Minutes June 15 — Water Gardens

with Sue Pellish

deckThank you Sue for sharing your beautifully manicured back yard and pond. The setting was perfect in every way for a wonderful relaxing, fun meeting. As always the breakfast was outstanding and the company the best it could be. We all sat on Sue’s deck under the shade trees and looked out over a waterfall that invited us to sit down and enjoy the sounds of nature. What more could anyone ask for. Personally, every month I am reminded of how very fortunate we all are.pond

koiSue asked that we all stay on the deck while she fed the fish. We could see them from the deck but if we all hovered around the pond they would think that we were predators. Her largest koi weighs nine pounds and is huge. They actually jump out of the water and will come up and lay on the sides of the pond. She said that there is a lot of drama during mating and it is exciting to watch. The males keep pushing and bumping into the females to encourage them from to drop their eggs, which the males then fertilize. 99% pure salt is used to calm the fish down after the females spawn; the fish can become frantic and at times fish can be killed. (Salt is not used to maintain water quality.) You will see lots of bubbles on the water when the eggs surface. Sue has had up to 26 fish in the pond and it all started out with two little ones.

treepatioThis is the second pond they have built. The first one was a deep hole but they found that by making ledges under water down to the deep part worked out much better. The property already had a large mound of rocks on it. There is even a tree growing out of the rocks and over time has moved the boulders. In the pond, there are sunken chimney flues laying on their sides that the fish can go into to avoid predators. Of course, Sue keeps a close eye and chases the blue heron away.

They have Paul Peach from Peach Tree Aquatic Farm (304-754-4797) come out and clean the pond in the spring. Paul empties the pond and power-washes it out. You have to keep the pH, ammonia and nitrite in check. Sue uses salt to help with this. There are only three Aqua vets in the United States and one of them is in our area. Should you need one, call Sue for contact information.

gardenThe pond is covered with a net in the fall and winter to block leaves, and the fish are not fed. In the fall, you need to beef up their fat stores with more protein so Sue feeds the koi Cheerios. She has had frogs and snakes tangled in the pond netting. Thank goodness she has never seen a copperhead in the netting. She is not afraid of snakes or the little frogs and helps them get out and go on their way.

There were a lot of plants brought to the meeting but I didn’t write down everything. This is what I can remember or have written down – Jane Blash brought Sundrops, Meg brought corydalis, and Mark brought lots and lots of different kinds of tomato plants, besides other things.

Our next meeting will be on July 20 at Carol Cadle’s home in Martinsburg where we will learn to make hyperturfa and see all of the neat things that she has made. By the way, our GEG cards are in and we will be handing them out at the next meeting.

Carole Brooks

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