Dave's Garden - August '08
The pond in the front yard
was rebuilt this Summer to add a small sitting area and to make the new pond a bit deeper. The frogs deserted for a couple weeks while I was building, but they're back and happy with their new habitat. This area is quite shady so I think that the lichens and moss on the granite boulders should flourish.
This year I planted a number of tropical bananas and elephant ears, both alocassia and colocassia. Although not hardy I moved a couple of them inside last Winter and they grew nicely this year. I added several varieties this Spring, and they have taken off. When planted in areas with good soil and moisture the tropicals grow rapidly. The Black Magic Colocassia next to the gazebo has grown from a small potted plant to more than six feet tall this year, with some leaves nearly three feet long. There's no way that all the elephant ears and bananas can come inside this Winter, unless I move out to make space.
The bananas and elephant ears give a tropical feel to the gazebo area by early Summer. They really start growing with the heat in July, and by August they're at their prime through frost.
The swimming pond
The newest pond in the backyard was constructed a little over a year ago. It is 35 feet wide, almost 50 feet long, and averages almost 4 feet in depth. It's not really a swimming pond since swimming is too much like exercise, but more like a floating pond. On hot afternoons I pull out the floating lounge chair and float with the koi. They are pretty tame so they circle around the float waiting for food.
Like the other 5 ponds in the garden, there is very little maintenance in keeping the water crystal clear. I had a bit of a problem with string algae in the Spring, but once the barley extract got things balanced I haven't had any other issues. Other than adding a little water from time to time when rain doesn't add enough to compensate for evaporation, I have done absolutely no maintenance on this pond over the past 4 months.
This pond has a waterfall that aerates the water to create a healthy environment for the koi, but the hard work keeping the water clear is accomplished by a 6 foot by 25 foot bog area filled with gravel. Water is pumped to flow up through the gravel creating a biological filter that keeps the water clear throughout the year.