Much needed…warm weather

Well mother nature looks like she’s going to turn things around and start giving us in the north some warmer weather beginning next week.  Usually May things start to warm up and it won’t be long until we can begin putting out plants in the pond.

A good rule of thumb is always make sure your water temperatures are around 65 degrees before putting in new plants.  Think of it like taking a bath in cold water. You’d shiver too and be a little shocked.

Lotus are a master piece in a water garden.  Their outstanding flowers and large leaves whether in your pond or container are a beautiful addition to your water garden. Lotus are hardy perennials and will reward you with exotic flowers year after year.

There are small, medium and large lotus.  Lotus won’t start to appear in the spring until the water temperature warms in the pond which is about 65 degrees.  In the colder areas where a lotus has been overwintered at the bottom of the pond, raise the pot so that it is just a few inches below the water surface and it will be warmed by the sun.  If you overwintered the lotus in peat for the winter don’t place it back in the pond until the water temperatures are 65 degrees.  Once the water warms up in the 70s the lotus will start to grow more rapidly.  They will begin to flower several weeks later than waterlilies, often not until late July and August in zones lower than 6 and zones earlier than 6 will begin earlier in July.  They continue to bloom until late September and October depending on your climate.

So whether you have a large pond or just a small container on your patio a lotus will grow.  I would suggest planting it in a large container and put in your pond, otherwise it could grow out of control.  Keeping it confined in a container eliminates this.  Planting it in a container it only requires a few inches of water over the tuber to grow.  So whether you plant a lotus in your pond or simply plant it in a small container and set it on your patio, you will be glad you did.

There isn’t much work to grow a lotus but the rewards are spectacular.

 

what a joy

 Although we can’t complain about the winter we had this year mother nature is playing tricks on us again. Signs of spring and warm weather and now snow tomorrow??  What gives?

While walking through the garden you can see signs of spring trying to emerge.   The fish in the pond will venture towards the water surface when the sun is beating down on them but when the air changes back to cold they hid.  Its been an unusually warm March and April than in the past.

Mother Nature has a way of tricking even the most experienced water gardener. We finally have a week of warm temperatures, and things are coming alive in our ponds. After months of rain, sleet, snow and ice we are all ecstatic. Armed with our pond gloves, waders and nets, we set out to begin cleaning our ponds. Throwing in some MicrobeLift Spring & Summer, clean our filters and hope algae doesn’t start to grow until we can get some plants in.  We check temperatures and think it is time to add some plants. Seems safe, after all the temperatures are rising. Place our orders, plants arrive and all seems well. Then out of nowhere (actually Canada), comes a cold front with freezing nighttime temperatures. We frantically remove our floating plants, new bog plants and place them in the garage or on the covered porch for the next couple of days.  Then, temperatures rise again and out the plants go again. We try our best to ship the plants when the time is right for planting in your planting zone. Unfortunately, we can not control Mother Nature and her unpredictable ways.   Just, remember when receiving new plants in the Spring to keep a watchful eye on the temperatures,  in case Mother Nature tries to play a trick on you!

 

 

New for Dragonfly

We are offering a few new plants this year and one is the Water Willow (Justicia Americana).  This hardy bog plant has flowers that resemble an orchid white with splashes of lavender and purple.  The flowers grow in a dense, head-like cluster originating from its slender stalks.

The plant will grow 12 inches to 18 inches high and about 12 inches wide with flowers that start blooming in April and will continue to bloom thru October.    It requires part shade to full sun and best when planted 0 – 4″ below the water surface but will take up to 2′ of water.   While it will grow in almost any type of soil its best grown in sandy, sandy loam medium loam and clay loam or clay.

Hardy Zones 4-11 (Can overwinter in pond and doesn’t need submerged)

 

love winter..

I can’t say I dislike winter….when it snows everything looks so pretty but then this winter has been pretty nice so far.  Temperatures are in the 50s today and the SUN is shinning.  Unusual for January in Ohio.  The pond is frozen but only a thin layer and the fish aren’t moving much although I can catch a glimpse of them sometimes.

 

So while I continue to knit away the hours I keep thinking about spring…..changes to the pond…..new plants to offer…..what plants are thriving in the greenhouse. When the planting season ends things begin happening in the greenhouse.  With seedlings and dividing of plants there is alot of do to get ready for the following season.  Put on the gloves, play in the dirt,  then watch the plants begin to grow.

