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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

Aquatic Plants Inspiration Gallery


© 2012 Heather Harp

Four Before and After Projects


Nothing inspires a water garden lover like great before-and-after pictures! These are some of our favorites, as they show how a water garden can transform your space.

Want to see your water feature on our blog? Just email your photos and story to heather@markthepondguy.com.

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.

 

Pond Winterization – Part II


Warning: Slow-Moving Streams

There is nothing more breathtaking than a waterfall covered with ice formations and snow during the winter. You must, however, be careful with ponds that have long or slow-moving streams. In such cases, ice dams can form and divert water over the liner.

A waterfall in the winter

Will the filters and pipes crack?

Most good filters are constructed out of rotational-molded polyethylene, and are designed to bow and bend with the freezing and thawing effects of winter. The PVC flex pipe is reinforced and will not crack unless water is left in the pipe over the winter and allowed to freeze. If you decide to keep the pump running all winter long, there will still be a constant flow of water traveling through the pipe, and the moving water will not freeze. If you decide to turn the system off for the winter, most of the water in the pipe will drain back into the pond when the circulation system is removed.

What should be done with the pump once the system is shut down?

Remove the pump from the system and store it in a frost-free location, ideally submerged in a bucket of water. The water around the pump housing will prevent the seals on the pump from drying and cracking. Since most submersible pumps are oil-filled, it is not suggested to let the water freeze solid.

Tip: To extend the life of the pump, it is suggested to clear the impeller shaft free of any debris before winter storage. It is also beneficial to spin the impeller a couple of turns by hand before turning it on in the spring. This will prevent any corrosion or debris from seizing the impeller and interrupting proper pump function.

What about the filter?

When preparing the pond for winter, remove the filtration media and rinse it down. It is recommended to store any such media in a frost-free location like a garage or shed. If left over the winter, all of the filtration media may freeze into a solid block, causing unnecessary delays during the spring clean-out.

What about the fish? Will they be okay?

Ornamental fish will do just fine in two feet of water, as long as some form of oxygenation is provided, and a hole is kept in the ice to allow the escape of harmful gases. It’s recommended to place the waterfall pump in a basket, bucket, or pump sock and surround the intake of the pump with stones to prevent clogging. Place the pump on the second or third shelf of the pond so the surface water is broken by the aeration. The agitation from the pump will prevent freezing and provide oxygen.

A pond de-icer

The Bottom Line

The bottom line for winterization is maintenance. Roughly 70 percent of pond owners in the colder climates decide to shut down their system because they don’t enjoy tending to their water garden during the bitter months of the winter. The aesthetic rewards of the “winter pond” are absolutely worthwhile, so by all means, don’t be afraid to keep the system running as long as possible. Shutting down a pond during the winter is also an option. Just be sure you take precautionary measures to preserve fish, plant, and pump life.