening grew and was able to open the nursery for people to come shop for plants in 1993,” she said.
Golden’s knowledge has expanded with the nursery, where she grows more than 300 varieties of aquatic, bog and terrestrial plants from seed, cuttings and division. March is the ideal time to start, because water gardening is only done the good months of the year, Golden said. The nursery is open April through October.
“It’s going to ramp up as soon as the days warm up, when the algae starts growing,” she said. “The summer is the height of the cycle. When it’s hot and nothing else is growing, water plants are thriving.”
Visiting the nursery is an educational experience. Golden offers lots of classes and gives demonstrations and tours to garden clubs, she said. Displays range in size from vertical pole and rooftop gardens to fountains, still water lily and koi ponds.
Golden said she continually adds new exhibits to help clients get ideas and select the right varieties for their own water gardens.
“The whole gist of water gardening is balancing the water to encourage the plants to out-compete algae by taking nutrients from the water. Basically, I provide information when people come in with an algae issue or other problem. It’s very challenging because every situation is different and every year your pond is different than it was the year before,” she said.
Besides Golden, the Gardeners Gathering will feature information from Master Gardeners and other gardening-related agencies.
Joanne Neft, author of “The Art of Real Food” and “Placer County Real Food,” will speak on garden to kitchen; Contra Costa Master Gardener Janet Miller presents “Beyond Tomatoes and Zucchini;” Carolyn Singer, author of “The Seasoned Gardener” and “Deer in My Garden” will speak on creating a healthy garden; Ellen Zagory, UC Davis Arboretum director of public horticulture, will discuss how to select plants for garden diversity.