Monday, August 27, 2012

Hurricane Isaac

Our local media is spending 24/7 on the air whipping folks into a frenzy over Hurricane Isaac.  Isaac is supposed to come ashore on the 7th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and follow the same path.  Therefore we are having flashbacks of that awful time.

But Isaac is only a category 1 storm and Katrina was  a category 5. That's a big difference.  So big that aside from making extra ice and storing extra water, we are planning a few days of relaxation.

People in South Louisiana are already evacuating, but so would I if I lived a few inches above sea level and tides were expected to rise several feet.  Wind pushes the ocean inland as well and those levels can get much higher, sometimes up to 20 feet.  So, yes I would be pushing north if I lived there.

We are a grand 12' above sea level here and some 6 miles from Lake Pontchartrain.  I am pretty sure we are safe.

Oh, what do we do to our ponds to keep them safe during a storm like Isaac or Katrina. Absolutely nothing, that's what.  And that's nice.

Read my book about ponds to learn more about these almost maintenance free beauties: Get it here.

Join us at my interactive pondlady website

And here's a pretty photo just for something nice to look at while we watch storm clouds coming in.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Photos continue

This pond is in filtered sun and under lots of pine trees.  The empty spot screamed for a pond, so I built an above ground one with cinderblocks and a liner.  Because of the shade, I was able to plant taro in the water.  Gotta be careful of taro tho. It's invasive.

I got this pond on Bainbridge Island in Washington State up and running again to the delight of this guy who greeted me in the morning and defiantly claimed it as his.

I wrote a book about ponds.  You can buy it here.

And don't forget if you want to show off your pond or get your pond questions answered.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Ponds I have built

I am gonna post some photos of ponds I have built through the years. They might give you an idea of how to design your pond.

Pics keep me from having to think of a real post......

This is pond on concrete and the second floor of a condo complex. Because of its size and that it was in full sun, I used a UV light and commercial filter at a cost of nearly $4000.00. There are 12 tons of Arkansas moss rocks there....and we hauled them up to the second floor by hand. Whew.

This pond was a joy to build. Or I should say rebuild. Someone did it wrong, so I had to fix it.  The clients loved plants, so we did the best we could to add plenty of them.

Oh and buy my book:
Click here

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Book Hard Copy, Maybe.

I am working on getting my book published as a hard copy, one you can hold in your hands.  Even take into the field with you as you dig a hole.  I don't know all the details yet, but will let you know as I find out.

Hold a good thought.

You can get it via ebook now.


Come visit us at for answers to your own pond questions from experts who also hang around there.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

About My Book.

I pop up when you least expect it.  Like a bull frog in a pond.
Have you seen the ranking of my book, "A Practical Guide to Building and Maintaining your Pond?"

Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #56,681 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)

Kewl, yes?  The book was published February 10, 2012 and has rarely sunk below the top ten best sellers in the genre.  

If you are here looking for pond information, then you need to buy one.  

Just click  HERE and in less than a minute, it will be on your e-reader, photos and all.

Have a great day. 


Monday, July 23, 2012

Mysterious and Confusing Google

Good grief, Google just changed everything and my blog disappeared for a few days.  After much confusion and seemingly ridiculous 'help' offered by Google, I am back.  No thanks to Google.

Whew, I thought I had lost almost 800 posts.  Why do these people do this to an old lady?

Keep on slogging through this heat.  A couple of months and we should be out of it again.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Questions: Overwintering Plants

I had talked with Jan when I first put in my small pond. By small, I mean SMALL. It is maybe 4 1/2 X 3 1/2 X 16" deep. I have a couple of comet goldfish in there and several water hyacinths and lettuce plants. I also have one I bought at Lowe's in a pot which sent up some very pretty leaves, and a lot of anacharis.

I live in Central NY and it is often VERY cold in I know I won't be able to keep the fish out there over the winter. I was thinking of putting them in the lake up the road when it starts getting cold.

What do you think of my plan for the fish, and what can you suggest for the plants? I have a lot invested in them and don't want to lose them if possible. The fish have grown since I bought them, and I don't think they could live in my fishbowl. (and I cant really invest in a tank anyway...I will be gone for 2 months in winter).

