Posts Tagged ‘koi pond’

this won’t end well

Monday, February 13th, 2012

Bambino at dawn, caught exploring the newly formed ice. And following the fish around …

bambino on ice at dawn




















what winter looks like

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

The view out back this weekend…

snow on the pond




















We got about 6″. I wonder what the fish are thinking under there? (click to biggify…)

snowy out there












As soon as the deck gets rebuilt, the outdoor furniture will go back where it belongs. Until then, it will continue to collect snow on the patio and look like a really miserable spot for dinner.


frozen fish sticks?

Monday, January 16th, 2012

Seven degrees two nights in a row. What does the koi pond look like?

pond officially iced over













And the fish? The fish are still swimming around in under there. Verrrrrry sloooowwly. Luckily the bubbler has kept one 4′ spot from closing up, so they still have oxygen…

a hole in the ice












This is good. Supposed to start warming up a little again. Still, I may take up knitting and make those fishes some tiny sweaters. It’s a long time until spring.


winter prep

Monday, December 12th, 2011

It’s 28 degrees this morning. Brrrrrrr. We’ve been trying to wrap things up outside for the season.

Like last year, that means chopping up our bagged leaves instead of dragging them out to the curb…














However, unlike last year, we now have an electric chipper…





















Chops the leaves finer than the reel mower — better yet, it lets us chip all the oak branches that fall throughout the year and add them to the pile. Especially handy after a hurricane, lemme tell ya. We spread out the pile where it will remain under a tarp until late summer, when I’ll start using it around the plants…





















I have to water less and the worms love it, so it must be working.

What else? Well, I sunk the pots of hardy lotus and waterlilies, then pulled all the water hyacinth and water lettuce out of the koi pond…





















Those will be added to the compost pile. No need to waste them.

Now that the water temp is in the low 30s, we’re not supposed to feed the fish. Sorry, guys…





















(Leaf net still up to keep debris out.) They get high-protein food in the warm season, but when the temperature drops below 50 they get low-protein food because their metabolism slows down. Guess that’s why they move more slowly, too. We’re not supposed to feed them again until the spring when the temperature goes back up again.

Have also been making hay — when the sun shines, of course…





















Okay, we didn’t make it — and it’s not hay, it’s straw (no seeds). Picked up from Allie’s in North Kingstown. Which means we can now put the plants to bed. Like the hardy banana (Musa basjoo)…





















Dare I leave it outside in New England all winter? Well, yes. Should be fine with some preparation. I wrapped it in burlap…





















Then I padded it thickly with straw and tied it up tight…





















I will wrap the whole thing up like a burrito to keep it dry for the winter as soon as my white tarp arrives. (White won’t heat up when the sun hits it, unlike green or black.)

I gave the bamboo a thick blanket of straw. The three Phyllostachys nigra (black bamboo)…





















And all fifteen of my Fargesia rufa…





















There are only a few spots around the yard that are still pretty barren looking. I covered this bed with straw to keep the bare soil from sliding downhill next spring when the rains hit…





















Hopefully this will be grown in by this time next year and will not require prophylactic measures.

Last of all, I gave each of my five Japanese maples a little protection from the cold, drying winds that are on their way…





















Wilt-Pruf is organic and biodegradable. Just mix it with water…





















Then spray it on and it coats the branches to hold in moisture. Good for azaleas and rhodos, too, if you have them…





















You probably can’t tell the difference, but the Acer Palmatum ‘Crimson Queen’ can. She says thank you and see you in the spring.













fish goo and molasses

Sunday, November 20th, 2011

What do you suppose that smells like, fish goo and molasses? It doesn’t smell great, I can assure you of that. However, your lawn and your soil love it. So today, I opened up this container (*engage gag reflex*)…

fish goo container




















Initially I was going to mix up my own compost tea to give the baby lawn a much-needed end-of-season feeding. Don’t worry, URI horticulturists tell me it’s okay to feed the lawn until around Thanksgiving. (Do you think I do anything without researching it to death first?)

But in the interest of getting it done at the last minute, I hunted down this Aggrand Natural Based Fertilizer. Already made. Cost just $8.95 for a 32 oz bottle (covers 5000 sq ft). 100% natural! Between the koi pond and the kid, I’m not about to add chemicals.


fish goo in a cup












The best news: the recipe is almost exactly what I’d use to make my own compost tea. So what’s in it? Hydrolized fish solubles (menhaden salt water fish, to be exact), kelp, bloodmeal, sulfate of potash — oh, and molasses to help create a literal microbe orgy in your soil. Apparently this will lead to better soil structure, which leads to deeper, denser roots and healthier grass.

