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Lots of plants removed (weather was cool and overcast with light drizzle-ideal for keeping the plants alive with minimal effort on my part for 7 days). Unfortunately the squirrels, cats, raccoons -whoever - ate a bunch of very, very expensive allium bulbs from the last fall co-op . . .
All the clay is being shifted up towards the waterfall area as they will be raising it 3.5 feet up from where it is at and will also be installing the biofilter "room" underneath. Pictures of that later. It was a huge clay mess (still is).
After the crew went home I ran outside and started fretting about my plants. My husband thought (well, he always thinks I am a goof-ball) a picture was worth taking of me in my pink wellington boots with a silk blouse and the knee pads. He thinks I am the only "Mole" who would garden in expensive duds. I assured him I was not alone in this goofiness (does anyone remember that picture of IC gardening in her work clothes?)
The install is complete BUT we had a HUGE, HUGE rain that made all the clay roll right into the pond. We have had a few days of this rain in a row so the pond isn't getting any clearer yet. Most of the plants are back into the ground but the ground is horrible. I have amended each and every little hole in the ground will appropriate soil and now I had to start all over but don't have the time to "baby each and every plant". I suppose I will lose a lot of plants with all our horrible clay soil.
My poor little fish await their new home when all their ulcers are healed up and all the mud gets out of their pond . . . I have 5 little koi with a pond with the capacity for well over 50 koi . . . woo-hoo! . . . okay-calm down Moley!
The horrible clay mountain covering the "room" behind the waterfall. This was part of the clay that was dug out of the bottom of the pond. Some of it was put in a "dead zone" on my yard that no one will see. I have to get top soil and then mulch the whole yard afterwards.
The attached picture is (sold this one from Snapple) a picture of my round tub in which I plan to install my R2D2 (my FishMate Bio-Filter that I plan to use as a spitter). The bottom of the tub is out but it retained water all day today from the heavy rain earlier this morning and the clay soil. I will have to cover this hole carefully that I don't submerge the Fishmate and kill it . . .
Wow, a lot of work, but you know it will be absolutely gorgeous in time. No one said this ponding thing was easy, LOL! I'm looking forward to seeing pics as it clears and the plants fill in... no worries, and now you can add more fishies!
Looking good, mothermole. I had a similar experience to you. I built my pond in 2005 and had so many problems with it - lost all my fish one by one. The following year I tore it all up and rebuilt, adding the bottom drains and filters. The difference has been absolutely amazing. I hope you will find the same is true for you.
MM...I just have to crack up seeing you in cute clothes for gardening! My family makes fun of me for going outside in whatever I happened to have on at the time. I'm always falling in my pond in my skirt, etc. My daughter wades in the lake in her church clothes catching tadpoles... :)
I'm glad to her from you guys! It's been awhile since I engaged in a conversation here but do miss all of you and wanted to share what is going on in my pond. You all have been there listening to my sob stories of ill and dying fish since I began last year so I posted all of this to show you how I hope it will get better. It's been six days since I posted these pictures and I think 8 days since the work was completed and I still have a mud hole. I am frustrated with this. I added double the amount of floculant (spelling?) recommended to get the dirt to bind but nothing seems to have improved yet. I can't even see the plant shelves to place my plants on because it is so cloudy. I might just empty it and wet vac the dirt all out. I want to put the fish in it (the ones that are healed up without the ulcers anymore. The weather has been so very hot and the fish seem uncomfortable. I put the hose in their tank at a slow rate to keep it cool. Thank goodness I have well water and don't have to worry about chlorine.
Another thing, my pond water seems to go down very quickly when my skimmer is on. I am losing about 3 inches a night. It seems a lot to me. My auto refill must be set incorrectly because if I leave it on it overfills the pond a bit. Both are not good for me. The garden is still a mess and I am letting plants die because it is too hot to play around with them. That is heart breaking to me. I try not to think about it and think about "divisions" of the plants I do have . . .
BTW: There seems to be a lot of new people online at the water gardens area. I feel out of touch in such a short time!
It's just going to be a marvelous koi pond. Absolutely marvelous. I've been busy volunteering at the local botanical garden. It's fabulous out there. But today, with this heat, I nearly collapsed and became a lawn ornament. By 11:30 am I was done for. It was 93°. I was digging through heavy roots, sweating profusely, got nauseous, saw tiny little stars and said "OK, I'm done for the day." I was only working 7:30 to 12:00 anyway. I've never had the heat get to me like that. My tiny little koi pond (compared to MM's new fabulous giant koi pond) needs a filter cleaning and it ain't gonna get it today.