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Pondlady sez:

I would try putting the plants in damp sand in a garage. And the anacharis in water in the garage. You may lose them, no matter what you do, tho.
Take your fish to a local fish store. They will most likely trade them for new fish in the spring when you are ready. Do not release them into the wild as they can become a noxious nuisance.
Ya know, the fish store or a local aquatic store might do the same with your plants. Check and see. Can't hurt.

Find out answers to this and other questions at

Or buy my book, "A Practical Guide to Building and Maintaining Your Pond" at

Sunday, July 15, 2012

How to Build a Koi Pond.

Koi and goldfish? There's a difference? 

Koi? What are koi and why must I build a koi pond differently than any other pond? Can't I just put koi in my goldfish pond? One would think so, but one would be wrong. 

First of all, a koi is a carp, just like a goldfish, but it is from a different family. Goldfish are descendants of crucian carp and koi are from common carp. Koi usually have two whiskers like a catfish and goldfish don't, so they are easy to spot if someone wants to give you one. 

And there are other differences as well. Goldfish dart around more in the water and will eat your submerged vegetation as they fertilize it. Your pond will be a relatively maintenance free ecosystem with plants and goldfish. Koi, on the other hand, swim lazily around eating everything they can get their mouths around. They love your most expensive water lilies and will dispatch with them first. They work their way through every piece of vegetation you have in your pond and look for more before you even realize you must feed them. 

So a koi pond is a special outdoor aquarium made just for koi. Koi will pull plants down from outside the pond just for sport. They also have a awful habit of jumping out of the pond where you find them stiff and dry when you come home from work. The jumping out is often a sign of foul water. A goldfish pond is a water garden with goldfish swimming around behaving themselves. 

Before you even think of building any pond, think long and hard: Do you want a koi pond or do you want a water feature with plants and goldfish? For goldfish pond building see How to Build a Pond 

You have decided you want a koi pond because you want koi as pets.
  1. A koi pond must be deeper than a goldfish pond. Koi need more room to move around. They like to swim up and down as well as back and forth. They also grow and grow fast, so make your pond at least 3' deep, deeper if you can and as big as you can afford. Try to get your koi pond dug below the frost line or you will be trying to figure out how to over winter them in the house when it freezes outside.

  2. A koi pond should be built up above the ground. I like to do this with goldfish ponds as well to keep run off out and therefore avoid chemicals that may run into your pond. If you can get your koi pond edges up at least 6", you will be safer and possible keep your koi in the water instead of lying on the ground. I have known professional koi keepers who build their ponds at least 18" above ground, usually using concrete for the entire pond rather than a butyl rubber or EPDM liner.

  3. Koi ponds must have filtration. As much filtration as you can afford. Do you get the idea that koi keeping can be expensive? In the past koi keepers used swimming pool filters. Now bead filters are popular. If the bead filters are just too expensive, a quality biofilter will do. It should be big enough for your pond. Most biofilter manufacturers will help you pick out the one that will work best for your pond size.

  4. Using a UV light sterilizer, usually called a water clarifier is necessary for your koi pond. It will kill algae microorganisms and keep the water clear so you can see your fish.

  5. Koi are hungry fishies. You must feed them. You will find scores of koi foods available. I make no recommendations about which one to buy. I suggest finding a koi club in your area and see which ones their fish like and following their examples and suggestions. One thing I know koi love to do is play with a half of a red cabbage. Don't shred it. Let them play with it like a basketball.

  6. The water chemistry must be perfect. Any radical changes in pH, nitrate, nitrite, ammonia must be corrected immediately or your fish will get sick.
The biggest difference 

Don't forget one basic difference. When you build a koi pond, you are building a special house for your pets. When you build a goldfish pond, you are putting a water garden in your landscape. 

And you will name those koi, I know that. Because you named your children and your other pets. Koi can get sick and die of the strangest diseases before you are even aware they are sick. I suggest not naming them. 

You can read about koi ponds and more in my book, "A Practical Guide to Building and Maintaining a Pond" available here.

