Monday, April 29, 2013

Taking the Plunge

The day my husband Bill and I looked at the house we live in was a gorgeous summer day. We walked the wooded backyard and admired a very small water feature that the owners had dug into the ground. As soon as I assured my husband that if we bought this house I would not press him for major renovations, the wheels in my brain started turning as I imagined a large koi pond in the same spot. Two years later, we broke ground on an 11' x 16' koi pond.

The construction on the pond took a week. An excavator was brought in, a pond kit purchased and lots of rocks were removed from our stone wall to decorate the sides of the pond. We also had to hire an electrician to run circuits out to the pond for the waterfall and the lights. After they all left, the water was running, the pond was barren and Bill and I had no clue as to what to do next: Do we start stocking the pond? Do we invest in plants for around the pond? Do we have to put plants in the pond?

Bill and I have a 65 gallon aquarium in the house. Our experience with the aquarium has been invaluable in helping us get the pond up and running; we started out small buying comet fish that cost about 10 cents each. They have been a very easy fish to maintain. We bought plants to put into the pond; water lilies, water hyacinths and water lettuce - they keep algae from forming, bring a layer of naturalization to the water, and provide hiding places for the fish. These plants are all annuals and can be purchased from local nurseries or from catalogs like Dr. Fosters, and Smith and the Pond Guy.

After a few months of getting the hang of the comets, we invested in 3 small koi costing about $15.00 each. Fast forward two years and they are the length of my forearm. They live happily with 3 other koi, about 20 comets, an assortment of frogs, and the occasional turtle and snake.

You may be wondering: Was the expense and the hard work worth it? Absolutely! I would highly recommend a pond to anyone. First of all, it is a great hobby for a married couple. Bill and I select fish together, plant together, feed the fish together and clean the pond together. The maintenance on the pond is simple and really easy. Cost wise, we probably spend about $300.00 a summer on new plants, fish food and natural algae control. For something we enjoy everyday, it's worth every penny.

There are so many things about the pond that I enjoy; I love watching birds come and bathe on the rocks, my sons enjoy naming the fish, watching them grow and catching frogs. Bill and I spend many summer days sitting by the pond relaxing. The sound of the waterfall drowns out all kinds of background noise; fighting kids, annoying neighbors, and too fast cars to name a few.

If an aquatic garden is something you have been thinking about, do it! If you have any pond or gardening questions, please feel free to send them to me. In the meantime, I have a kitchen renovation idea I need to pitch to Bill...

Happy Gardening!
Maggie Flynn

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