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3 Reasons to Attend the Moonlight Pond Tour


1. Inspiration

We promise, if you attend the Moonlight Pond Tour, you will walk away inspired. Whether you’re dreaming about a pond, already have one and want ideas, or you just enjoy beautiful landscapes, the Moonlight Pond Tour is a must-see.

Gazebo Over the Pond

2. It’s a Family-Friendly Event

We love it when people bring their friends and family, let the kids splash in the water, and roast s’mores around the campfire.

Roasting S’mores around the Campfire

3. Mark The Pond Guy

The Moonlight Pond Tour is a great time to ask Mark The Pond Guy’s questions about your pond project. Bring photos of your yard or project and he can give you ideas and direction.

Mark The Pond Guy Speaking at the Tour

Moonlight Pond Tour Gallery

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Aquatic Plants Inspiration Gallery


© 2012 Heather Harp

Solution for Small Spaces: Patio Ponds!


As the daughter of Mark The Pond Guy, I’ve been quite lucky growing up surrounded by awe-inspiring landscaping. My dad’s artistic eye for water features made our yard one of the most beautiful I have ever seen. So after I moved out onto my own, you can bet one of the things I miss the most is the gorgeous water features covering much of my parent’s property.

Mark The Pond Guy's Front Yard

I miss going to sleep to the sound of water, feeding the koi, and even fishing in the big “Swim Pond”. So last week I purchased a Patio Pond for my apartment balcony. I chose the 24″ European Terra Cotta Patio Pond, which is small enough to fit comfortably on my balcony, yet large enough for a water lily, some floaters, a marginal plant, and a couple goldfish. I even installed a fountain and LED light to the Patio Pond for sound and aesthetic purposes.

Heather's Patio Pond

Patio Ponds are available through The Pond Store. They’re super easy to set up and require very little maintenance!

– Heather Harp

Plants for Your Pond – Iris


I. ensata

Iris

Habit: marginal aquatic perennial

Height: 8″-5′

Spread: 2′ or more

Hardiness: zones 2-8

Few gardens are without at least one iris, but regular gardens often miss out on the iris selections that prefer to grow in water. These classic plants will add a new dimension to your water feature.

Growing

Irises grow best in full sun but tolerate partial shade. The soil should be average to fertile, humus rich and moist to wet, in water up to 4″ deep.

Division is rarely required but can be done between mid-summer and fall when the plants begin to produce fewer flowers or to propagate new plants.

Tips

Popular plants for the margins of a water feature, irises can also be grown in bog gardens and in moist areas around the pond.

Recommended

I. pseudoacorus

I. pseudoacorus (yellow flag iris) grows 3-5′ tall and forms clumps of narrow, upright foliage. It bears bright yellow flowers with brown or purple markings in mid- and late summer. Cultivars with variegated leaves or double flowers are available.

I. siberica (Siberia iris) forms clumps of grassy leaves and grows 2-4′ tall. It normally bears purple flowers in early summer, but cultivars may have pink, blue, white, yellow or red flowers instead.

I. versicolor (blue flag iris) grows 8-32″ tall and spreads 2′, forming clumps

I. siberica

of upright foliage. This native of eastern North America bears flowers in varied shades of purple in early and mid-summer.

Problems & Pests

Usually problem free, irises have rare problems with iris borers, whiteflies, weevils, thrips, slugs, snails, rot, leaf spot and rust.

Excerpt from Water Garden Plants for Washington and Oregon by Mark Harp & Alison Beck, 2008, Lone Pine Publishing International Inc.

Plants for Your Pond – Elephant Ears


Taro

Colocasia

Violet Stemmed Taro

Habit: marginal aquatic or pondside perennial

Height: 20″-6 1/2′

Spread: 20″-6 1/2′

Hardiness: tender perennial often grown as an annual

If your pond is too small to accommodate a mature elephant ears plant, it can be grown on dry land in a large container of consistently moist soil. It will make a striking addition to pondside patios and sitting areas.

Growing

Elephant ears grows best in light to full shade. The soil should be fertile, humus rich, slightly acidic and moist to wet, in water up to 8″ deep.

These plants can easily be brought indoors for winter. Simply place your potted elephant ears in a dish of water in front of a bright window with plenty of space to keep it growing. If you don’t have enough space, you can allow the plant to die back in fall and store its tuberous roots in a cool, dry place until spring. In warm places on the West Coast, it may even survive winter outside. Elephant ears can be divided in early spring.

Tips

Plant elephant ears in your pond or in a moist or boggy area next to the water feature, where its large leaves, which can grow to 36″, create a tropical appearance. If you plan to lift this plant in fall to be brought indoors, plant it in containers.

