Last year's random pond plants did extremely well in our little pond off the deck. We had a mix of purple pickerel weed, thin-leaved cattails, bullrushes, irises, and water lilies. We didn't do a good job of overwintering the plants; fall was way too busy to properly re-pot and store them in the basement fridge (which is what we did with the waterlilies the year before). But enough survived that we have a good collection to put out this year. Mistakes were made last year, but I learned things in the process. Biggest mistakes? 1) Wrong soil mix. Not knowing any better, I used the potting soil I had in the basement, and topped the pots with a layer of rocks to give them some weight and keep the fish from digging up the plants. Guess what? The potting mix had perlite in it, and perlite floats. We spent the entire summer skimming little floating white balls of perlite out of the pond – what a freaking mess. 2) Wrong pots. I saw some fabric pots at Pond Paradise down in Cottage Grove, thought they'd be a good substitute for the plastic baskets most of the plants came in, and loaded up. Guess what? Even loaded down with rocks, fabric pots offered no stability at all, and once the plants had started to mature, they became top heavy, tipping over in every wind, and spilling their loads of perlite-laden topsoil into the pond. Hey, you live, you learn. This year I've got everything potted in terracotta azalea pots (the wide, low ones) with a mix of equal parts plain topsoil (no chemicals, and no freaking perlite), plain kitty litter (CareFree Natural, no colors, no scent), and fine aquarium gravel. We're ready for the frogs to move back in any day now.