Archive for March, 2009

National Water Garden Group

March 30, 2009

We are just beginning to unveil some new ideas that wont be fully prepared until summer for   This week I will add the Facebook Water Garden Group and am preparing the Twitter, I dont intend on tweeting very often but will be doing so during some fun spring and summer events you may want to participate in!

The real “Fun” online applications will follow in May-July. For now since I never tell anyone on the phone or on the blog to feed the fish you can scroll down this page a little and feed our virtual fish on the right collumn. Just click around in the water and feed the goldfish, this is the only feeding that wont lead to more filtration devices and algae blooms. Enjoy!



The “OTHER” Butterfly in the Water Garden. . .

March 27, 2009
Butterfly Koi Feeding

Butterfly Koi Feeding

Butterfly Koi by Nancy G. deGarmeaux

     Some of the most beautiful fish you can add to your pond are butterfly koi.  Years ago, koi were crossed with Indonesian long finned carp, Kohaku and Showa, in Niigata, Japan. 

Metallic Butterfly Koi

Metallic Butterfly Koi

They were crossed to improve body shape.  Some of the offspring were unusual but not really desirable.  They stopped producing in 1993 due to unreliable results and poor reception in the marketplace.  Once the market was developed, they resumed production. 

     If you should purchase  butterfly koi for your pond, there are some key elements to remember.  The better the conditions in your pond, the better your fish will do.  Always feed your butterfly koi high quality food with little or no fillers.  You need a great filtration system for your pond. 

Red / Orange

Red / Orange

Bacteria and parasites are free-floating at some point in their life cycle and you will want a UV filter to kill these, as they are the culprits for fish kill in your pond.   

      Depending on the size of the butterfly koi you purchase and the size of your pond, your koi should reach  14″ to 15″ in length.  Under ideal conditions, 30″ to 36″ inches in length.  To reach jumbo size, all conditions must be ideal. 

The life span of your koi will depend on the conditions, ie feeding, filtration, pond size,  water quality,etc.  The oldest koi recorded were 70+ years.   A normal life span for your butterfly koi is 20+ years. 

     Butterfly koi are among the most beautiful fish you can add to your pond.   The colors are the same as regular koi but their tails and fins can really be unusual.  They gracefully swim in your pond and are beautiful to watch from any angle.  Blue Butterfly Koi

Your butterfly koi will look forward to being fed and they will watch for you and come  to the area of the pond you are feeding in giving you a front row seat to observe their coloration and “butterfly” fins and tails. 

     If you buy a $20.00 butterfly koi, it will be worth $200 a few years later! Enjoy!

Small Butterfly Fry

The SPRING Algae Bloom

March 26, 2009

feed3What causes algae blooms? Sometimes natural causes, runoff of nutrients from around the pond after a storm or rain. Most common culprit of Algae blooms is the pond owner him or her self.

Algae is the result of nutrients, sunlight, and water. As pond owners I never recommend algae products as it is a vicious cycle. A balanced ecosystem of plants and fish can lead to a simple pond to enjoy rather than fool with. The number 1 problem with water gardening is feeding the fish. Read on my friend…


Feeding fish before the water temperature is above 55 degrees is always a bad idea, in the winter fish go into a hibernation like stage. Their stomachs are inactive. Pellet or processed foods are dry and if fish eat them too early in the spring you can actually rupture a fish stomach as the food expands quickly inside the stomach and shortly after feeding your fish can go belly up.

Also before you plant plants in the spring you will foul the water by feeding the fish. Pond fish “NEVER” need to be fed. Yes every fish-food container will tell you to feed fish 2-3 times per day but take a second to figure out where they make there money. Fish can eat 10 times a day if you wish, they do this at fish farms. However this is normally too much waste for a pond and the extra waste produces a quick bloom of algae.

String Algae

String Algae

Fish including koi and goldfish naturally eat string algae and bug larvae and eggs keeping mosquitoes and nats to a minimum. Supplementing their natural diet not only stops that part of the natural ecosystem but adds to the nutrients for algae. Adding Submerged plants can highly reduce algae, hornwort, red star ludwigia, lemon bacopa, and anacharis all help starve algae and can even work in cooler water before floating plants like hyacinths and lettuce can takeover on the surface.

