Thursday, January 31, 2008

Water Gardens International

Water Gardens International

This is a great online organization. I have found wonderful articles in here about water gardening around the world, informative articles about water lilies and such. Good place to cruise around on these cold winter days.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Northern Ponds

I was going to talk about airstones for you folks in the North. You had a bit of January thaw, so an airstone could have been a good idea to introduce some O2 into your water. When the next thaw hits, think about throwing an airstone in the water. Now you are back in the midst of cold and wind advisories, so be glad your fish know how to take care of themselves and you do the same.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Southern Ponds

Days are starting to get longer. In the South, ponds are beginning to know spring is coming. If your water is getting cloudy from sitting in the cold weather for so long, it's a good idea to give it a good start for spring and avoid an algae bloom if the weather unexpected warms up. Try Microbe-Lift Nite for use in colder water to give your pond advance protection against unexpected nitrification.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Feeding your fish

Here in the South, although we are having some cold weather right now, we often have 70ยบ+ days. When this happens, you will probably go outside and check your pond.
Your well trained fish will see you and come to the top of the pond. When you see them, you think they are hungry. Please do not feed them. Their metabolisms are still slowed down almost to the point of dormancy and they cannot digest food. If you feed them, they could die trying to eat. Even if they don't eat, the food will fall to the bottom of your pond, rot and create big problems for you and your fish when the weather does warm.

Don't feed your fish until temps are consistently above 60 degrees outside. Day and night.

For pond supplies, check out The Pondlady's Shop

And to read my pond articles go to Pondlady's articles

Spring is right around the corner. Make sure you have the supplies and equipment you need to start another year of enjoying your pond.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Ice on the pond

In some parts of the country, ponds are frozen over. If yours is, you must open a hole so gasses can be exchanged. Do NOT hit the ice with a hammer. You can kill your fish if you do. Run water over the ice or put a pot of boiling water on top to open a hole. You can also buy a de-icer if you like at The Pondlady's shop

Don't forget to drop in and say "hi" at Gardeners Gumbo
We have a great time talking about gardens, garden crafts, junk, totems, or most anything.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

What happens when it rains?

I was often asked if a pond would overflow if it rained. I suppose so, but the water would only go into the surrounding landscape. I ran into many ponds with an overflow pipe built into them. These were concrete ponds and to me, that was just an extra expense and unnecessary. If the pond is going to overflow, let it. Now a flood can be a different story. If your pond floods like ours did in New Orleans after Katrina, you fish will probably swim away and you may lose your plants. But your pond will be OK.
If your pond is build at grade, you could have problems because all those chemicals and fertilizers and run off will end up in your pond when the rain stops. If your pond is built the way I recommend, about 4" above grade, then you will be fine.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Large pond pumps

When a pump moves over 3000 gph, it is a large pump for waterfalls where you want lots and lots of drama. I love large pumps and used them for almost every pond I built. My customers loved huge waterfalls like this one.

A large Oase submersible pump can move 3000 gph and would be great for a huge waterfall. It has great warranty and costs very little to operate.

This Little Giant pump is an in-line or external pump. It moves even more water, takes less maintenance - you don't have to get in the pond to clean it, costs even less to run because it does not have all that pond sludge clogging up the impeller.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Medium sized pumps

Medium sized pumps are normally used for spitters or fountains

The head will usually be from 300 gph to 660 gph, with the larger one used to get the water higher or stronger. Be careful with spitters and fountains because if the water shoots too far in the air, it can splash out of the pond and soon you have pumped your pond dry.

For medium sized pumps, I like the Little Giant 350 gph

Just be sure to keep the impeller clean on smaller pumps for longer life. They usually need to be cleaned once a month if you feed your fish.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Let's talk Pumps

As we struggle through winter toward spring, I thought we could take this down time to talk about pond pumps, what kinds are available and what kind we need.
There are submersible pumps, the kind that most of us use and certainly the most common.
There are inline pumps. Those are the kind that sit outside the pond.
There are pumps that plug into our house electricity and pumps that run on solar power.
There are the tiniest pumps that we use in the house on table top or wall fountains and huge pumps that we use outside for giant waterfalls. In the next weeks, I want to talk about all the pumps, what brands are my favorites and how to figure out what kind of pump you need.

Let's start with tiny pumps.

Pondmaster mini

Specs for the Pondmaster mini:
80 GPH maximum flow with a 36"" shut-off
Built-in adjustable flow control
6' grounded power cord.
1 year warranty"

This pump is great for indoors, for your wall or tabletop fountain. Pondmaster makes a good pump with a good warranty for a small pump. If you are looking for a pump for your ready made or the indoor pond you made, you can't go wrong with this one.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Winter Prep

It's getting to be that time of year already. Time to get your pond prepped for winter. Be sure to remove all the debris on the bottom before cold weather sets in. The debris can contribute to toxicity in the winter, especially if the pond freezes over. If you can't remove the debris with a net, there are some nifty vacuums out there. With water conservation being an important issue in the world today, I am beginning to suggest vacuuming rather than total cleaning.