 It won’t be long and most of us will begin the task of spring cleaning our ponds.  While there is still alot of activity in the warmer climates those of us in the north continue to wait.  Being a mild winter thus far only makes us more anxious for spring.

 

Fall is here

Its officially fall now and we need to begin preparing our pond for the winter and hopefully a cleaner pond for spring.  I’ve listed a few maintenance tips to guide you through preparing your pond for the winter.  I still have a few flowers appearing in my pond but I think they are almost through blooming for the season :(

 

FALL/WINTER POND MAINTENANCE TIPS

 1. Before winter arrives, you will want to make sure your pond and filtering system are clean to ensure good water quality throughout the winter months. With the arrival of fall it is wise to do a partial water change to remove any built up contaminants to improve water quality. Partial water changes need to be made before water temperatures fall below 60 degrees to minimize fish stress. Adding pond salt at this time will improve the slime coating of fish, to help them ward off disease and parasites.

2. Before the leaves begin to fall, cover your pond with one of ourpond nets. The goal is to try and keep the pond as clean as possible for the winter months. Leaves will sink to the bottom of the pond and rot, causing excess carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulfide. After the first frost, take out any floating plants, as these will begin to decay. Trim back hardy lilies and bog plants and place below the freeze line.

3. Switch to Microbe-Lift Autumn/Winter Prep. This will help break down organic material in the pond before winter sets in. Microbe-Lift Autumn/Winter Prep helps accelerate the decomposition of leaves, scum, sediment and other organic matter during the fall and throughout the winter months. Also, Microbe-Lift Autumn/Winter Prep helps to maintain a healthy immune system for your fish during the winter months. Microbe-Lift Autumn/Winter Prep will help jump-start your pond to a healthier environment in the spring.

4.Reduce your fish feeding as the water temperatures drop below 60 degrees. Start feeding your fish a couple of times a week. We recommend switching to a wheat germ based fish food formulated for fall and spring feeding. When water temperatures drop below 60 degrees, the metabolism of your fish slow down. Both Tetra-Pond Spring/Fall and Microbe-Lift Cold Weather fish food are highly digestible cool weather diets that are made with less protein, but contain wheat germ, which is easily digested. They also contain higher levels of fat, which help your fish survive their winter hibernation. When water temperatures reach 50 degrees, stop feeding your fish completely. Feeding at water temperatures below 50 degrees can possibly kill your fish. A pond thermometeris a must have.  This will help you in determining when to stop feeding your fish and will also help to know when to begin feeding your fish in the spring.  Its also a good idea to know your water temperature for those adding tropical pond plants to your pond in the spring.

5.Adding Microbe-Lift Barley Straw Extract will help control string algae throughout the fall and winter months. Barley Straw Extract is an effective and eco-friendly way to reduce algae. Unlike algaecides, which are ineffective in water temperatures below 50 degrees, Microbe-Lift Barley Straw Extract will continue to control algae throughout the winter months.

6.Before freezing temperatures begin, install a pond de-icer. Ponds covered with ice do not allow toxic gases to escape causing fish loss. A pond de-icer will keep a section of your pond open to allow oxygen and gas exchange.

7.During the winter removing snow from the surface of the pond will help submerged plants and microscopic aquatic plants to continue to produce oxygen as long as light penetrates through the ice. Insufficient light, along with the decomposition of plant and leaf debris may result in insufficient oxygen for the fish, causing them to suffocate. Removing the snow from a portion of your surface area will reduce the likelihood of this occurring.

Remember to add a tray of sand in your pond for the frogs to have a place to winter over.

 

What’s Up??

This frog is getting brave…..I can get close to him and it doesn’t seem to matter.  That is if I talk before I get to him so it doesn’t frighten him.  He likes to hid behind my Rain Lily.  Maybe he just likes his picture taken hehe. I sure do alot of that.  Now there are other frogs camping out in my pond also, but mostly small ones…the tadpoles from early spring.  They aren’t as friendly as MR. BIG FROG.  Whenever I try and get close to snap a picture they jump right into the pond.  This is the closest shot I could get….took one more step and he was gone.

PLOP right into the pond.  I think I saw Mr. Big Frog just shake his head….