Welcome Spring…

March 22, 2009

     Friday spring officially arrived. She may just be sitting on the calendar as morning frost covers the ground again in the Midwest through the east. Colorado and Wyoming and across the northern half of the Midwest are preparing for snow. Not at all uncommon as Denver’s snowiest month is March.

      Next weekend it looks like cold air will again be shoved to northern Texas and snow  is a possibility as far south as Oklahoma City east to St. Lois and north to IL. All week I have been getting requests for order to be sent north for customers as far north as Michigan. When I ask if they will keep the plants inside customers tell me its 70 degrees today or yes in the Garage or greenhouse.

Normal Last Freeze Dates in the USA, proper planting is 7-14 days later.

Normal Last Freeze Dates in the USA, proper planting is 7-14 days later.

       This is common every year but I promise if you can hold out your plants will like you much better. Putting them in a cool or cold pond too early can stunt their growth, keep them dormant for up to 8 weeks. If my proper planting time is May 10th I would rather get my plants May 10th than April 15th, have them begin to go yellow in a garage and then wait until July before they begin bursting into bloom because they have been tricked into thinking it is fall. Our nurseries in Ohio are kept hot and in Florida are very hot. Going to lukewarm weather makes them think its geting cool (IE fall not spring). Having them arrive 2 weeks early they will stop flowering and growing when they get to yuor cool water or feel a few 38 degree nights. Or they begin yellowing indoors without enough direct sunlight. Love your plants, don’t ask for them too early. They are happy in their nice warm greenhouse. Just some advice. But yes we will send them now if you would like them.  

       Today’s blog is half a weather report. As a rule of thumb, I decided years ago its time to put pond plants in the week you plant tomatoes or annuals. The waters warm so much more slowly than the afternoon temperatures, especially below the surface of the water.

Shelf plants like Louisiana Iris start growing in early spring.

In the south spring flowers are probably starting to grow along the shelf as that is where the water will become warmer first, lilies and submerged plants begin growing a little later. Soon spring Louisiana Iris and Marsh marigolds will be in bloom.

The New Battle stations, Part one

March 13, 2009

        Loads of training, preparation and installation of the new North offices in Canton Ohio are almost finished. Thanks so much to Steve Mears for all his help and influence over the fall and winter months, a very good man. Some pictures of the new offices we have built for the new phone service people are included below. My dad and I built the new desks last August and they are working wonderfully.

       This year when you call you will be speaking with Zac (myself), Ruth, Maryanne, Pat, or Nancy. There are four phone lines in the new building and if we are all on the phone like last year, leave a quick message and we will call you right back or zip us an e-mail with your best contact time and we will call you back then. If you have questions on building the pond e-mail me and we can set up a longer phone call for a morning or evening one on one, the phone lines just get to jammed to answer all the nitty gritty questions during peak hours. I have shortened our order line hours a bit this year to leave more time for one on one phone calls for help on nights and weekends.

Zac's new workstation

Zac's new workstationWith few windows, my office gets water lily photos from our two lily nurseries. From left to right we have Crystal (white), Barbara Barnett (autumn), Gypsy (red, hardy), Then and amazing Victoria Lily next to a Madame Ganna Walska cut off on the far right. In another two weeks every square inch of the wall in front of that desk will be covered in papers and post-it notes. I never said my work station wasn't messy. On the desk is our RCA 4 line phone system, same one we used last year and I tell you it is fun to page the other office to make an announcement. If you want to know what water garden books I am reading zip me an e-mail sometime. Next we have part of the break area, gotta have a half size fridge with the full size to fit all the horrible food we eat in the summer. The ladies (Ruth, Pat, and Maryanne are good cooks but good bakers too... that leads to bad food all summer).Breakroom, Nancy's whoppers in front of framed 2008 April catalog!

