water quality 3a

Koi pond in winter

Here it is December 9, 2013 and everyone is in the throes of preparing for Christmas. We tend to ignore our outside environment and focus on Christmas baking, shopping, and decorating. What about the pond?

If you do not live in the Phoenix Metropolitan area, here’s what our weather has been like. Highs during the day are in the mid-50’s. Since we live in a city adjacent to Phoenix our part of town is subject to freezing at night despite the fact that there may be no hard frost in the Phoenix downtown core. We have had about a half dozen nights of frost so far. For those of you who are dealing with snow, ice and really cold temperatures our weather seems wonderful and it is.

water quality 1a

Iris and lilies

water quality 2a

Gravel at pond bottom
Fish shelf









The pond is in semi-hibernation. The shade cover was taken down in the beginning of October. The tropical lilies no longer cover most of the surface water and what leaves they do produce are small. The pond’s Iris are thriving. The cold doesn’t bother them a bit and we look forward to their show of blooms in the spring. We spend the most time covering and uncovering the plants that landscape the pond area  — the palm trees (still relatively small), Lantana, Ruella and Verbena. The large Agave and the Yucca seem to do just fine uncovered.

When I staggered outside about 8 AM today the outside temperature was 37 degrees and the water temperature was 46 degrees. The water is cold but crystal clear. The external filter and the two waterfall filters are running and won’t be cleaned again until spring. No algae dare grow at this time of year! Later on in the day, usually about 2 or 3 o’clock, after the water has warmed, the Koi will come out from beneath the fish shelf. They seem to spend most of their time doing nothing – just lying in place with occasional foraging for some remaining algae. As long as the water is this cold we don’t feed them and they do just fine.

Nature has graciously cooperated with our busy human schedules. The Koi and the pond are quiet, husbanding their strength for the burst of new growth and activity that will surely occur in February leaving us free to enjoy the season.

© Joyce Clark, 2013

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