Join us at to talk ponds with folks from all over the world.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

An Artist's Concrete Bench

We have a large membership at  And so many of them are talented  beyond belief.

Look at what one of the guys did and drool over it.

I would love to be that talented.  Maybe he makes house calls.

You won't find out how to do what he does in my book, but you will learn lots more about ponds that you need to know.

Join us at to see more work like this and let us see what you have done around your pond

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Driving home.

I drove home from Arkansas to Louisiana yesterday.  It was a long slog of a trip with an hour and a half traffic snarl as I got within 25 miles of home.  Already tired, hot, uncomfortable and almost home, the entire interstate 12 decided to come to a standstill. Why?  I have no idea.
A quick turnoff to take an alternate route seemed like a good idea to me. As well as hundreds of other motorists.
So the long slog got longer.

Both my veggie garden and flower garden have suffered greatly during the drought.  I have irrigation turned on, but a quick check last night showed much damage.  For some reason, nothing replaces rain.

My book remains in the number one spot on Amazon.  Yippee!!
Have a look. You just might need it.

And has a wonderful new post by a concrete artist.  Have a look at that as well.

More from near New Orleans as packing continues for the move at the end of the year.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Gunfight at the OK Corral

We lovers of the outdoors and the critters who inhabit it have a skewed idea of how things out there sort things out. We think of birds as gentle and peaceful creatures who live out their days in harmony within their environment. 

Au Contraire.  The little and beautiful birds do not share nicely, are territorial and threaten violence at every opportunity.  Witness the scene at the birdbath yesterday. 

It's my turn. You cannot take a bath now.

                                       Did you not hear me?

I said, "Move it."

I want my bath in peace, so get out NOW!

About time you left.  Listen next time and things will not go this far.

You can start your pond  this weekend, so prepare by buying my book , "A Practical Guide to Building and Maintaining your Pond" and be ready to show it off by Sunday afternoon. Download it

And join us for pond talk all the time, including what to do for your fish when the heat strikes.

Find us at

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Guess Who Came to Dinner?

One of the scourges of pondkeepers is raccoons.  We have paved and poured concrete over their natural habitat, so they arrive in our yards, spot our ponds and eat what they can find. They start with plants and finish with fish for dessert.  And then they alert their friends and families.  And soon we have nightly unwanted visitors. 

Some folks trap and relocate them.  That rarely works. If they are dropped off far away, they are so disoriented they lose their way and die.  

Other folks trap them and call the SPCA only to learn that taxes no longer offer support to that service, so what they can do is severely curtailed and they no longer pick up raccoons.  I had one pond owner who bought a wonderful house backed up to a wooded area. I build a pond and landscaped the back yard.  The raccoons arrived.  He toughed it out for about 3 years before the raccoons won. He sold the house and moved.  

So, what do we do? I have found the best thing is to plant prickly plants around the pond. Hollies, asparagus fern, anything you would not want to tangle with because it hurts will generally repel the raccoons as well. It's not a perfect solution, by any means, but I have found no better one. If you know a better way to keep them at bay, let me know.

It's a little warm to dig a hole, but you can prepare by buying my book , "A Practical Guide to Building and Maintaining your Pond" and be ready to start digging when the heat abates. Download it

And join us for pond talk all the time, including what to do for your fish when the heat strikes.

Find us at

Monday, July 02, 2012

Summertime Pond Care

Summertime pond care is important when summer arrives, We are already breaking heat records in New Orleans and it's not even officially summer yet. 90 degree temperatures and 110 heat indices are making everything miserable, including our gardens and our ponds. 

Summertime maintenance 

Keep fertilizing your water lilies. They are heavy feeders and will keep blooming until October when the days start to shorten or until the temperatures sink below 55 degrees F. 

If you have lotus, they want more fertilizer than water lilies. I feed them at least twice weekly, even every ten days with one aquatic plant tab per gallon of pot. You rarely have to fertilize other pond plants because fish waste takes care of that for you, but if you are not satisfied with the plants growth, stick an aquatic plant tab in those too. You may wish to stagger your feeding because aquatic plant tabs fertilize all the plants in the pond including the dreaded green algae that will grab nutrients before they can get to what you really want to feed. Bury the plant tabs in the pots and make sure they are covered with soil or sand. 

