BioHaven – Natural Beauty

Let’s say you are a water steward and you care about beauty. You are considering BioHavens for waterways in a park, or a private lake, or even a stormwater pond.  You want the islands to beautify the setting but you aren’t sure of the level of management required.  You’re wondering, will I have to be a full-time gardener, taking care of weeds and tending to the plants?  What will I let myself in for?

bunches of yellow and pink flowers growing on the edge of a floating island

With 8,000 BioHaven floating islands under our belt, we can say unequivocally that “less is more.”  Our recommendation is to choose suitable bedding plants for their immediate aesthetic, and to sprinkle seeds onto the island. The initial planting is important, but what you have seeded into the BioHaven is even more so. To start, you will need to pamper the island just a little bit, but after a short settling-in period, you can leave your BioHaven to itself! Soon, you can sit back and watch it evolve into a feature of beauty. The pampering is also very minimal. It simply means making sure the plants are getting enough water and are establishing well. A visual check will typically do the trick.

Learning from Nature

Focus on nature-as-model.  What are the beautiful perennials in your region that naturally occur near your water.  And be thoughtful.  Perhaps take a walk through a nearby wetland to see what is growing there.  Pay particular attention to pollinator insects. Follow them, and where you find them you will find the optimal plants for your BioHaven.

a honey bee pollinating yellow flowers

By positioning your island near shore initially, you can pamper it as needed for its first few weeks.  This allows time for seedings to germinate and for a bit of re-seeding if needed. It also allows you to develop your perspective about the positioning of the BioHaven on your waterway.  Initial thoughts may transition as the BioHaven develops in all three dimensions.  It’s also interesting to note that planting islands in archipelagos (a fancy name for clusters) really works!  The space between the islands adds to the visual size and impact.  And as any interior designer knows, balance is critical.  We find that islands clustered in odd numbers work best visually.  But test this out…as rules are made to be broken.

a pollinator insect lands on a bunch of pink flowers