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     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!

     

     

    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.

     

    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.

     

     

    Well the holidays are over, the tree is down and all the holiday christmas decorations are put away.  I could probably leave my christmas tree up for months as I always miss it once its put away.  Its hard to imagine the room is exactly like it was a month ago because it looks so bare now. With that behind I start thinking that in just a few months it will be spring again.  My how time flies.  The plants are all beginning to grow nicely in the greenhouses and within a couple months will be ready to plant.  

    No sooner said then the snow began...let's hope February is a quick month and we can all get started on our spring projects and planning our gardens.  Actually January is a good month to start ordering some plants for your gardens, at least I'm getting alot of plant magazines in the mail.  So its getting me in the mood.

    There are iris of almost any color one would want.....of course I want to plant them all around the pond.  Although they only bloom once during the season I anxiously await their blooms.  The Colorific is exactly like its name...blending of colors and quite unique.  This plant only had about three flowers on it this year since it was just planted but next year will have more. 

    Then there is the Clyde Redmond which blooms a little later in the season. Its nice to have different iris blooming at different times of the season. The Wedgwood blue color of this iris adds alot to the pond.

    Other than dividing the iris in the early spring they require little care and the rewards of color in your pond are worth it.

    This time of year we all are enjoying our gardens.  Whether it be a pond, flower bed, vegetable garden or just general landscaping its a good feeling to sit back and reap the rewards of our efforts.

    I spent hours weeding our vegetable garden yesterday as I had neglected it for a couple weeks.   I can't understand why the weeds seem to grow overnight.  Other than throwing them in the compost what other need do we have for them? 

    But I did pick a nice batch of tomatoes.  Now its time to start working putting them away for the winter.  I enjoy canning almost as much as I enjoy my pond.  And there are so many ways to can tomatoes that can be enjoyed all winter long, that is if you don't eat most of them while your picking.....

    Then as I was wondering about in the garden I got caught up in the wonders of nature.  I like nothing better than watching the dragonflies, butterflies and yes the bees frolic around the garden.  Its my favorite time of the year.  I tried to get a picture of a hummingbird but they are so quick he didn't give me time to click....

    Aquatic pond plants need to be fertilized monthly to flourish and bloom profusely. At Dragonfly Aquatics we recommend Highland Rim Aquatic Plant Fertilizer tablets. Specially formulated for blooming aquatic plants, with a 10-26-10 nutrient ratio.Highland Rim Fertilizer tablets give your waterlilies, lotuses and blooming marginals plenty of phosphorus to produce the most spectacular blossoms possible. The large 10-gram tablets are safe and non-toxic. They will not promote algae blooms in ponds and they will not harm fish or other aquatic life. Highland Rim Aquatic Plant Fertilizer is available in packs of 12, 36, 80 or 300 tablets. Be sure to order fertilizer tablets with your next plant order.

    mayla-my-pondAs the weather warms up and we begin to assess what plants we want to add to our ponds this spring, make sure you check out your hardy water lilies to see if they are in need of re-potting. Adding Highland Rim Fertilizer tablets at this time is also a must do. Water lilies need to be fertilized every 4-6 weeks to ensure plenty of flowers this summer.

    Dividing the water lilies and re-potting them in early spring will ensure a better performing water lily this summer. Several lilies in the same pot compete for available nutrients resulting in fewer flowers this summer.

    Water lilies need to be planted in at least a 1 gallon planting container for best performance. The medium to large varieties should be potted in a 2 to 5 gallon planting container to reach maximum flowering and growing potential. Don't be fooled by purchasing a potted lily in a 4 inch pot and expect it to flourish in your pond. You will end up paying more for the lily, and will still need to purchase a larger container to re-pot the lily in.

    This is what some of us in the North woke up to this morning, and this was after some of it had melted.  What happened to those 50 and 60 degree days???  Hopefully they will be back again soon.  How can we get started cleaning our ponds and thinking putting those new plants in if the water is too cold to put our hand in it.  And what about those fish and frogs???? They are hiding again.

    Whenever this happens, those of us who wanted our plants shipped thinking its finally warm wonder, now what do I do with them.  Make sure you protect them by bringing them indoors until it warms up.  Remember most of the plants have been indoors in a greenhouse environment and shiver even when the temps are in the 60s.  But we need to make sure the water temperature have stabilized to 65 degrees before we put those floating plants out.  

    The floating water plants in your pond need to have the water temperature reach 65 degrees.  They will show signs of yellowing leaves and black spots on their leaves if left  in water temps below that.  The water lettuce will wilt and turn white if too cold.   We tend to get anxious in the spring and sometimes put floaters in before the water is warm enough.  Even the lotus and waterlilies need the warmer weather to start growing.  But at least those were outside all winter and were pulled to ship out. 

    Hopefully, like last year, this is a short spell and in a couple weeks things will turn around and we can once again start looking forward to enjoying our ponds.

    In March we begin harvesting the lotus tubers for the 2010 season. In the next couple weeks most varieties will be available for shipping to planting zones 10, 9 and 8. 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.

    Check out the lotus on our site.

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