I'm loving the pictures. I'm about to dig another pond, and am thinking about doing it the "right" way this time, with a bottom drain, bead filter, and all...
We took down the old pool, so the back yard is a total disaster at this point, I can't wait to get it done.
Progress in progress! MotherMole, in my little pond here I found that some of the old adages have been exactly correct, get about half of the water surface covered in pond plants, and also I plant my water lilies in the Special Kitty kitty litter from Walmart (just clay, no additives), and having done that, my pond cleared almost overnight. So, I'd say get those plants in there asap, and I'm a big proponant of planting them in the clay kitty litter I mentioned. And then, give it a bit of time. Good luck!
Snapple, having lived in AZ for 16 years, you gotta go slow when it's that hot, and drink a LOT of water...and take a lot of breaks. Be careful out there!
MerryMary, you know I wish you well in your new project!
Brenda: I use the same clay kitty liter-I believe it was you who told me to do that last year when I got started and was buying the expensive stuff. I would add more plants BUT i can't find my narrow shelves to place them on and don't want everything spilling out all over the bottom of the pond. Plus my pond is a lot deeper and I worry it may be too deep for the lillys to be on the bottom of it.
Is there a maximum depth that a water lily can take? I put in grasses and some floaters and have tons in my water fall and stream area but it isn't changing. Any advice would be appreciated.
Snapps: Take it easy out there-if your going to kill yourself with gardening at least make it your own garden . . .LOL!
Linda - I know they say a specific depth for waterlilies and I can't even remember what it is, but we originally had our waterlilies on the plastic file crates you get at either Walmart or Kmart to put the lilies at the correct depth until about 2 or 3 years ago and then one of the fish got caught between the crates. At that point, we took every crate out of there and just put the pots at the bottom of the shallower end of the pond, which is about 3 1/2 feet deep. We felt it wasn't worth the fish getting caught, so the file cubes came out and since then, the pots of waterlilies sit on the bottom of the pond. There have been no issues with the waterlilies since putting them at the deeper level and I have 21 pots of waterlilies in my pond - so I wouldn't worry so much about the depths of the plants but more about getting them into the water - besides you can always adjust the height of your waterlilies later if you want to get them at the heights they are intended to be- I think that Brenda is right and it is important for your water clarity to get the plants in the water - the picture I have attached is of the waterlilies at a depth of 31/2 feet. Do you have some of your marginals in on your shelving yet? That should help too.
Snapple - I agree with Linda - if you are going to kill yourself in the garden, at least make it your own garden - be careful, it is too easy to dehydrate in this heat, although I am sure you are well aware of that!
Merry Mary - what are you going to do differently this time? I know you have had mentioned in the past that as time permits, you dig new ponds and that you have multiple ponds - I'd love to see pics.
My ponds are all small above ground ponds built in between my many decks. I have a very small back yard (subdivision kind) and it slopes into my house, instead of away from my house. Even though the ponds look to be ground level, they actually are above, but taking away the sloping ground, with decking around them. It's too hard to take care of grass in Florida, too much water, too much time. So, decks I can use, Fish I can enjoy! The entire yard is a torn up mess right now, so I will post pics soon, as soon as I can make heads or tails over the disaster! My plants are everywhere, in holding pots all over the decks, I've been digging them up all week, to relocate them.
I'm going to make the new pond (and remember all my ponds are mini-ponds) deeper and with a bottom drain. This one will be smaller too, probably 12x9 and 3 feet deep.
I too use cinder blocks standing on end to support my water plants. I soak them for a month in a big rubbermaid tubby, to leach out things that will cause my ph to change, and to also get a nice biological algae growth on it. The fish use the holes as hiding spaces and shade.
Carolyn: Is that what your lily looks like already this summer? Mine are small. Yours is fabulous-all those buds-what kind is it?
It is a little cooler today and easier to garden but one of my sons is sick, there is a field mouse in my house (and my cat is playing with it but it is alive and well) and on top of that something must've crawled into my garage to die because it stinks horribly and there are flies everywhere and we just can't seem to find the cause. And here I am posting here at Dave's avoiding all those subjects . . .ewh . . .