Since we’re starting to get our ponds ready for the winter now is also a good time to create a place for those frogs we’ve watch grow from tadpoles this summer.  You may want to put a tray, such as a kitty litter tray in the bottom of your pond with sand in it.  This will give the frogs a place to bury themselves over the winter.  Sometimes if you have a filter box or skimmer they may camp out there so be sure that your pump intake is protected so they don’t get stuck in it.  I’ve opened my skimmer early spring and had them jump out.  If you have muck in the bottom of your pond they will also bury themselves in there.  Its nature so frogs will find a way to survive over the winter.

 

Approaching end of summer

It won’t be long and summer will be over.  I already notice a difference with the days getting shorter.  It has started to cool off some from the hot weather we’ve been having.  All is doing well in the pond and it won’t be long and the garden will be finished.  I canned the first of the tomatoes last week ending up with about 27 quarts so far.  I’m sure tomorrow I’ll be able to add to that.

Finding more time now to do other things since the pond season is starting to slow down.  There is little time during March, April, May and June, but then July things start to slow some.  I notice the waterlilies seem to have to slowed down but when they do bloom are still wonderful.

Enjoy why we can……the tropicals are the first to go.

 

Summer heat

This has been a hot summer so far. Its important if you have fish in your pond that you make sure the water isn’t too warm for them. As your water evaporates replenish with cool water. Your fish will be happy!

The tropical waterlilies sure are blooming up a storm in my pond.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Albert Greenberg’s colors are outstanding this year as are the other waterlilies. I’m not certain if its the hot summer days or just that all the pond plants are happy this year. These were all new plants this year since we just redid our pond so other than the initial fertilizing when I planted them, the first part of June, they haven’t been fertilized since. I best get to that so I get as many flowers as possible before summer is over. I know tropical waterlilies last only during the summer but I seem to enjoy them more than the hardy waterlilies because of their colors.

 

 

lovin it…..

Its been a crazy pond year so far.  First our weather didn’t want to cooperate and get warm but then when the weather started getting warmer we were so busy I didn’t have alot of time to write yet alone get my pond going.

We decided to redo our pond this year, again, as my husband would say.   It was a long weekend project but its complete now and with a few minor changes here and there will be so much better than the old one.  Mostly the problem I had with the other one was all the rocks in the pond which made it hard getting in and out.  Pretty slippery….so we decided to remove all the rocks and make the shelf larger and the bottom flat instead of sloped around the edges.  Much easier for getting in and out for the tasks of trimming plants and fertilizing them.  We changed our waterfall to enter from a different angle with a long stream bed flowing into the pond.  Much more tranquil and natural.  This will still give me a nice bog area to plant bog plants in.   Its been a couple weeks and the plants are finally starting to adjust.  Now just need to get the bacteria going to clear it up more. What a difference one month makes!

I started this blog a couple weeks ago and then things got busy so now I have updated pictures of the pond and wow did it perform.  Everything is growing well and I must say the plants and fish are happy. The water is crystal clear and the plants are looking so healthy.  I already see a lotus bud on the Mrs. Perry Slocum in just 4 weeks time. Check out my Albert Greenberg.

Bio-Clean Pond Clarifiers

We sell  Bio-Clean Microbial Pond Clarifier but I have never tried them.  So I did alittle research on them and thought I’d share the information.

They contain beneficial microbes (bacteria and mold cultures), which eliminate excess problem-causing nutrients from your pond.  They also contain microbes, which provide the comprehensive removal of bottom sludge.  The microbes will not only degrade cellulose (one of the primary components of plants wastes), but will also eliminate pectin (fibrous materials also found in plants), xylanase (found in various parts of plants also), and most importantly lignin (the heartiest component in leaves and stems of plants).

Bio-Clean microbial pond clarifiers include two very specific cultures for removing excess, problem-causing ammonia, urea, nitrites and nitrates from the pond water.   Bio-Clean contains microbes for achieving odor control, by eliminating the dead and decaying organic wastes causing the odors.

Water Clarity – Bio-Clean also utilizes microbes to achieve water clarity.  Water clarity is accomplished when the microbes eliminate the dead and decaying organic wastes, which float in the water as suspended solids.  As these organic wastes are removed, water clarity drastically increases (from virtually no clarity, up to 6+ foot depth of clarity after only a few treatments.

Usage:  One 3 oz Bio-Clean tablet per 2500-3000 gallons of water or 20 per surface acre of water per month.  You apply around the edges of the pond.  You can purchase it here.