So while you are prepping your garden beds, don't forget your pond.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Overwintering your pond

I am often asked whether plants and fish can live in the pond throughout the winter.
The biggest influence on overwintering the pond is your freeze line and the depth of your pond.

Your county extension agent will know your freeze line. If you don't use your county extension office for information office for info, start doing so. They are a valuable resource.

Your pond must be deeper than your freeze line.

I do not know your freeze line, I live in New Orleans where we don't have a freeze line.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Preparing for Winter

Fall is upon us. And we have to do some winter prep with our ponds. When the temps drop below 55 degrees F, it's time to move water lilles from the pond.

If you have a greenhouse, move your waterlily inside. Put it in a tub or small pond. Don't disturb the roots, Let the plant keep growing until it becomes dormant and leave it in the greenhouse until new leaves come up again the spring.

Once the plant is no longer dormant, you can divide and repot in fresh soil for the growing season.

If the temperatures dip below 55 in your greenhouse, this method wil not work.

Preparing your pond for winter

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Fall really is coming, sometime

I know we have had insufferably hot weather for seemingly months on end now. Some of us have had no rain, others have had more than they ever wanted to see.

But fall is really coming. And in the fall we have to start buttoning up our ponds for winter. i will be spotlighting necessary actions to get through chilly weather and into icy weather.
Now that the days are shortening, you are noticing your water lilies are not blooming as much and the new leaves are getting smaller. They are going into dormancy. If your weather is dropping below 60 degrees at night, stop fertilizing your lilies and let them continue into dormancy. Stimulating new growth this time of year can leave your lilies open for damage from an early freeze.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Snakes in the pond

I get many letters asking how to catch and kill a snake in the pond. We build these backyard resorts for wildlife and then want to make a gated community out of that resort. Snakes are much more afraid of you than you are of them. There are only a few poisonous snakes and even those are afraid of you. If you must rid your pond of snakes, you can probably catch them in a net and relocate it in nearby water.
Remember snakes eat toads, frogs, rats, mice, bugs and all matter of nasty vermin. Be glad to have snakes in your pond.

Remember, there is no such thing as one snake.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Fall is coming

I know it's almost September, but you have time to cut back and repot your pond plants before cold weather sets in. They are such fast growers, they can develop a strong root system in plenty of time.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Pond Spitters

Isn't spitter an awful name for a statue that has water pumped through it? Frankly, I am not a spitter fan, although there are some fine pieces of statuary out there that I do love.
One thing spitters do in our time of water crises is cut down on evaporation and therefore use less water. The folks who are supposed to know such things say that in 6 more years, we will not have enough potable water to sustain our evergrowing population, so we must change our habits.
One of the ways to conserve water is to build a rain garden.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


Green water is often a problem in full sun and well fertilized plants. Do not use chemicals to control the algae--it will kill your lilies. Instead, encourage a healthy growth of submerged plants like anacharis one bunch per square foot of surface area, which will help starve out the algae. Some floating hyacinths or water lettuce will also help, but watch they do not get out of control.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Our heat emergency

During our August heat, when our temperatures are reaching 100 degrees F and over, serious oxygen depletion takes place in the pond. Do not turn off your pump. Let it run 24 hours a day. Consider adding supplementary oxygen. Add an extra pump or bubbler.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Treating for Aphid Infestation

I have been getting many calls and emails about treating for aphids on water lilies, so this bears repeating:

The following technique can be used to treat water lilies for aphid infestation without harm to your fish. Aphids and many other garden pests can be easily controlled with an inexpensive, homemade insecticide--according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

This recipe was developed after entomologists at the Agriculture Research Center in Phoenix, Arizona, discovered that a spray of soybean oil protected cotton from aphids and whiteflies. Home gardeners should mix one tablespoon of dishwashing detergent with one cup of cooking oil. When pests strike, mix one to two and one half teaspoons of the detergent oil mix with one cup of water. The detergent causes the oil to emulsify in the water. It can be sprayed on the water lilies every ten days. Besides aphids, the mixture works against whiteflies and spider mites. It has been successfully tested on eggplants, carrots, lettuce, celery, watermelon, peppers and cucumbers. It tends to burn the leaves of squash, cauliflower and red cabbage.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

An Enormous Pond

Large ponds are so much easier to manage than smaller ones. The water does not get too hot and bake the fish or plants in the summer. The large pond can correct our mistakes easily and right its ecobalance quickly. Rarely are there huge differences in pH from one day to the next. If you have the space, build a large pond. It will make pond maintenance so much easier.