Water Craft

The midday sun shows off a 15-by-20-foot pond that extends across a rural yard. The blue of the sky is mirrored by the water, while a few lots koi flit about below the surface - flashes of orange, yellow, white and black glide by. They dance in between the waterlilies, the plants' round leaves sitting delicately on the water's surface area as blooms of pink and yellow available to drink in the sunshine.

" This is our playground," says Dick Williams, as he and his spouse, LaNell, hide from the summertime heat in the shade of their aspen trees, and watch 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. The trip draws as many as 1,500 gawkers when the weather cooperates, and the society has grown to more than 250 members, signs of the appeal of water gardening in the region.

Wait one cotton-picking minute, you might be believing: Did you state water gardening? Here in Colorado Springs, the land of water restrictions and dry spell?

That's right, water gardening. Odd as it appears, constructing a huge water feature in the yard might be the best method to save water.

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

Structure your own pond is much easier than it utilized to be, thanks to advances in devices and a broader availability of water plants. If you do the work yourself, Club members say you can construct a big pond for less than $1,000.

It's not a cinch. Ron Bissonnette, vice president of the Pikes Peak Water Garden Society, remembers 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 services in town selling pond plants," says his spouse, Betty Lou. "But now the market is real 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 decade back.

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. Since he's forced to turn away so many people, next year he's expanding it to three workshops.

The products became much more offered and much much better," Spencer states. "And, as time has gone on, people are spending a lot more time in their yard.

Unlike some garden clubs, the Water Garden Society attracts its fair share of burly guys. Bissonnette, a vehicle mechanic, and much of his cohorts like the building and construction element of water gardening, in addition to the mechanics of filters and pumps, and the calming reward of enjoying fish swim.

" I like to believe 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 two streams.

True enough, his other half enjoys the horticulture.

" I just love the water plants," LaNell says. "The noise and the large beauty of the entire thing is another measurement from flowers and pots."

The Williamses have 5 ponds that hold about 7,700 gallons of water. They strongly advise beginners to dig a big pond the very first time - otherwise they'll be doing it all again in a few years.

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

" She plays unclean," he states.

hop over to this site Once the building and construction is done, water gardening requires less maintenance than flower beds in the dirt. The hard work comes in the spring when you open up the pond, and in the fall when you put it to bed. And, since the plants have all the water they desire, they normally grow and individuals discover themselves cutting them back and distributing additional plants.

" The work is more just ripping stuff out since it's growing too fast," LaNell states. "I've handed out hundreds of plants this year."

Since they cannot think of anywhere better than their own yard, the Williamses rarely go on summer season vacation any longer.

" You invest a great deal of time just enjoying the wacky fish," Dick states. "When pals come by, we usually wind up outside. It's calming and it's unwinding."

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

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

" Jarring sounds and distractions drop away. In a hectic and troubled world, something as basic as a yard pond is a balm to the human spirit."


1. Develop your pond as big as you can. Water garden enthusiasts say you'll just end up expanding it in the future, so save yourself the time and expense and begin big. Plus, it's much easier to balance the community in a bigger pond.

The first action is to call your utility company to mark underground utilities in the lawn. Use a garden tube to sketch out the shape of your pond and let it sit for a number of days up until you're specific you like it. Read books, talk to local water gardeners and check out plants.

Water plants require full sun, so make sure the spot gets six hours of direct sun. Don't put the pond under trees - the plants will suffer and the water will be littered with leaves or needles.

Water is unforgiving if your pond is not completely level. Invest time getting it ideal prior to the water goes in.

5. Fish need filters. Even without fish, using filters might be a great concept to keep the water clear and healthy. Fish consume mosquito larvae. Without them, you must put mosquito killer in the water.

6. Hardy beats tropical. Hardy waterlilies are the stars of most water gardens in Colorado Springs (together with koi). Also, sturdy plants can be cut back and set deeper in the water where they will make it through the winter season. Still, many gardeners attempt the lotus and tropical waterlilies, with diverse success.

7. Be flexible. The preformed pond bottoms cost hardware shops are very restricting in size and depth, inning accordance with our pond professionals. They advise flexible pond liners (typically EPDM), at least 40 millimeters thick.

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

They need supervision near the water. Parents may think about a more shallow pond, stair steps in the pond that make it easy to climb up out - or just waiting to build it till the kids are bigger.

10. Add water gradually. Once your pond is filled, you will have to use a hose to top it off about when a week to counter evaporation. However include just a couple of inches at a time, or the chlorine could damage your fish and plants.

If you're patient, the pond community will eventually discover balance. Water gardeners advise UV sterilizers for more water clearness.

Sturdy waterlilies should cover about two-thirds of the water for pond health. Good limited plants (in ground or water ringing 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 homes included are readily available for printing at www.ppwgs.org under the "Pond Tours" link. Printed map packages are readily available 8:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday and 8:30 a.m.-noon Sunday in the trainee parking lot of Wasson High School, 2115 Afton Way.

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

Dick Williams offered his spouse this statue for her birthday in 2015. It's named Keo Miles for the 2,000 miles he took a trip to purchase it in Arkansas.

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

The sound of this waterfall in the Williamses' biggest pond lulls them to sleep in the evening, as does the chatter from the bullfrogs the water draws in.

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

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