Recommended

C. esculenta

C. esculenta 

is a tuberous, warm-climate plant that produces large, heart-shaped leaves. It reaches its maximum size

 

over several seasons. Cultivars with dark purple or red-veined leaves are available.

Problems & Pests

Occasional problems with aphids, bacterial blight, rot, spider mites, and whiteflies can occur. However, this plant can withstand heavy insect infestations before showing any symptoms that require treatment.

Excerpt from Water Garden Plants for Washington and Oregon by Mark Harp & Alison Beck, 2008, Lone Pine Publishing International Inc.

 

Is Your Pond Eco-Friendly?


Ecosystem ponds can be easy to understand if you have a good grasp of what components go into a basic, functioning ecosystem. An ecosystem pond works with Mother Nature to provide food, shelter, and safety to the wildlife around it. It also provides you with an all-natural, low-maintenance piece of paradise. It’s important to remember, however, that every piece of the ecosystem puzzle must be present in order for a true ecosystem to be in place. Eliminate one of these elements and you’ve got an unbalanced ecosystem that won’t be so low-maintenance anymore. Check out the things you’ll need to get your ecosystem pond fired up:

Circulation System is really just a fancy way of saying “pumps and plumbing.” The proper size pump and pipe diameter are extremely important for the aesthetics of a water feature. More importantly, an efficient circulation system keeps the water moving and provides the necessary oxygen levels for healthy fish and plants.

Proper Filtration System includes the use of both a biological and a mechanical filter. A biological filter provides surface area for beneficial bacteria to colonize and remove excess nutrients from the water. A mechanical filter will not only pre-filter the water and house the pump; it will also skim debris from the water’s surface to prevent the accumulation of organic materials on the pond floor.

Fish are an integral part of any ecosystem. Unfortunately, fish are often seen as creating a maintenance nightmare. Contrary to popular belief, fish will actually reduce pond maintenance, as they graze on string algae and bottom feed from the pond floor.

Aquatic Plants are Mother Nature’s true filters. Plants are great for adding character to a pond by providing color and texture, but from a filtration perspective, they’re second to none. Thriving from the excess nutrients in a pond and depriving algae of its food source, the aquatic plants in a water garden, given proper coverage, are critical for the overall health of the ecosystem.

Rocks, Gravel, and Bacteria have been a controversial element in the hobby for many years. Many enthusiasts have steered away from rocks and gravel out of fear that their system will become a maintenance nightmare. On the contrary, rocks and gravel will not only make your pond look more natural, they will also protect pond liners from UV light degradation and they provide tremendous surface area for beneficial bacteria to break down excess nutrients in the water and dissolved organic debris on the pond floor.

Having all these things in place makes all the difference in the health and success of your water garden. Use them and work with Mother Nature, not against her, for a chemical-free wonderland of water! The truth is that most people opt for the ecosystem way of water gardening because it’s easier and it just makes sense. A low-maintenance ecosystem pond provides you with more free time to enjoy friends and family … while gathered around your pond, of course!

Plants for Your Pond – Monkey Flower


Mimulus

M. luteus

Habit: marginal or pondside annual

Height: 6-12″

Spread: 12″

Hardiness: half-hardy or tender annual

It is always useful to have annual plants that provide color and fill spaces around perennials and shrubs that haven’t yet reached their mature size. Monkey flower is ideal for this purpose; it loves the moist conditions of a pond.

Two other species – M. luteus, with yellow flowers, and M. ringens, with pale mauve or blue flowers – are hardy perennials in most of the Pacific Northwest but don’t flower as prolifically as the hybrids. Both grow in shallow water.

Growing

Monkey flowers prefer light shade or partial shade with protection from the afternoon sun. Too much sun can make them straggly and unattractive. The soil should be fertile, humus rich and moist – don’t let it dry out.

Tips

These flowering annuals can be used to add color around the edge of your water feature or to brighten a bog garden. In ideal conditions, they will bloom for most of summer.

Recommended

M. x hybridus

M. x hybridus (hybrid monkey flower) is a bushy, low, branching plant. The many cultivars offer flowers in bright and pastel shades ranging from orange, yellow and cream to burgundy, pink and red. Bicolors are also available.

Problems & Pests

Downy mildew, powdery mildew, gray mold, whiteflies, spider mites and aphids can cause occasional problems.

Excerpt from Water Garden Plants for Washington and Oregon by Mark Harp & Alison Beck, 2008, Lone Pine Publishing International Inc.