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koi pond & water gardens 2003
pond #3 - finishing touches
before - July 2003
after - August 2003
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.
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
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.
2003 - an old friend and a new one ...
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.
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?
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!