Is this a script for a movie? Cuz if it is it's hysterical. (As long as your son's illness is a minor one.) I'm just doing things inside the house today. Recovering from yesterday's boiled brain episode.
Son's illness is minor-swollen lymph glands a slight cold but sore throat and headache. He's managing to play Nintendo very well with out a problem . . .
I just attempted to put a few plants on the shelves in my pond and the first of three fell to the bottom with a water lily in it. There were a few stems of grasses in it as well. They are completely under water-will they drown?
Linda - that picture is from 6/28/08. I took this picture tonight and my patch of waterlilies is not as big this year as last year. I did not use the fertilizer stakes this year - I was kind of hoping since they were new fertilizer stakes last year, there might be enough to take them through this year - it was an experiment, but now I know that I need to fertilize every year... Don't you the love these mice that come into a house full of cats? I never understood that... as far as something crawling into your garage and dying - I totally understand that. I think the cats maime something and it crawls off to where they cannot get at it... sounds like your son is feeling better - I am glad.
Snapple - sounds like you are feeling better too. I am glad. My husband does things in all kinds of weather too and sometimes he worries me because he has had problems with heat stroke before, so I know it can happen very easily. It has been an interesting summer weatherwise this year.
Linda - I don't know about the plant at the bottom of the pond - can you see it? How wide is your shelf and how deep is your pond?
My boiled brain is doing well. But the koi never spawned. Now I'm really worried. The water temp today is 90°. My aeration is good but still it's not a good situation. There's not much relief in sight. I'm doing a big water change tomorrow. Maybe 50%.
Carolyn: Please show me more of your plant shelf. Did you build a wall up for the plants? It looks really great. I really like it.
Snapple: get those fish "busy" and then send me some babies to fill up my pond. . .
I can't see the plant that fell-My visibility is about 6-10 inches in the "muddy-clay" pond. The clarity is coming around slowly-very slowly. I only know where this plant is by the few piece of grass that are peeking up at the top of the surface.
I don't know if this picture shows what you want to see - our 'plant shelves' are sort of like plant shelves and sort of like 'bogs'. When we put this pond in, DH initially had the idea of foaming a layer of flat rocks standing on their ends and foamed together to hold pea gravel. The idea was to use this area more as a bog type of planting than a traditional plant shelf. If you look to the overgrown area on the left, this is where the first bog/shelf was put in. We put many, many bags of pea gravel in after the foam was dry and solid. Then the plants went in. DH has a small 500 gallon pump pushing water through this plant shelf on the left. This area goes a long way towards filtering our pond, what with the pea gravel and the roots of the plants - bear in mind, I do not have a bottom drain.
Then if look to the front of the picture, two years ago on either end we put in more rock and foamed them standing on their ends, added more pea gravel and planted those plants directly into the pea gravel. We do not have pumps running into those shelves, however - this helps with our filtration. All the surface areas of the pea gravel that the water comes in contact with will help with filtration as the water is moving over the pea gravel. These are places where good bacteria will colonize.
Last year, if you look to the shelving on the right, DH put this last one in. We are still in the process of planting, which is why these plants are smaller. This one also does not have a pump pushing water through it. But all of the pea gravel in pond helps with the filtration.
I may have some other pictures if you are interested.
Have you been able to pull the plant that fell into your pond yet? I know when we first started ponding we had some of the same issues you are having and I do remember the water clearing so you could see to the bottom as one of the things that most frustrated DH.
MM, I have not kept up with the water garden board and then saw this thread, and your comment about not being the only person who gardens in work clothes : )
I actually got a skirt caught in the lawnmower a few weeks ago. I didn't tell hubby about it because he would have worried (the skirt is a little shredded at the bottom and now on permanent disability, I am fine).
I still have one fish from the four that hubby bought me for Valentine's Day - Poppy 3, the longfinned Hi Utsuri. He is a real clown. No more fish for me though, when Poppy 3 goes I'm going to wait until I have an outdoor pond. My ammonia is finally under control, though! I gave up on measuring for a few weeks, then after about a month I tested it and it was under 1 - as opposed to the month before when it was off the charts.
These fish are hard. I had salt water fish as a 12 year old and NEVER had the problems with them as I do with the koi.
Glad you had a chuckle about the gardening in work clothes reference to yourself. I think a lot of us do weird things like that now and a again. Skirt in the lawn mower???? Wow, your husband probably would have insisted you never mow again if he knew . . . This might work in your favor. . .
