This week’s guest writer is Mary Creech. Mary is a South Carolina Master Gardener and a Floral Designer. Her articles have appeared in magazines and Master Gardener newsletters statewide. This article first appeared in the Midlands Master Gardener Association newsletter in April 2008.-Anne K Moore
MY BACKYARD POND
Mary Creech, Lexington County Master Gardener
Photograph Anne K Moore
I seem to have come from a family that has “fish” dreams! My Dad had a dream of having a big pond stocked with fish so that he could get into a boat and go fishing anytime he could get away. He and my Mom built a house in the country and had a pond built as well. He realized his dream and spent many hours pursuing his favorite hobby. (I don’t care about fishing, but I surely enjoyed eating the fish that he caught.)
My dreams were about fish too, but on a much smaller scale. I always yearned for a secret garden with a small fish pond and a hammock close by so I could just relax and watch pretty fish. I realized my dream a few years back when one of our sons was coerced into digging a hole for our pond in our secret garden. (No easy task in our clay and rocks.)
He dug it about three feet deep, seven feet long and six feet wide. We then lined it with a heavy plastic liner from a home improvement center, filled it with water and let it stand for a few days before we bought our fish.
We had an old hand pump from husband Charles’ grandmother’s house. He rigged it with a mechanical pump and filter so that the water circulates and spills over. We also bought a special ultraviolet light that keeps algae from building up in the water. We have some black dye that we put into the water---it takes just a little to color the water slightly so that the mechanics of the filter and pump don’t show. And just like in the low country swamps, it gives the water that mysterious “deep” look.
We have about eight fish. We have had to replenish only once when the raccoon came calling. We have to clean out the pond every spring because we have lots of trees with pinestraw and leaves. Also the liner gets a little nasty, so we take everything out and start over. We’re always surprised to see how much the fish have grown, since they hide under the leaves in the winter.
If you have always wanted a fish pond as I did, it’s a very doable thing and something the whole family can enjoy. Our youngest grandson is five years old and he loves to come around and feed the fish. His great-grandfather would be proud.
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August is one of the most popular months for families to fit in one last summer vacation before school begins. Though your garden may be the last thing on your mind as you busily prepare for your trip, it really does need some attention too. Do yourself and your garden a favor by completing these ten tasks before you leave.
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