Water Craft

The midday sun reflects off a 15-by-20-foot pond that stretches across a rural yard. The blue of the sky is mirrored by the water, while a couple of dozen koi sweep about beneath the surface - flashes of orange, yellow, white and black move by. They dance between the waterlilies, the plants' round leaves sitting delicately on the water's surface area as blooms of pink and yellow open to drink in the sunlight.

" This is our play ground," states Dick Williams, as he and his spouse, LaNell, hide from the summertime heat in the shade of their aspen trees, and view the fish and flowers in their yard Shangri-La.

The Williams' house is one stop on this weekend's Water Garden Tour - the 17th yearly trip hosted by the Pikes Peak Water Garden Society. Providence Gutter Cleaning The tour draws as lots of as 1,500 gawkers when the weather condition works together, and the society has actually grown to more than 250 members, indications of the appeal of water gardening in the region.

Wait one cotton-picking minute, you might be believing: Did you say water gardening? Here in Colorado Springs, the land of water constraints and drought?

That's right, water gardening. Odd as it seems, constructing a giant water feature in the backyard might be the very best method to save water.

" Though it might sound counter-intuitive, it has been shown that a location provided over to a water garden consumes less water than the very same ground covered with lawn or ground-covering plants - by some quotes, just one-tenth as much," states the book "Water Gardening for the Southwest," by Teri Dunn.

Structure your very own pond is easier than it utilized to be, thanks to advances in equipment and a larger schedule of water plants. If you do the work yourself, Club members state you can build a large pond for less than $1,000.

Nevertheless, it's not a cinch. Ron Bissonnette, vice president of the Pikes Peak Water Garden Society, keeps in mind hauling dirt from his backyard one wheelbarrow at a time in 1993. And the pickings were slim for pond accoutrements.

" At that time, there were no organisations in the area selling pond plants," says his better half, Betty Lou. "But now the market is genuine complete."

Mike Spencer, co-owner of Spencer's Lawn & Garden Centers, confirms that. He now stocks water plants and fish, and a fuller supply of liners, pumps and filters than he did a years ago.

Recently, Spencer has actually hosted a "build-a-pond" workshop for 50 individuals each year at his store at 4720 Center Valley Drive in Fountain. Because he's required to turn away so lots of individuals, next year he's expanding it to three workshops.

The products ended up being much more available and much much better," Spencer states. "And, as time has gone on, individuals are spending a lot more time in their yard.

Unlike some garden clubs, the Water Garden Society attracts its reasonable share of big guys. Bissonnette, a car mechanic, and a number of his accomplices like the building aspect of water gardening, together with the mechanics of pumps and filters, and the soothing benefit of watching fish swim.

" I prefer to think that I'm the building engineer, and she's the horticulturist," says Dick Williams, who likes his slick new filter and pump system that powers three ponds and 2 streams.

True enough, his partner enjoys the horticulture.

" I simply like the water plants," LaNell says. "The sound and the large beauty of the entire thing is another dimension from pots and flowers."

The Williamses have five ponds that hold about 7,700 gallons of water. They strongly advise beginners to dig a huge pond the very first time - otherwise they'll be doing it all once again in a couple of years.

" If he digs another hole, he much better enjoy out or he'll end up in it," LaNell states.

" She plays filthy," he states.

Once the building is done, water gardening requires less upkeep than flower beds in the dirt. The effort is available in the spring when you open the pond, and in the fall when you put it to bed. And, since the plants have all the water they want, they typically prosper and individuals discover themselves cutting them back and distributing additional plants.

" The work is more simply ripping stuff out due to the fact that it's growing too quickly," LaNell says. "I've handed out hundreds of plants this year."

Due to the fact that they can't think of just about anywhere much better than their own yard, the Williamses seldom go on summertime getaway any longer.

" You invest a lot of time just watching the silly fish," Dick says. "When pals visited, we typically wind up outside. It's calming and it's relaxing."

