Showing posts with label water gardens. Show all posts
Showing posts with label water gardens. Show all posts

Monday, April 28, 2008

Feeding fish

Do not feed goldfish because it turns the pond into an outdoor aquarium, but here's yet another reason not to feed them.

Fish soon realize that when a shape appears at the edge of the pond, food appears. They like that and soon they are trained to eat out of your hand. At least that is what you think.

Fish are not the brightest of critters, so when ANY shape appears at the edge of your pond, like a heron, an egret, a crane or a raccoon, they come up to greet the intruder and oops, they become a fresh sushi dinner for a hungry intruder.

For more pond information, have a look at Backyard ponds with the pondlady

Friday, March 14, 2008

Spring is coming!

It's almost 80ยบ here in New Orleans today. We have pond plants sticking their green noses up in the air. The Louisiana iris are getting bigger and bigger. The canna is at least a foot high.
It's time to get the pond up and running again. Get out your pumps and filters, hook them up and put them in your pond. If the pond stinks, you may have decomposing organic material on the bottom. Before it fouls your pond, try to vacuum it out.

If you did not clean your pond last fall, it's time to do it now. Take everything out, put the fish in some pond water, pump out the water into the veggie garden, wet vac the bottom and put everything back in. Don't forget the dechlor

While you are at it start your algae control with barley

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Letters, we get letters

Question about koi pond construction:

I have had several propositions so far this year for a pond. I know where I want it, just not entirely sure how to build it. I want it 5' below ground and 2' above ground, with a viewing window facing the house. I want it right behind my swimming pool so I can almost literally swim with my fishes.

The offers were from two builders in particular, one wants to do gunnite and the other will use EPDM, both will do it over reinforced concrete block. One wants to build a filter shed in the corner of the yard, and the other wants to put a filter "room" below ground next to the house. It is for koi so it will have to have a bottom drain, or two, and the biggest filtration I can afford. I also will, being in Florida which is aka predator heaven, screen it in with my lanai and use the same patio paver blocks around the pond area to match the rest of the
deck area. What do you think? Have I lost my marbles?

Pondlady sez:

I think your plans are over the top!
Oh, one thing. Often swimming pool builders have pond
We both know all the problems with concrete, especially in FL
where you are pretty close to sea level. Might want to find out your elevation before doing gunnite.
The filter room below ground can make it difficult to access
when things need servicing.

Answer to pondlady's question:

One gave me a wonderful price for Diamond Brite. What do you know about using this in a pond? I have the same thing in my pool, which is just a finish as far as I know, over concrete construction.
I am above sea level here and the ground is graded so that my property is about 4-5' above the roads and fields around the area. They have to do that because of the septic leachfields I think. Anyway, I am building it 2' above ground to be on the safe side. I have also spoken to the other guy, a pond builder who is expert with koi ponds, to do the installation of the filtration equipment. So these two guys will work together on it to assure me of the best my money can buy.

Pondlady sez:

I don't know Diamond Brite, but think it is just a brand name for a finish, just as you mentioned.
Your pond sounds as if it will be divine. Please send pictures during and after construction.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Making the pond appear bigger

If for some reason you cannot make your pond as large as you would like, there are design tricks you can use to fool the eye into seeing water where there is none. Try a dry stream bed or dry lake using rocks. Occasionally I have placed round river rocks carefully in a pattern and epoxied them in. I then spray them with a clear lacquer occasionally to keep them looking wet. In the picture, the client wanted a moving water look to go with her more natural looking pond and landscape. You can use whatever you wish. Design is not some secret science that only pros use. It is what looks good to you. Have fun with it.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Pond Conversation Overheard

Pre Katrina, my office overlooked our front yard where the pond was. One unusual New Orleans day when we could have our windows open, I overheard the following conversation:

Man and woman, probably husband and wife, looking at the pond and waterfall:

He: "I wonder how 'he' did that. Where is all that water coming from?"