Floating plants 

I keep at least 70% of the top of the pond covered with floating plants like water hyacinths, water clover and water lilies especially in the summer to give the fish some shade and some places to hide from predators. Egrets, herons, raccoons, and even your own Labrador retriever are looking for extra food and your pond is a brand new all you can eat buffet that you laid out especially for them. I even suggest making a cave for your fish. You can buy them already made or make your own out of a couple of flower pots on their sides or a flat rock on top of a couple of block shaped ones. The fish don't care how fancy their new digs are, as long as they are safe. 

Remove debris 

Remove dead foliage as soon as you can. As water lilies grow, the outer ring of leaves starts to yellow and die. Cut those off as close to the pot as possible. A water lily bloom opens and closes for about three days, then dies. Remove it as close to the pond as possible. If other plant foliage yellows and dies, cut it off and remove it. If foliage is allowed to decompose in the pond, waste material builds up, removes available oxygen and can foul the pond and kill your fish. Removing dead plant material makes room for new growth and sure does make the your pond look nicer. It's about the same as tending the rest of your gardens. 

Those of you who feed your fish, do not feed them more than what they can eat in 5 minutes, and only 1 - 3 times daily. If the fish do not eat the food, it too, will decompose in your pond and foul water. Also remember that the more the fish eat, the more fish waste you will have to feed algae and make your pond turn green quickly. 

Keep your pump running 

Maximize your aeration. Warm water does not contain as much oxygen as cooler water, so your fish can struggle to breathe. And just when the warm water holds less oxygen, the fish need more. Add an airs tone or another pump to your pond. Be sure you keep your pump running 24 hours daily in the heat of summer. If your pond is shallow, less than 18" deep, more aeration is a must. If your pond is 3' deep or more, you are safer. The fish can go to the bottom where the water is cooler and more oxygen is in the water, but still keep those pumps running. 

What not to do: 

Clean your filter only occasionally, if it is a biofilter. If it is a mechanical filter, e.g., foam rubber that strains out suspended material, clean it often. Your biofilter grows a colony of bacteria that can eat the sludge and decomposed organic matter in your pond. Cleaning your biofilter destroys that bacteria colony forcing it to start growing all over again. If you do clean it, kick start it with one of the bacteria products on the market. I like Microbe-Lift PL. It not only kick starts your biofilter, regular use, following the directions on the bottle can keep the dreaded string algae or blanketweed at bay. 

Enjoy your pond 

Now that summer has arrived, it is time to relax next to your pond after work. Entertain your friends on weekends, show off your garden, your pond and your beautiful waterfall. Bring out your iced tea or glass of wine, sit and enjoy yourself. 

It's a little warm to dig a hole, but you can prepare by buying my book , "A Practical Guide to Building and Maintaining your Pond" and be ready to start digging when the heat abates. Download it

And join us for pond talk all the time, including what to do for your fish when the heat strikes.

Find us at

Sunday, July 01, 2012

I asked for this

I should know better than to ask for something because I usually get it. Except, of course, winning the lottery or something like that.

The birdbath has attracted birds all right. Lots of them, from indigo bunting to scarlet tanagers to goldfinches. It looks like the flag from the Pride Parade out there sometimes and I love it.  I wondered if the four legged critter who hang out around here would find the bird bath. Silly me. Of course he did.

Aren't bunnies cute? This one finds the birdbath

And has a drink.

Finds my purslane and eats it.

Not satisfied with only the purslane, he heads for my irises.  
As of this morning all plant material is gone except for the stonecrop sedum.  Wascally wabbit.

Even though it's too hot for pond building, you can buy my book , "A Practical Guide to Building and Maintaining your Pond" and be ready to start digging when the heat abates. Download it

And join us for pond talk all the time, including what to do for your fish when the heat strikes.

Find us at

Friday, June 29, 2012

Birds loving the bird bath

It was 108 degrees here in Arkansas yesterday. The humans couldn't be outside and the other critters who live here spent much of their time in the birdbath.  I keep the water clear by putting in about 1/2 tsp of swimming pool chlorine a month. It works great.


