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.
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.
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.
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.
Well our busy season is upon us and we're excited about the plants we're sending. We have several new pond plants this year. A couple new lotus, waterlilies and bog plants. Check them out at our store, www.dragonflyaquatics.com.
I often get questions about whether to use water lettuce or water hyacinths as floaters in the pond. They both basically serve the same purpose.
Water lettuce (Pistia stratiotes) has light green spongy leaves that looked as if they have veins running through them. The leaves are approximately 1-5" wide. The leaves are covered with tiny hairs and occasionally tiny white flowers appear in the center. Water lettuce prefers partial shade during the hotest part of the day and once the water warms up will multiply quickly. Their dangling roots provide a place for fish to hid. Water lettuce can be very aggressive and can deplete the oxygen in the water if you let it take over your entire pond. So its a good idea to take out some if they start to multiply rapidly. Water temperature should be 60 - 65 degrees before placing water lettuce in your pond as it will turn the leaves white and they will die.
Water Hyacinth - Eichornia crassipes) A floating plant that is a fast grower and beneficial for water filtration. They have bright green rounded leaves and will get a purple flower on them throughout the season. Water hyacinth have dangling roots that help filter and clean the water. We have alot of customers who ordered water hyacinths first in the spring to provide shade immediately to help prevent growth of algae. It takes other plants such as water lilies longer to produce their leaves to help provide the coverage needed. When you first receive your water hyacinths you want to put them in shade for a day before adding them to your pond in direct sun or the leaves will turn brown. They need to soak water up in their leaves. Again make sure your water temperatures are 60 - 65 degrees before placing in your pond.
I'm not certain what happened to Spring here but I think it may have been here but we missed it......yesterday little snow flakes were appearing and in a couple days its going to be in the 70s. What's up with that???
But even though we're all anxious for the weather to turn nice so we can begin planting our flowers, vegetables gardens and clean our ponds, we have begun sending allot of nice plants to those who have the warm weather. Lucky them!
Dragonfly Aquatics has a couple new hardy water lilies to introduce. Hidden Violet which is a very unusual waterlily. Large red-violet flowers with pointed petals that catch the eye. The leaves are a darker green which gives a nice contrast to the flowers. It requires full sun as most of the red hardy waterlilies do and performs well.
The other new water lily is Walter Pagels, a very creamy white hardy water lily with with a hint of pale pink. This water lily is considered a medium hardy water lily and is an excellent choice for small to medium size ponds. Unlike the red water lilies it will perform well in sun to part shade. It also is one of the water lilies that will stay open later in the day for more enjoyment.
Signs of spring 2011. We're excited about the new lotus we have this year. We try to add one or two new a year. The new lotus for Dragonfly Aquatics are great lotus for those smaller ponds and containers. The Green Maiden and and Snow White. But sorry no Seven Dwarfs.
The flowers on the Green Maiden change from the first day from a soft pink to a pale yellow by the third day, similar to the Mrs. Perry D. Slocum only much smaller. The Green Maiden makes a perfect lotus for tub gardens and small ponds. It will grow 1' to 3' tall with flowers 2" - 3" across and its leaves will grow 18" to 20" across. Hardy zone 4 or higher, less than zone 4 with winter protection.
Snow White of China orgin is the perfect lotus for bowls and small containers with or without a pond. Double creamy white blooms of 3 - 5 inches with leaves of 6 - 12 inches and a height of 1 - 2 feet. It can be planted in a pond or just plant in a container at least 2 gallons or bigger with water 2 inches up to 10 inches deep. This lotus is considered a true bowl lotus. It is hardy zones 4 - 11.
In March we begin the task of harvesting the lotus tubers for the season. All lotus varieties are available for shipping. Lotus tubers are pulled while they are still dormant. The lotus tubers we sell at Dragonfly Aquatics have at least three or more growing tips, sometimes more depending on the variety. The tubers are kept in the dormant state in cold water until it is time to ship to your zone. Once the lotus tuber is placed in 65 - 70 degree water in the sun, it will begin to grow once again. Most varieties will bloom the first season.
You can read about planting lotus on our blog at https://www.dragonflyaquatics.com/blog/2009/03/pictures-of-planting-lotus/
Check out the lotus on our site.
New this year for Dragonfly Aquatics and will be added to our store.
A floating, rootless aquatic fern that floats just below the water surface producing a pair of floating or emergent leaves that are green in color and oblong in shape. They have a third leaf that is brown in color and dangles underwater sometimes mistaken as a root but helps to stabilize the plant. The plant itself has no roots but tiny white hairs beneath the leaves.
One of our most popular bog plants is the Dwarf Papyrus. I think its an unusual looking plant and adds alot of dimension to the pond. It always seems to grow well and is one pond plant that is easy to grow and attend to. The Dwarf Papyrus is a good bog plant to create a tub garden or tabletop pond. I have one growing in a ceramic pot on my patio and it does well.
The papyrus grows in sun to part shade and likes moist soil and can tolerate water up to 4 inches deep. Its considered hardy Zones 8-11 but can easily be wintered over indoors. As long as you keep the plant in 50 degrees and above it will be fine. You may watch for mealybugs as they will sometimes appear on the plant during the winter but can easily be treated.
They grow 12-18 inches high with a spread of 6-12 inches. To start other plants take the seeds and put in wet soil or propagate from the viviparous top fronds. You'll soon have other plants to place in your pond.
If you like larger plants you can go for the Dwarf Giant Papyrus (Cyperus percamenthus) which will grow about 3 feet high. There is also the Egyptian Papyrus (Cyperus papyrus) which can grow to 8 feet high.
Whichever Papyrus you chose it is a unique pond plant for your pond.
Cooler temperatures are the thing again with a slight freeze in Ohio. I tend to feel drained when the days are rainy but that sunshine sure makes one feel good again! We turned the garden over this week and that's the last of the tomatoes until next year. I do really enjoy the garden and the benefits of enjoying the fresh vegetables all winter long but it keeps one busy during the month of August. Now its apple time....I like making the fresh applesauce and putting away a few whole apples for the apple crisp and pies. There's nothing better than a warm apple crisp on a cold winter day.
Let's face it....there isn't much to do with the pond now that summer is ending and things are put to bed. I pulled all the water hyacinths out last week. Trimmed up the lilies and took all the tropical waterlilies and put them to bed in the greenhouse for the winter. I still have to drop the hardy waterlilies but some are still blooming so I'll wait awhile yet. My cardinal flower is still standing tall and I must say this has been its best year yet! I had at least 7 flowers on it and the hummingbirds sure were happy!!