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koi pond & water gardens 2003

pond #3 - finishing touches

before - July 2003
after - August 2003
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click for larger picture

We were too tired last summer to put the finishing touches on the pond: hiding the unattractive black box which contains the bio-fall.

The project is deceptively simple looking - put rectangular flagstone wall bricks around the waterfall. What's actually involved though, is to remove all the plant material along the rear perimeter on the pond, level the ground, and start building the wall in the front of the bio-fall, under water, in such a way that the four sides of the wall are level and straight.

We'll also rebuild the top of the wall between the two ponds and level out the two small water falls on each side.

Note the water hyacinths inside the bio-fall. They were not disturbed or removed during this project. In the six weeks between the pictures, the hyacinths have grown to be more than 18 inches tall! They grow hair like roots which filter the water, keeping our pond almost crystal clear all summer.

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click for larger picture
click for larger picture

The first two photos show that we're removed all all water plants, potted plants, and perennials around the area. We've also decided that the tallgrasses, which we planted only last summer, need to be removed and placed in pots so that we can easily move them to gain access to the water plants in the top pond.

In the picture to the right, an edging of clay color concrete bricks is visible. This was the edging of our first, original pond. The bricks now are being used as a retaining wall on the back edge of the pond. This wall is about a foot from the rear lot line of our property. The view the neighbors see is a bricked wall approximately three feet high, topped with plants. From the neighbors yard, if not for the sound of the water splashing, one would never know that there was a pond.

2003 - some new things we've learned

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The plants in the top pond are doing a terrific job of filtering the water and keeping it clear, but we're still prone to get string algae. We have used barley straw as an algae deterrent for three years, but don't like the mess of the rotting straw falling out of its mesh container and littering the pond bottom. This year, we're trying a yellow plastic 'ferret exercise ball' purchased at PetSmart and stuffed with the barley straw. It's visible in the right, rear area of the pond.

We found that removing all plants from the koi area leaves the fish with few hiding spaces and shady spots. Fish roe and new, vulnerable, babies also need hiding spaces, so we've added a floating island of water lettuce. We formed a circle of clear plastic tubing, anchored to a rock, to contain the lettuce, which would otherwise float into the skimmer. The lettuce island is in the right side of the water.

The koi have decided for us that they don't want the bottom totally rock free. They've removed pea gravel and river rock from the potted water lilies and have spread it all over the pond. So --- we've put in mesh baskets filled with colored aquarium gravel, just to watch the koi decorators at work.

The spillway of the top waterfall is currently a piece of Plexiglas. It has served as a trial template for a piece of black granite which is being cut for us.

A note about all the garden ornaments, statues, decorations, etc. - many just appear anonymously! The entire neighborhood considers this pond the evening to midnight gathering spot so they bring stuff to enhance the place.

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2003 - an old friend and a new one ...

click for larger picture - THIS IS A LARGE PHOTO!

Froggy, star of many of our photos for the past three years, continues to grow, thrive, and amuse us.

Here he is on a stifling hot July day, keeping cool and wet.

click for larger picture - THIS IS A LARGE PHOTO!

This is little froggy. Well, one of several, we've counted as many as four but there could be more of them.

He's enjoying the floating plastic ball full of barley straw.

One other thing about this picture: the impatients on the right are growing in water - NO DIRT! Just stick them in a wet spot between two rocks. By the end of the summer, each impatient plant is over 12 inches in diameter.

August 2003 - are we really done?

click for larger picture - THIS IS A LARGE PHOTO!

The black granite spillway for the waterfall has been installed. The water hyacinths and lettuce LOVE being in the moving water! They're going crazy growing so quickly that we're throwing away bagfuls each day.

One morning, we counted 26 water hyacinths in bloom. How gorgeous!

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