Posted by: Brenda Kula | May 7, 2008

Rainy Days And Handy Men


This is what I woke up to yesterday. I finally found some aquatic fertilizer at Home Depot the other day. Less than 48 hours after putting the tablet fertilizer in the pot, I had this bloom.


Raindrops on water lilies!

This is what else looks lovely in my garden pond.



Otherwise, I’m trying to save what’s left of my mind as workers mill about my house, painting and laying down floors and trying to figure out where water is leaking. I’m beginning to think our house is either built over ancient Indian burial grounds, or it is a cousin of the Amityville Horror. Either way, maybe it’s haunted. Or, if I want to be truly imaginative and look on a more positive side, maybe our house is just sitting on top of oil that would make us millionaires, like Jed Clampett of the Beverly Hillbillies. (For those of you who are old enough to remember that television show.)

But then, even if we got that lucky, the house really would be in disarray!

Speaking of ponds, I’ve been researching pond data. Here is some of the information I’ve come up with:

If you want a bog container, or some such water feature in your yard, and worry about mosquitos, what can you do? You can add a few small goldfish to the container. If you don’t want fish, add a drop of cooking oil to the water every couple of weeks. This creates a film over the water surface, it seems, which is harmless to plants. But it prevents mosquito larvae from coming up for air. I loved that information. I will surely remember that.

If you have excessive algae, which I had earlier this spring, it can be caused by too little competition. You should introduce other plants to keep algae from gobbling up all the oxygen and nutrients. Your problem could also be too much sunlight. So add more floating plants to shade the pond. Another reason could be too many nutrients available. So avoid regular potting soil or fertilizers for pond plants. It leaches excessive nutrients into the water. Instead, use soil especially made for aquatic gardens and slow-release aquatic plant food. I did not realize this until now, so will have to do this myself.

Violet, from Lady Greenthumb’s Garden, and I have been conversing via internet for weeks over excessive algae. I had taken all my plants out, thinking that was the problem. Instead, I was creating one. Also, in the springtime, it apparently takes a little while for your pond to achieve the appropriate balance. So while I was out there scrubbing the sides of the pond with a kitchen sponge (yes, I threw it away) trying to get rid of the algae, I could have been sitting in a chair and being more patient. And letting nature take care of itself!

A sense of stability is what keeps your water garden balanced and low-maintenance. You do this by planting, stocking and maintaining the various elements in proportions that ecologically support one another and help control algae growth.

A true ecosystem relies on active bacteria to provide biological filtration, and organic waste that would otherwise become stuff at the bottom of your pond is broken down into nutrients for the aquatic plants.

A balanced water garden contains relatively clear water. But it also allows some algae to exist for the benefit of the other inhabitants. In a healthy pond, you should be able to see your hand about one foot below the water surface.

Class dismissed.



  1. I love your yellow water lily. I wish I had a pond.

  2. Very informative — you’ve done your homework! Your pond looks lush and beautiful. (Good luck with the leak…perhaps you’re sitting atop the fountain of youth. If so, bottle some and send it my way…)

  3. Hi Brenda,
    Beautiful waterlily there!

    Yes, this was a learning experience, but a fun one. My husband’s always wanted some kind of water feature or pond… I’ll have to have him take a look.

    All else I can say is – Black gold, Texas tea, swimming pools and movie stars… Oh yeah, and Jethro and the cement pond 😉

  4. Good stuff on the bog garden, Brenda. I really need to give this a try–as soon as I find the perfect container. It’s encouraging that I don’t HAVE to have all the filtration and bubbling stuff.

    Do your goldfish overwinter?

    Robin at Bumblebee

  5. Handymen are sure good to have, but I do tire of them when they’ve stayed too long.

    Good info about the ponds. If I ever want a water feature, I’ll come back to this post.~~Dee

  6. LOVELY!!

    None of my waterlilies have bloomed yet. They probably need feeding too. Oh well. This year, I just want to get the three new water gardens established.

  7. Beautiful water lily! And your other plants look so healthy. Must be the gardener. 🙂

  8. I love your water plants. My water lilly just started to grow. I also have a lotus that just started growing too. They don’t bloom for a while yet. I have had the algae thing too but it does work itself out eventually. My fish love it anyhow(-:

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