Juvenile Bluejay

Red shafted flicker

Indigo bunting and ?

chickadee having a bath

Even though it's too hot for pond building, you can buy my book , "A Practical Guide to Building and Maintaining your Pond" and be ready to start digging when the heat abates. Download it

And join us for pond talk all the time, including what to do for your fish when the heat strikes.

Find us at

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Fawn, Finally

It was 106ยบ yesterday here in Mountain View Arkansas.  And it wasn't a dry heat.   I understand dry heat is not as hot as wet heat.  Having been in it, I can assure you it is easily as hot as any other heat.

At any rate, the critters and me have been hunkering down in the AC. Well, the two and four legged, furry and feathered critters have been consigned to the heat, but as you know they have access to the pond and a special bath tub I have rigged up for them, waterfall and all.

I also have a mineral block down by the pond and a motion activated camera in case something strolls by or needs a salt fix.

Yesterday, my first fawn of the year came by for a look around.  Isn't she beautiful.

Even though it's too hot for pond building, you can buy my book , "A Practical Guide to Building and Maintaining your Pond" and be ready to start digging when the heat abates. Download it

And join us for pond talk all the time, including what to do for your fish when the heat strikes.

Find us at

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Saturday Night Bath Time

Are you ready for another episode of Saturday in Mountain View AR?  It's an exciting night around here. Last night was no exception because the cardinals came to visit.

I have not written about Cardinals in "A Practical Guide to Building and Maintaining your Pond," but I did talk about how to build a bird bath.  Download the book here:

For more pond stories, photos and problems, check us out at

Saturday, June 23, 2012

How to Build A Natural Swimming Pond

Swimming used to be done in lakes, rivers, oceans or a pond. As we got older we swam in rectangular, blue bottomed boxes called swimming pools
Swimming pools are changing. We can now have natural swimming pools that use plant material for a filter and look like the pool was there, you fell in love with it and built a house just to be near it. A natural swimming pool will probably cost more to install than a regular swimming pool, but maintenance is minimal and no chemicals are used, so before the first year is out, you have recovered the extra money.

A natural swimming pool is just like a lake, but without the pollution we find in our public waterways these days. It is cleaned and clarified using aquatic plants as filters and consumers of toxins. Use large bog areas to filter the swimming pond.

Material list:

Heavy equipment to dig a huge hole and move the heavy liner and rocks
45 mil liner
Submersible pump
Rocks, gravel
Plant material

1.  Dig a hole the size of the pool you want.  Make one end six inches deep for your bog. Make the swimming area the size you want.  Six feet is deep enough. Make the sides sloping so you can walk in your pool.  Make the sides higher than the area around the pool, so water from surrounding areas will not run off into it and foul your water.  Make a small weir at the bog area to keep the bog plants in place when you start using the pool.

2. Line the pond with 45 mil liner.  You will need help to move and place a liner big enough.

3.  Line the bog area and about three feet past the top edge of the pool as well.

4.  Install a skimmer to catch leaves as they fall in, just as a in regular swimming pool. This will cut down on maintenance.

Second step:

1. Place the rocks around the edge of the pond so the liner won't show.  Cover the liner that you have around the edge.
2.  Install a skimmer to catch leaves as they fall in, just as a in regular swimming pool. This will cut down on maintenance.

3.  Install a dock that will cover the small pump and skimmer.

Finish your pool

1. Purchase bog plants.  Get submerged plants and floating plants.  These plants serve as a filter.

2. Leave floating plants in pots so they will not float into the swimming area. Submerged plants must float free. These plants are the filtration system for your pool, so be sure you have enough of them. Buy one bunch of submerged vegetation per square foot of bog surface area. Make sure one half of the top of the bog is covered with floating plants.

3. Install the submersible pump and run a piece of tubing to the end of the bog garden. Turn on the pump and water will circulate.

I normally do not recommend this as a DIY project, but one of the members of is doing it right now.  C'mon over and have a look.