There’s nothing much to it. Measure it out. Add water. Spray…

fish goo in the sprayer




















And then, good gawd, smell the stank. It’s the stank of green.


Handy bookmarks:

– Harvard’s landscaping is now organic, yours can be, too. Build your own tea brewer to feed your lawn at home.

– And create your own compost tea for your lawn or trees.

– Need a visual? How about a video.

Yes, I’ve posted these before. These links still rock.


dragons with wings

Monday, September 12th, 2011

One of the many things I love about having a pond…


the princess blooms!

Thursday, June 30th, 2011

Our new hardy Pink Princess lotus started to open yesterday morning…

hardy lotus first opens



















Today at dawn, it was full-on glorious (click to biggify and be impressed)…

hardy lotus from the side, 24 hours later











hardy lotus from the front


gone fishin’

Thursday, June 30th, 2011

So we started with 11 fish: 5 koi (2 Platinum + 3 Ghost) and 6 Japanese goldfish (3 Gold Comets + 3 Sarasa Comets)…

the fish release


















They were more chicken than fish the first week, cautiously swimming around the bottom of the pond and hiding beneath the plants. They finally braved their way to the surface and now follow us around the pond hoping we’ll feed them. In less than two weeks, they’re practically taking the food out of our hands and have been known to nibble on our fingers, much to Bix’s delight.

Do you have any idea how hard it is to get fish to hold still long enough to take their picture?

























































And then there were 10. We’ve suffered a casualty. One of the Ghost koi swam into the skimmer pipe and got caught in the skimmer basket. Doh. There were many 6-year-old tears followed by a proper burial. Poor widdle fiddie.






it’s officially pond!

Tuesday, June 14th, 2011

Late Friday afternoon it was official: we have achieved pond. Plumbing, a go. Pump and filter, chugging away. Water, cold as heck because we’ve had no sunshine. Ya think that would stop me from getting pond plants the very next day?

I made the trip here…

paradise water gardens sign




















to Whitman, MA on a recommendation. They told me they didn’t have many plants left this “late” in the season, that all the best waterlilies were snapped up in April.

tons o’ water plants












But they had tub after tub of fantastical things to choose from! So, of course, I did.

Here’s the little bit I’ve learned from reading about waterlilies in New England: the flowers last about a day; the tropicals have the best scent, most brilliant colors and the most abundant blooms until about November when you have to overwinter them indoors (or replace them yearly); the hardies are still pretty amazing to look at and some are fragrant. So this is what I got to start with.

A day-blooming tropical:

key largo tropical waterlily |

key largo tropical waterlily |













And a night-blooming tropical:

red flare waterlily |

red flare waterlily |













A really pretty hardy:

firecrest waterlily |

firecrest waterlily |













The hardy Pink Princess lotus I cannot find a photo of. Bumma.

I snagged a dwarf Egyptian papyrus:

dwarf egyptian papyrus |

dwarf egyptian papyrus |
















An umbrella palm papyrus I’ve had for years will go in the pond:

umbrella palm papyrus |

umbrella palm papyrus |
















I’ll be adding to this, I’m sure. Bix votes for cattails. When the chlorine dissipates in the pond we’ll also look into fish. Bix votes for frogs.

almost pond

Friday, June 10th, 2011

Pleased to report that our moat now has bridges across it…

the bridge is in!



















Even though we argued over granite vs. wood, it looks pretty good, no?

finished pond and patio — with bridges!












The joints of the granite cap around the edge of the pond are now mortared…

wet mortar in the joints of the granite pond wall cap



















And thanks to David and Bix, the pond got cleaned out. First they sprayed down the liner and gave it a scrub with the broom…

the boys spray down the pond liner



















Then they used a ShopVac to suck up the last of the bilge water…

shop vaccing the liner



















Like a big ol’ bucket of the rankest Earl Grey ever…

yuckwater for dumping



















And then it was time to start filling the pond! How long do you think it takes to fill about 3,300 gallons?

pond filling begins with a trickle




















In one hour, the water was up to 6″…

6 inches one hour later



















We’re only going to 2′ so you can do the math. Will take a little under 4 hours when we finally finish filling it. A few issues with the plumbing that need resolving so we had to pause at 11.5″. Not officially Pond yet. Rats.


There was splashing. It was 90 degrees, after all. Godzilla, Mrs. Godzilla and Minya (Godzilla Jr.) regarded the proceedings with approval.

godzilla family watches