It wasn't just any skirt, it was one of those long flowing skirts. Chain saws scare me, I tried to buy one but it didn't work so I returned it, then the replacement also didn't work, so I decided that was a sign and I asked someone to cut down that mulberry for me. The one I tried to buy was a really good brand and expensive ($300 I think), it just didn't want to work for me. The people at the hardware store thought it was the weirdest thing ever, they could not get either one of the two to work, either.
Of course, I measured ammonia again last night and it was high again...
Carolyn22, that's funny about the size. I've owned one fish for about 4 years. I bought her at around 8 inches, she's maaaaaybe eeeking on 9 inches now, after 4 years. I have another I bought earlier this year as a 4 incher and it's already around 9 after only 4 months. Same pond, same food, same everything.
Hi from Phoenix. I'm new to this forum- I'm trying to build a second pond so I'm reading thru a ton of threads. So, six months later...Mothermole- how did the mud get cleaned up? Why do I need a bottom drain? Or do I? And...one of the main reasons I am putting in a second pond is that my koi destroy virtually every plant I put in with them. Yet Carolyn22 has gorgeous lilies AND gorgeous koi in the same pond. How does that work? There is a turtle in pond 1 that helps the koi destroy plants, so the purpose of pond 2 is so that I have a water garden for lilies etc. that the destroyers don't have access to. Do I have to send my koi to Carolyn's pond to learn some manners? I would really love to create a bog type area with gravel in the new pond similar to the one pictured. Did the idea for that set up come from a particular book or plan? I would really like to get some more information but could use some pointers as to where to start searching. Thanks all!
We use a layer of egg rock over the tops of all the waterlily pots. The egg rock is too big for the koi to be able to root into the bottoms of the pots. Granted, it makes for heavy pots of waterlilies when they are to be removed or put back into the pond, but we only do that twice a year.
I take it that YOUR koi don't chop off all the lily leaves and stems and BUDS and watch them float away into the skimmer while thumbing (err...finning?) their little fishie noses at you? Please send me the address for your military school for incorrigible koi.
I'm ok with the egg rock- my lilies can stay in the pond year round. I have Lemon Mist blooming in a stock tank with several wakins at the moment. There's a tropical waterlily out there too. They are waiting to move into the pond which isn't dug yet. (Yes, I know, it would have made so much more sense to do the pond before the fish but then life would be really dull, wouldn't it?) Even the wakins are apparently bored enough to be messing with the lilies so I'll get some egg rock tomorrow. The other plants waiting for pond 2 are in pots in a wading pool. I seriously need to get this pond underway.
Carolyn-too funny your comment on your "hubby" ruining the pond.
Katie: I like your sass! It made me smile today!
Yes, put in the drain (with uv light and bio-filter)-make the pond simpler to clean, allows you more fish and dirt in there and less vacuuming on your part to keep things tidy, and your fish will be healthier and happier with it. I had just had a pond installed and had asked about putting in a drain and the installer said I didn't need it . . . First summer and $1500 of fish dying and another $1000 or so in medicines to cure what was killing them and it all came back to the stupid drain that I should have insisted on them installing in the first place. The next year I had the pond re-dug deeper and added not only a drain but one with aeration. The bubbler is always running-even now in winter. My fish were disease free and growing quickly. It cost me a lot of money to reline the pond and add this stupid drain ($ about $7000.00-with fish deaths and medicines and liner and biofilter and uv light and the labor). Live and learn but insist on what you want. I learned the hard way.
BTW: My koi don't eat my plants either but are small probably compared to yours in your warm climate. I always cover my pots with heavy rock and some in netting so that they don't root around in the clay-dirt. My koi are between 1-3 years old.
I'm pretty sure now that my fish are misbehaving so that I will send them somewhere else where they will have a nicer place to live. My dogs act out when I leave them alone for longer than they feel they should be- so why not the koi? The thing is, the fish AND the turtle are rescues. I'm not a collector, I have no intention of encouraging fish reproduction of any kind, I have no idea what kind of koi they even are. You all are clearly much more knowledgable and take far better care of your ponds and your fishies than I do! I suspect that the only reason mine are still alive is dumb luck.
So...about plants and ponds with plant shelves...
