Nature is Sexy


Does this look familiar?  Why, it’s our Rich People’s Garden, and here it is in today’s WaPo article about plants in pools.  Just remember you saw it first on GardenRant.

MannionAnyhoo, it seems that "natural pools" – think swimming holes half-filled with plants – are all the rage in Europe, a trend ushered in by Dutch designer Henk Weijers.  "The basic rectangular pool, clear and chlorinated to death, is boring and sterile," says our friend Tom Mannion, the designer pictured here.  Americans, being the cleanliness freaks that we are, are so afraid of algae and free-floating soil that even this modest gesture to Weijers separates the plant-containing water from the swimmer-containing water, with just two potted plants sitting in the swimming pool.  Even that was enough to elicit a no-thanks from the first pool maintenance company that Tom contacted.

So we have a looong way to go but we have a vision.  Pools don’t have to be "big barren things in the middle of the back yard."  They can be filled with people and water and plants and maybe even fish all moving and breathing together in an Edenic reenactment.  Ooh, that’s sexy.


  1. … and slimey and bacteria-ridden. Those rich folks are nuts. I think I’ll keep my swimmin’ hole chlorinated, thank-you-very-much. 😉

  2. You would definitely need a “pool boy” to keep it all clean and suitable for swimming. I purchased an aquarium once and was determined to have live, not plastic, plants. I ended up with a slimey, algae mess!

  3. I yearn for a small backyard pool like the one you’ve shown–I see it filled with plants and fish. Maybe I’ll put a project like that on my “things to do when I retire” list.

    But….yrs ago, my neighbors built a sweet little pond in their yard. Nice plants, both around and inside the pond. Fish too. But after about 3 yrs, they decided to remove the pond–totally and completely. Why? The frogs thrived, and they were so loud that it interfered with sleep (not the frogs’ sleep but the humans’ sleep).

    On another topic: Every time I see those zinnias on your page I smile. You guys must admit they are just plain pretty and who doesn’t like just plain pretty? I’m growing one small zinnia this yr (I planted lots of seeds, but managed to have only one success). The flower is just beginning to emerge–don’t know what color yet. Hear, hear for annuals!

  4. Susan, thanks so much for that photo! On-premises swimming is one of the great goals of my life–in fact, it may rank #1, ahead of publish a book or get grown-up dining chairs.

    Anyway, my husband and I are constantly at loggerheads over the pool versus pond question. I’m very much pro-pond. Cheaper, no chlorine. But a pool with PLANTS! Now that’s an interesting compromise.

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