Don't forget you can read about natural swimming ponds and more in my book, A Practical Guide to Building and Maintaining your Pond. Download it here:

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Protect your pond from rats

When we build ponds in locations near rivers, bayous or lakes. Or when we live in or near rat infested cities, we find rats. Rats are destructive creatures and will chew a hole through your pond liner near the bottom of the pond. They arrive on their way through a rat hole and oops, there is your pond, in their way. So they chew a hole in the liner. Of course, you don't know about the hole or the rat until your pond begins to lose water fast. Now you must change the liner - an expensive and hard job because the entire pond must be taken apart to replace a liner. And liners are expensive.

Things You’ll Need:
  • Chicken wire
    • 1 roll 15# roofing felt
    • New liner

Step 1:
Suddenly one day, you notice your pond has lost most of its water. After pumping all the water out of your pond, you see a large chewed hole in your liner that is too big to repair. Under the liner is a hole in the ground big enough to put your hand in. Do not put your hand in the hole or you may encounter the rat that chewed the hole.

Step 2:

Fill the hole with soil. Pack it in well.

Step 3:

Buy a new liner, but before you install the new liner, line your already dug hole with chicken wire. Bring the chicken wire all the way up the sides as well as on the bottom of the pond.

Step 4:

Cover the chicken wire with 15# roofing felt. Cut it in strips large enough to cover your pond's width and place the felt in the hole until it is completely covered.

Step 5:

Place your new liner in the hole. Reinstall the rocks, pump, filter, plants and fish. You will never have rats eat holes in your pond liner again.

Tips & Warnings

  • Instead of waiting for a disaster, put the chicken wire in the dug out hole before you build your pond.

  • Always be careful of electricity and water. Be sure you use a GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) for your pump or lights. It cuts off electricity instantly if water touches the outlet.
Read tips like this one and more in my book, A Practical Guide to Building and Maintaining your Pond. You can download it here.

Join us at to ask your pond questions and get answers from experts.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Garden Green

Gardeners are concerned about the environment. Gardeners have used pesticide for decades and are now realizing that many pesticides and insecticides have found their way into our ground water and into our drinking water, so are changing their pest control methods to make their gardens greener. Focus on the environment, sustainability and use recycled materials and techniques.  Many gardeners are used to gas powered equipment, heavy fertilization and pesticide use.  But today there are many ways the gardener can garden greener.

1.  Stop relying on pesticides.  Gardeners are used to using pesticides whenever they see a bug on a plant, even if the bug is beneficial. Learn what bugs help the garden. If a bug does not cause serious damage to a plant, do not harm it. Choose plants that are native to your area.  Native plants are adapted to your region and can repel pests on their own. They can also provide food for native animals and replace the plant material lost to building development.

2. If you use pest control use organic pesticides.  Bacillus Thuringiensis (bt) is an organic pesticide and is non toxic to the environment. If you use a toxic pesticide, use less of it and use the least toxic to the environment. If you use herbicides, stop. Use mulches. Mulch is the best way to reduce weeds and also is recycled into the soil and therefore enriches it.

3.  Mow the lawn less.  Gasoline powered mowers are polluters. We water and fertilize the lawn so it will grow more and then have to mow it more often.   Add more beds to your lawn. Do not get disturbed if you have a few weeds in the lawn.  If your lawn is small enough, you can  use manual equipment rather than gas powered machinery.

4. Rethink fertilizing.  Most gardeners fertilize much more than is needed. Regular fertilizing is important only when container gardening.  Vegetable gardens only need moderate fertilizer applications. Better yet, use compost and manures from your own compost heap made from recycled yard waste and kitchen scraps.

5. Leave the leaves.  When shrubs or trees drop leaves, either leave them where they are or rake them and put them in the compost heap.  That way instead of bagging up the leaves and putting them in the landfill, you can recycle them right back into your garden and save on buying more mulch.  Gardening greener is easier than using chemicals. It makes our environment cleaner and our gardens safer.

Don't forget to buy my book, "A Practical Guide to Building and Maintaining your Pond." You can download it here.

And we talk about ponds on my website. If you have questions or answers, join us at