A fountain doesn't have to be a splashy affair. In fact, artists George Little and David Lewis (206/842-8327 or www.littleandlewis.com) have perfected a trickle fountain that flows just a drop at a time. One of their creations can be found in a garden on Bainbridge Island, Washington.
The pond is made from poured steel-reinforced concrete. Three square pedestals are set in the bottom of the pond to support the hollow concrete columns―formed in sections and assembled on site―that rise above them. The capitals are filled with soil, planted (each with a different plant), and irrigated with pond water channeled through 1/2-inch copper tubes hidden in the column centers. (It's the ultimate drip-irrigation system.) A low-volume pump supplies enough water to soak the soil and trickle over the sides, where it drips from the tops of the capitals and back into the pond.
Papyrus (Cyperus papyrus) grows in the pond (it's in an underwater container that sits atop another inverted container). Every autumn, the owner brings the frost-tender papyrus into her greenhouse, where it lives through the winter in a bucket of water. Goldfish, koi, and plants keep the water clean enough that filters do not have to be used. Though clear water would seem to put the fish in danger of being seen by predators, overstory trees conceal the pond from passing herons, and it is too deep for raccoons.
Landscaping around the pond was a collaboration of the homeowner; her lead gardener, Nathan Priddis; and David Halsaver of Foxglove Greenhouses in Kingston, Washington (360/297-0410). They used baby's tears (Soleirolia soleirolii) and creeping Jenny, both of which make low mats of soft leaves, to conceal the pond's concrete edges. The creeping Jenny is covered with yellow flowers in summer. An array of perennials also surrounds the pond.
That's dwarf cattail (Typha minima) sending up straight green wands from the tallest column, and creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia), which "drips" stems of lime green foliage from the shortest one.
Baby's tears and creeping Jenny mingle at lower left beside strappy green agapanthus and Persicaria microcephala 'Red Dragon'. At lower right is Rehmannia elata with rose pink flowers, next to oval-leafed Bergenia 'Winter Glut'. Assorted primulas and lime-flowered lady's-mantle fill in around the pond. Rhododendrons and Douglas firs create a leafy backdrop.