Since we are not at the nursery we like to look at the nursery.
I will be adding my pictures of the two
nurseries here in the next couple weeks. Some of them already exist I think down on the Miami Rose water lily post.
I want to show you the plants, growing process and what you will be getting this season. We have great new plants, some good new product.
We are going to carry the pitcher plants outside the collections this year. We have plenty so I don’t think we are going to run out like in years past, if we begin to get low I will keep the blog updated.
Specials will be posted and you can check out pond megastore’s “plants & shipping information” page to see our new snail boxes shipped in coolers for safer delivery, I never got the picture up last year.


...New artwork, 2008 April catalog on file cabinet, The March Catalog is framed in Ruths office...

The coolers are only for orders of 40 or more snails or tadpoles as fewer than that does not make any sense to ship due to overnight shipping costs. Smaller orders will be available until warm weather in late may without coolers and without overnight shipping.
Plenty of new fish this year, we will have lion heads, black moors, orandas, gold orfs, fancy-tail shubunkins, butterfly koi, sarasa coments, fantails, and regular koi just to get you excited. Call for availability if the fish you are looking for is not listed, we will be able to mix and match per each box.
Nancy's office! She loves the coffee so she's got a brand new cuisinart...nice. She doesnt have one of the 26" monitors though just a 17".

Nancy's office! She loves the coffee so she's got a brand new cuisinart...nice. She doesnt have one of the 26" monitors though just a 17".

To the left is Nancy’s office with smaller photos, the center picture is of the bog plants in the Florida Nursery. The three frames on the far left are from the April catalog from 2008 when we introduced the pink rain lilies, yellow mokey flower, and a few other plants we sold out of by June!

The lilies on the lower level second from the left are Clyde Ikins, even overcrowded they are the best blooming hardy lilies I have ever seen. Not my favorite hardy but one that outperforms. The white hardy lilies next to the center bog plants on the top are moondance. They have magnificent centers that look like no other. You cannot really tell this far from the wall and shrunk but I will post more lilies on here soon.
We had some fun picking what pictures to put up on our walls so I thought I would show you the first two offices. I will take some pictures of the other office and board room with us sitting in them later this week .  I hope to have our 2009 shirts in soon so maybe we can wear those instead of last years. I hope you enjoy the post and yes I have seen the copycat blog that seems to follow everything we do. I am sure in a few days they will need to put a picture of their office up too… It’s too funny to see she cannot come up with her own ideas.  I kind of enjoy making her spend money so lets see if I can find something more expensive for her this time.

Sacred Lotus

March 1, 2009
Crystal Beauty Lotus (Availabe Apr-Jun)

Crystal Beauty Lotus (Availabe Apr-Jun)

by Nancy G. deGarmeaux;   Of all the plants you can choose for your water garden or pond, the lotus is truly the aristocrat!  The American Lotus is one of the most striking plants on the planet.   Most of the round, Lily pad like shaped leaves stand high above the water, while the remaining leaves float on or just above it.  The flowers are in shades of  white, pink, yellow and red.   Some with single blooms and some double like the Momo Botan. 

Chawan Basu Lotus (Available Apr-Jun)

Chawan Basu Lotus (Available Apr-Jun)

All lotus are free flowering, once established.  The leaves of the lotus are pale to medium green with a waxy-like satin finish.  The seed pods are unusual when dried and can be used in dried flower arrangements. Lotus’ need soil to root in and can be started in shallow containers or ponds.  Lotus plants are rapid spreaders  and must be confined as to not crowd out other plants.   The lotus plant is revered throughout Southern and South-central Asia.  You will see the “Sacred Lotus” mo-tiff on everything from architecture to embroidery.  Some of the lotus you can enjoy in your garden this year are  Rosy Clouds (red/pink), Perry’s Giant Sunburst (yellow), Empress (white w/tinged pink) and my very favorite, Pekinensis Rubra (red).  I hope you enjoy your water garden this year–remember to be a little adventuresome and try putting the “Sacred Lotus” in a special corner of your pond!                      NGdeG