Water Craft

The midday sun shows off a 15-by-20-foot pond that extends throughout a rural backyard. The blue of the sky is mirrored by the water, while a couple of lots koi sweep about below the surface - flashes of orange, yellow, black and white move by. They dance in between the waterlilies, the plants' round leaves sitting delicately on the water's surface as blooms of pink and yellow open to consume in the sunlight.

" This is our play area," states Dick Williams, as he and his partner, LaNell, conceal 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 tour hosted by the Pikes Peak Water Garden Society. The tour draws as many as 1,500 gawkers when the weather cooperates, and the society has grown to more than 250 members, signs of the popularity of water gardening in the region.

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

That's right, water gardening. Strange as it appears, building a giant water function in the backyard may be the best way to conserve water.

" Though it might sound counter-intuitive, it has been shown that an area offered over to a water garden consumes less water than the exact same ground covered with yard or ground-covering plants - by some price quotes, only one-tenth as much," states the book "Water Gardening for the Southwest," by Teri Dunn.

Building your own pond is much easier than it used to be, thanks to advances in devices and a larger accessibility of water plants. If you do the work yourself, Club members state you can construct a big 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 carrying 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 companies in the area selling pond plants," states his wife, Betty Lou. "But now the marketplace is genuine complete."

Mike Spencer, co-owner of Spencer's Lawn & Garden Centers, validates 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 shop at 4720 Center Valley Drive in Fountain. Because he's required to turn away so many individuals, next year he's expanding it to three workshops.

" In outside living, it's certainly the most popular segment right now. The items ended up being a lot more much and readily available much better," Spencer states. "And, as time has actually gone on, people are investing a lot more time in their yard. Individuals do great deals of outside amusing in their houses."

Unlike some garden clubs, the Water Garden Society attracts its reasonable share of burly men. Bissonnette, an automobile mechanic, and a lot of his cohorts like the building aspect of water gardening, in addition to the mechanics of pumps and filters, and the soothing benefit of enjoying fish swim.

" I prefer to think that I'm the building engineer, and she's the gardener," states Dick Williams, who likes his slick brand-new filter and pump system that powers 3 ponds and 2 streams.

Real enough, his partner enjoys the gardening.

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

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

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

" She plays filthy," he states.

check my site Once the construction is done, water gardening needs less upkeep than flower beds in the dirt. The tough work is available in the spring when you open up the pond, and in the fall when you put it to bed. And, due to the fact that the plants have all the water they want, they generally grow and individuals discover themselves cutting them back and giving away additional plants.

" The work is more just ripping things out because it's growing too quickly," LaNell says. "I've distributed hundreds of plants this year."

The Williamses hardly ever go on summertime vacation any longer because they can't believe of just about anywhere better than their own backyard.

" You invest a great deal of time just seeing the wacky fish," Dick says. "When pals come over, we generally wind up outside. It's relaxing and it's relaxing."

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

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

" Jarring sounds and interruptions slope. In a hectic and troubled world, something as basic as a backyard pond is a balm to the human spirit."


Construct your pond as large as you can. Water garden enthusiasts state you'll simply end up expanding it in the future, so save yourself the time and expenditure and start huge.

2. Plan thoroughly. The first step is to call your energy company to mark underground energies in the yard. This will inform you exactly what shape is possible. Then utilize a garden hose to sketch out the shape of your pond and let it sit for numerous days up until you're particular you like it. Read books, speak to local water garden enthusiasts and check out plants. THEN begin digging.

Water plants require full sun, so make sure the area gets 6 hours of direct sun. Do not put the pond under trees - the plants will suffer and the water will be cluttered with needles or leaves.

4. Keep it on the level. Water is unforgiving if your pond is not completely level. Spend time getting it right prior to the water goes in.

5. Fish require filters. Even without fish, utilizing filters may be an excellent concept to keep the water healthy and clear. Fish consume mosquito larvae. Without them, you should put mosquito killer in the water.

Durable waterlilies are the stars of a lot of water gardens in Colorado Springs (along with koi). Sturdy plants can be cut back and set deeper in the water where they will endure the winter season.

The preformed pond bottoms sold at hardware shops are awfully limiting in size and depth, according to our pond professionals. They recommend flexible pond liners (typically EPDM), at least 40 millimeters thick.

8. Be prepared for predators. Heron and raccoon are both persistent pests to water gardeners, so you'll need to make some lodgings. Some gardeners trap and release raccoons; others construct small fences around the ponds to hinder the birds.

They require guidance near the water. Moms and dads might consider a more shallow pond, stair steps in the pond that make it easy to climb out - or just waiting to construct it up until the kids are larger.

Include water gradually. When your pond is filled, you will need to utilize a hose to top it off about when a week to counter evaporation.

If you're patient, the pond ecosystem will eventually find balance. Water gardeners recommend UV sterilizers for more water clearness.

12. Plant concepts. Durable waterlilies should cover about two-thirds of the water for pond health. Excellent minimal plants (in ground or water ringing the pond) are arrowhead, bog bean, pickerel rush, water iris, marsh marigold, bull rush, variegated sweet flag, miniature cattails and water celery. Make it the Mrs. Perry D. Slocum lotus if you want to try a lotus.

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 homes featured are readily available 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 student parking area of Wasson High School, 2115 Afton Way. When: Tours happen 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Expense: Free More information: Check out www.ppwgs.org, e-mail nofishing@qwest. net or call Betty Lou Bissonnette at 597-1504.

Cock and LaNell Williams feed their koi in a ring so the food does not get skimmed away by the pond's cleaner.

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

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

The noise of this waterfall in the Williamses' largest pond lulls them to sleep during the night, as does the chatter from the bullfrogs the water attracts.

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

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