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    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.

     

     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!

     

     

    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.

     

    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.

     

    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.

     

     

    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.

    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.

    Green Maiden Lotus

    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 Lotus

    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.

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