We had been struggling to find suppliers of any decent range of aquatic plants in Ireland and then to find UK firms who would deliver to the Republic but then someone on Facebook tipped me off to a firm who generously gave me Mimmack's name. They have been brilliant and I would unreservedly recommend them to anyone in the British Isles if you, like us, have a pond to stock.
As well as being able to buy individual named plants, they do fixed price 'collections' such as Starter Packs and Wildlife Pond sets and they do them for a range of pond sizes. We wanted white water lilies and purple loosestrife but beyond that we also wanted a good range of native, wildlife species. Their bigger packs also contain a ration of water snails (in our case 24 common Pond Snails (Stagnalis). We chose a collection called 'N4' at £65 which cost £27.50 to post here (i.e. total £92.50, or €112 thereabouts) which proved to have 24 species in it plus the 'mixed oxygenators' which looks to me contain the native Elodea and hornwort (Ceratophyllum) plus maybe another species or two. In many cases the species bag contained several plants - up to 5 in one case, so we have done very well. They all arrived in good health, fresh and bright. The water lilies and 'brandy bottle' plants in particular had fine thick chunky bits of root and the water lilies had leaf stems enough to reach the surface when planted straight into our depth; no need for the 'nursery slopes' stages.
For the botanists among you we have, in alphabetical order
Acorus Calamus native Sweet flag
Alisma plantago-aquatica native Common water plantain
Butomus umbellatus Flowering rush native
Equisetum fluviatale Water marestail
Hydrocharis morsus-ranae Frogbit
Hypericum Elodes native Marsh St John's Wort
Iris pseudacorus native Yellow flag
Juncus inflexus native Hard rush
Lycopsus Europaeus Native Gypsy Wort
Lysimachia thrysiflora native Tufted loosestrife
Lythrum salicaria Purple loosestrife
Mentha aquatica native Watermint
Menyanthes trifoliata native Bogbean
Mimulus luteus native Yellow monkey flower
Mixed oxygenators native Mixed oxygenators native
Mysotis scorpioides native Water forget me not
Nuphar luteum Brandy bottle
Nymphaea alba White water lily
Nymphoides peltata Water fringed lily
Potentilla palustris native Purple marshlock
Potomageton Natans Broad leaved pondweed
Ranunculus flammula native Lesser spearwort
Sagittaria sagittifolia native Common arrowhead
Sparganium erectum native Burr reed
Stagnalis Common pond snail
Stratiotes aloides Water soldier
You can imagine that we had great fun for 2 hours this morning in the sunshine unpacking this lot, grouping them by planting depth needs, then potting (or 'tray'ing) them up for sinking into the pond, or planting them between the stones of our beach. Some, the floating aquatics are just simply 'launched' into the water to drift where they will. Submerged oxygenators arrived bunched into half a dozen 'posies' held together with bag-ties. These we held a small stone to using the thin elastic bands which came with a lot of this and gently sank them into the depths.
I have not done photos yet because mainly these were chunks of root with a few young shoots protruding, so not that picturesque but we hope they will live and flourish in our pond, (as well as helping to kill the red algal bloom!) and we will be able to photograph them in glorious blossom at some point in the future. The oxygenators like Elodea are believed to help with algal blooms by being hungry and fast growing selfish feeders who strip the water of excess nutrients and starve the algae out of rations.
Great fun on a Friday morning.