It has been 17 years and 217 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

I haven’t done an update on the pond in awhile and it seemed like a good time to share how it and the Koi are doing. It’s early August and HOT. I was in the pond last week doing some trimming and cleanup work with the pond plants. Surprisingly, the water is much cooler than the ambient air temperature and the fish seem to enjoy it.

The pond in August

The pond in August

I am convinced that the shade cover is doing its job. The shade cover, the UV light, the barley bale and a very occasional dose of Algae Fix are keeping the algae down considerably. I’ve blogged about the shade cover and the UV light previously but I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned the barley bale or the use of Algae Fix.

A year ago I ordered 2 barley bales online for about $40. I didn’t realize they would last as long as they have. It took a year to use up one barley bale. The purpose of the barley is that it

Spring Spider Lily

Spring Spider Lily

retards algae formation. I take a mesh laundry bag (you can get them at a Dollar store for $1 each), fill it with barley straw and then insert it all into a second mesh bag. Add a string for easy retrieval and anchor the string around a rock. At first the barley mesh bag floats for about a week. Eventually it gets water logged and sinks to the bottom. As the barley decomposes it releases a natural chemical that retards algae development. The barley will virtually disappear over time. When the bag is empty I pull it and refill. I use barley in Arizona in the spring, summer and fall.

As for the Algae Fix I use it sparingly. In May the algae went wild and I was hand pulling pounds of it out of the pond daily. Yes, daily. I finally realized that I would need to use something to get a handle on the algae situation. I used the Algae Fix every 3 days as directed over two weeks. The algae disappeared considerably…not all of it but a good 80%. In July I started to put a cup in once a week and it has kept it under control. I still hand pull algae but not every day and not in the copious quantities I had been pulling.

I have tried to grow Lotus in the pond with absolutely no luck. First I got some Lotus seeds. I successfully got them to sprout, waited for them to grow and

gain strength. I then planted them in pots and set them in the pond. Every plant died. I have no clue as to why. I then ordered two Lotus plants and potted them this spring. Guess what? They died as well. I guess this pond is never destined to enjoy Lotus. I also ordered two Spider Lilly plants. They have done well and bloomed this spring.

The lilies are all blooming…yellow ones, blue ones, red ones and peach ones. As I write this I realize that I have no white lilies. Hmmm, maybe next spring. Our Snowflake plants have small, white flowers and grow like weeds. I find

Lillies and more lillies

Lillies and more lillies

culling Snowflake and Water Lettuce all the time. Both plants are very, very prolific and would take over the pond if I let them. The same can be said for Yerba Manza and my Taro plants. I finally ripped out the Yerba Manza but there is still one patch left that I will dispose of. The Taro has multiplied and now resides in two spots in the pond. The Iris is finished for the year and I have cut the leaves back so that they don’t obstruct the view within the pond.

Even though temperatures are soaring in Arizona the pond is happy and healthy and so are the Koi. We still sit outside every evening after dinner, feed the Koi and enjoy their antics. The pond has given us countless hours of enjoyment and well worth our investment.

© Joyce Clark, 2015


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