A stone-step waterfall cascades down into their big pond, and the noise of hurrying water lulls them to sleep during the night - together with the chitchat from their three resident bullfrogs.

" A water garden has a primal attraction," writes Dunn in "Water Gardening for the Southwest."

" Jarring sounds and interruptions slope. In a busy and distressed world, something as simple as a yard pond is a balm to the human spirit."


1. Develop your pond as large as you can. Water garden enthusiasts state you'll just end up broadening it in the future, so conserve yourself the time and cost and start huge. Plus, it's much easier to stabilize the community in a larger pond.

The very first step is to call your energy company to mark underground utilities in the lawn. Utilize a garden hose to sketch out the shape of your pond and let it sit for numerous days up until you're certain you like it. Read books, talk to local water gardeners and check out plants.

3. Select the right area. Make specific you can see the pond from the house and an outside sitting area such as a deck. Water plants need full sun, so make certain the spot gets six hours of direct sun. Do not put the pond under trees - the plants will suffer and the water will be cluttered with leaves or needles.

4. Keep it on the level. If your pond is not perfectly level, water is unforgiving. Hang out getting it best before the water enters.

Even without fish, utilizing filters might be a good concept to keep the water clear and healthy. Without them, you need to put mosquito killer in the water.

6. Hardy beats tropical. Hardy waterlilies are the stars of most water gardens in Colorado Springs (in addition to koi). Durable plants can be cut back and set deeper in the water where they will endure the winter season. Still, numerous garden enthusiasts try the lotus and tropical waterlilies, with varied success.

7. Be flexible. The preformed pond bottoms cost hardware shops are awfully restricting in size and depth, inning accordance with our pond professionals. They recommend versatile pond liners (typically EPDM), a minimum of 40 millimeters thick.

Heron and raccoon are both relentless insects to water garden enthusiasts, so you'll require to make some lodgings. Some gardeners trap and release raccoons; others construct little fences around the ponds to hinder the birds.

They require supervision near the water. Moms and dads might think about a more shallow pond, stair actions in the pond that make it easy to climb up out - or just waiting to construct it till the kids are larger.

10. Include water slowly. When your pond is filled, you will have to utilize a pipe to top it off about as soon as a week to counter evaporation. Add just a few inches at a time, or the chlorine might harm your fish and plants.

If you're client, the pond environment will ultimately discover balance. Water gardeners recommend UV sterilizers for more water clarity.

Sturdy waterlilies ought to cover about two-thirds of the water for pond health. Great minimal plants (in ground or water calling the pond) are arrowhead, bog bean, pickerel rush, water iris, marsh marigold, bull rush, variegated sweet flag, mini cattails and water celery.

SOURCES: Ron and Betty Lou Bissonnette, Dick and LaNell Williams, "Water Gardening for the Southwest"


Hosted by the Pikes Peak Water Garden Society Where: Street maps of the 12 houses included are offered for printing at www.ppwgs.org under the "Pond Tours" link. Printed map plans are available 8:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday and 8:30 a.m.-noon Sunday in the trainee car park of Wasson High School, 2115 Afton Way. When: Tours occur 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Expense: Free More information: Check out www.ppwgs.org, e-mail nofishing@qwest. call or net Betty Lou Bissonnette at 597-1504.

Dick and LaNell Williams feed their koi in a ring so the food doesn't get skimmed away by the pond's cleaner.

Dick Williams gave his spouse this statue for her birthday last year. It's named Keo Miles for the 2,000 miles he traveled to purchase it in Arkansas.

The Williamses have actually been water gardening for 11 years, beginning with LaNell seeing if she could grow water plants in a container. Now they have six ponds filled with fish and plants.

The sound of this waterfall in the Williamses' largest pond lulls them to sleep at night, as does the chatter from the bullfrogs the water brings in.

The 19 koi in their big pond are too big to be bothered by herons, but Dick and LaNell Williams have lost smaller fish to the predator.

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