Carolyn22, I just found a photo of your emptied pond. Do you by any chance have more photos showing how you made the "troughs" full of pea gravel? That's what they look like to me...like a standard sort of right angle plant shelf at the top of the pond wall with a wall of rocks on the "inner" edge that keeps the gravel from dumping off the ledge and into the pond proper. Is that right?
And mothermole, you mentioned plant shelves and not being able to see where to put your plants when the pond was all muddy. Do you perchance have more photos now that it's cleared up?
Here's a photo of my little pond before the critters ate everything but some elephant ears and the yerba mansa.
believe me, it's not as pretty after the koi shred all the plant material. I've been wishing for a leaf/twig shredder to help with composting. maybe I could train the koi somehow...I really don't think they are eating the plants nearly as much as they are just tearing them to bits and watching them float away.
How much do you feed your fish each day? I'm curious if they may do better with more food. Also, how many gallons in your tank - how many fish and how large in inches are the 3 biggest? I wonder if the fish are just bored - maybe too big for a small space and out of boredom they chew (like my naughty dogs do . . .)
Funny how dogs act out when their "patterns" or expectations of how their life should be. For example, my youngest dog, he was used to going with me everywhere in the car but then I had to do some work for my husbands business last year and it wasn't appropriate to have him in the car. I left him at home with our other dog, my husband working in his home office, the enclosed dog room is my laundry room (it's a huge nice room) and also has a doggie door and the dogs can come and go and roam the 1/2 acre enclosed in the dog fence. Was he happy? NOOOOOOOOO! Everyday I found my underwear and bras and shirts all over the yard. The underwear chewed up. I wasn't a happy camper! it took me 8 months to catch him in the act of carrying clothes outside to be able to effectively reprimand him. He's improved a ton but is still a little evil . . . LOL!
Sorry got off subject. I can't imagine your koi acting up but what was the rescue situation like? Did they come from some amazing pond and not they want revenge like my dog????? LOL!
Not sure if this photo shows how the shelves are set up. Yes, they are more troughs than shelves. When we were enlarging to this pond, hubby foamed in the rocks in an upright position. When the foam was dry, he put in bag after bag of washed pea gravel. We planted our marginals in the pea gravel and they pretty much have taken on a life of their own, however, the are contained and not allowed into the rest of the pond. In the larger shelf/bog like area, we have a small pump running - I cannot remember if it is 500 gal/hr or 750 gal/hr, but it helps with the filtration in the pond. Also, the roots of the plants growing in the pea gravel help with the filtration.
The sides of the pond are almost straight down from the edge of these shelves. They are at a slight angle so that the dirt would not cave in when we were digging the pond, but the straighter sides help as it is more difficult for pretators to get at the fish.
I have tell you, this set up has worked well for us.
Linda - too funny about the dog. Seems he was only interested in YOUR garments. I think he is trying to tell you of his displeasure with you. I must tell you, my long haired cat finds my socks and drags them all over the place. I have even found one of my socks in her water bowl... I wonder if she was trying to tell me that I need odor eaters or something...
Carolyn: My cats carry our sons sock around the house, nerf bullets are in their mouths a lot as well (it looks like they are smoking orange cigarets) and marbles. They pick the marbles up in their mouths, walk over to the basement stairs and drop them down and then chase them. I guess they are having their own fun!
Carolyn-how often do you empty out your pond completely and power wash it? What do you do about the plant shelves? Do you empty them as well or leave them?
There really is no set time period in how often we drain the pond completely. If I were to guess, I would say we may average every other year or so. This past year was bad with all of the rain. The pond never had enough time to take care of itself. I am really hoping this next ponding year that things go back to normal.
The plants on the shelves pretty much take care of them selves when we empty the pond, however I do think I lost one of my new arrowheads with this last draining of the pond. When we drained the pond this last time, the waterlilies were pulled and I cut them all back. Because it takes so long to fill the pond, I put the waterlilies in the shade and I put wet newspaper over the top of them and sprayed them down periodically.
We vacuum our pond with one of those wet vacuum things that works while the pond is full. We do this in the Spring and in the Fall...
I wish we had a stream. We had a stream in the previous pond, but just do no have the room here to have a larger pond and the stream. Perhaps in the next one. We are talking about moving when we can finally retire and of course, we have to have a pond...
If I could have my dream pond the stream would be deep enough for the fish to actually swim through with a current for exercise. I would love to have multiple ponds with underground tubes going under the patio connecting and deep water stream for them to swim around the property. This of course is if I win the lottery . . . LOL!