She: "Silly, the water is coming from the garden hose. Anyone can see that. What I wonder is where is it going? I'd hate to pay their water bill."

And these people reproduce.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Plants and Fish

IF YOU HAVE KOI, DISREGARD THIS POST! Koi eat plants, all plants, all the time. You can screen off your koi or your plants, but if you allow the koi access to the plants, you will have larger koi and fewer plants.

For a garden pond to be successful, it must contain both plants and fish. Not only is this an optimum esthetic condition; but a balanced biotope with interactions between plants and fish will ensure proper water conditions, reduce insects, especially mosquitos, since the fish consume their larva, and plants will greatly reduce the development of algae.

Plants and fish benefit each other in two ways. First, fish and plants contribute to the successful functioning of the nitrogen cycle. As the waste products excreted by fish are released into the water, they are converted to ammonia and then to nitrites and nitrates by nitrifying bacteria. Nitrates are a food or fertilizer for plants and algae. As they are absorbed, plants and algae become a valuable food resource for fish, thus completing the nitrogen cycle.

This ongoing biological cycle ensures healthy pond life. It is important to realize that if plants are not thriving, algae will take over and the water will become murky.

A second important way fish and plants complement one other is through the process of photosynthesis. Fish require oxygen for their existence and they release carbon dioxide. Plants in turn require carbon dioxide for their successful existence and emit oxygen. During sunlight, plants will consume the carbon dioxide released by fish and in turn emit oxygen required by fish.

A constantly functioning nitrogen cycle and photosynthesis are the key components to a successful and beautiful garden pond. The most beautiful type of pond plants are lilies. Water lettuce and water hyacinths are also excellent additions to the pond and submerged plants such as Hornwort, Vallisneria, Sagitarria, Cabomba and Anacharis are also excellent. The ideal pond fish are common or hardy goldfish.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Pond Depth

Dear Pond Lady,
We live in Pennsylvania and it does get pretty cold here in the winter. We are planning to build our first lily pond this summer, and haven't a clue. The info we've gotten from you, so far is the best of any we've seen.

Pondlady sez:
In the South, we recommend that the pond be 18” deep. This depth is ideal for plants and fish. In the north, the pond must be deeper because your weather is colder and the pond can freeze solid. Your pond's deepest point should be below the frost line. That the depth where the ground freezes solid in the winter, and therefore, so does your pond.
I always recommend that you get in touch with your local extension service, university, or aquaculture organization to find out the optimum depth in your area.

Monday, March 05, 2007

pond Plants, arrowhead, pickerel

Two of the broadleaf bog plants are Arrowhead (Sagittaria japonica) and Pickerel rushes (Pontederia cordata). Both of these rushes bloom and stay in bloom most of the summer and even into fall. As with all bog plants, they must have wet feet. If used in the pond, make sure the top of the pot is about an inch below the surface of the water. Each of these plants grow tall, tall enough to be a speciman plant either in the pond or in a bog garden.
I tend not to use them commercially because they are soft plants and stems will break with rough handling. If one of your stems breaks, just cut it off and new stalks will grow almost before you can jump out of the way.

These plants need no more fertilizer than the fish waste provides. When they grow out of their pots, just cut the excess off. They can be invasive in some climates, so always check with your local extension service before ordering and never plant them in a local waterway. Keep them contained in your pond.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Thinking about spring

I know, I know, it's January and it's cold out there. But the seed catalogs are arriving and all of you under a snow blanket are reading them, marking your favorites and maybe even starting some seeds in your houses. We long for spring and think that winter is the longest season of the year.

Now is the time to start thinking about what spring pond tasks await us. If we cleaned the pond last fall after the leaves fell, we are probably in good shape for warm weather's arrival. If not, we have that nasty task to look forward to.

Now is also a great time plan what more we wish to do with our ponds. Do we want to add to our plant, add to our out of pond landscaping or maybe make more or bigger ponds? Now is the time for planning, thinking, dreaming.

If you have questions about what you want or what you need, please feel free to contact me at any time.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

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