Archive for the ‘About Zac, Blog Manager’ Category

National Water Garden Group

March 30, 2009

We are just beginning to unveil some new ideas that wont be fully prepared until summer for Water-Garden-Blog.com   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!

water-garden-blog-follow

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.

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...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.
 

New Beginnings!

February 5, 2009

  The new plant species are coming together. Look for them soon. The new design of this blog is coming together and I hope will be up by the 20th of February.

I spent about 9 days to visit with my parents, sister-in-law,  niece and nephew and was  without the internet for the last  few days in January. Yesterday, I had a good hour and a half meeting with a friend who will be one of the ladies operating some of the phones in the office.  Beginning around Mid March, when taking orders becomes a day to day operation,  I  may begin posting emails from customers with my answers , as many questions and answers are common and we spend hundreds of hours each year answering them. Hopefully,  the posts will cut down on common questions.

We do have 4 phone lines, more to take orders than questions. The average order takes 15 minutes, that means some take 4 minutes, some take 35 based on questions.

We do have 4 phone lines, more to take orders than questions. The average order takes 15 minutes, that means some take 4 minutes, some take 35 based on questions.

We have four phone lines here in the office, and each spring,  when it gets really crazy and all the lines are busy we get voicemails asking us why we are not answering the phones.  We will be working as fast as we can to place orders and answer questions.  We look forward to hearing from you!

emailing us questions is so much easier for us to answer back and forth and you can include images as can we!

emailing us questions is so much easier for us to answer back and forth and you can include images as can we!

E-mailing us is often an easier way to get questions answered, many of you like attaching photos with your questions which gives you more of an opportunity to ask your entire question or all your questions and we can respond back and forth as long as it takes. For us it is easier to email back and forth when there are breaks in phone calls during the day and also early in the morning and in the evening as we are closing. I can guarantee you, we will spend more time corresponding with you with better information no matter if you are a retail customer, nursery vendor, or landscape contractor new to installing water gardens.

Introducing the Water Garden Blog

December 7, 2008

Welcome to the Water Garden Blog, my name is Zac deGarmeaux and I have been a water gardener since I believe the summer of 1991. Only a youngster with a love for gardening and fascination with water and fish I bought my first water lily as a tuber from a pet store.

With a few goldfish and a poorly built pond of probably only 100 gallons at the time I embarked on my first water gardening experience. My mother and I built the pond in a single day while my father was at work as he would not have permitted this idea.

At the time we did not know much, the rocks were scraped together from various places and I think we used a grey tarp as a liner because there was no place to buy liner in our are in 1991. Upon returning home my father was introduced to our quick one day project and was not extraordinarily happy but was not upset either. Soon after the original pond (truly it was not what I would call a water garden as there needs to be plants in a garden, we had 1 water lily from a fish tank and I don’t think it was properly planted) was completed my dad asked me if I wanted to make it look a little better, I could read up on the subject and he and I would take his truck to a local creek for better rocks (northern panhandle of West Virginia has wonderful creek rock) and then we would “redo” the pond a little better.

I was ecstatic, I would much rather have something amazing, like with a waterfall than the little pond we scurried together over a few hours. I raced to the library and got every book they had, which wasn’t much. I think I watched a video or saw a program on TV. I had the opportunity to build the ultimate pond, just like the incredible ones in the photos of the books and on TV, this time with plants and a waterfall. I began ordering all the free catalogs, and sometimes paid catalogs from the back of books and magazines. Lilypons, Perry Slocum, and Van Ness Water Gardens, and fish hatcheries like Zetts in Pennsylvania. At the time catalog ordering was the only place to find these items. The following spring I had everything planned out for the ultimate pond, there was no way Id get the chance again I thought so its gotta be great. I had laid out plans for a two tier pond with a waterfall into the first pond and creek/stream between the two. The top pond was all shallow probably eight inches deep and the bottom pond was probably 400 gallons about 20 inches deep at the deepest part. My dad’s friend Bo Tribbet and his family had a pond before I and I think that is what started my fascination. The fish and plants, he had great koi and water lilies and provided me with some.

The second building of the now two tier pond was a thousand times better though not great at all by today’s standards (it is my experience about 90% of water garden growers go through is process of bigger & better ponds at a minimum of 3 times before they are happy or use up all available room in the area of the pond.

On to year three, I was again unhappy and new this could be better, neighbors were very interested in the second pond and my dad having been a big part of the restructure did not mind me working on the pond the following spring as he enjoyed the daily interest of people asking 100 questions. I raised the original bed of the top pond, enlarged it, completely landscaped it and it became a great upper pond falling now about 24inches down a waterfall into pond 2. I now found local (if you can call neighboring states local) water garden outlets. Trickers in Independence Ohio and Lily Blooms a little closer to home but still a trip. I went and visited the sites once or twice a year picking out many new species of pond plants and having fun with the Annuals. I will never forget my first Tropical water lilies, the Leopardess or first night bloomer the Antares. So many people all these years later have still not ventured into annual water lilies. For $25-$30 it is no more than a great hanging basket or two flats of flowers. The blooms are 100 times as amazing as the perinnial water lilies and you should have one or more of these lilies in your pond each spring.

Over the next few year neighbors began asking me to install water gardens in their yards. This mean more trips to Ohio and plenty of people to talk about my new hobby.

Before I left home for college I added a third pond to my parents home and spent the last few years basically running a water garden department of a local pet store and water gardening had really taken off.

In college about two hours away in Ohio I got a summer job at Lily Blooms, the water garden store and spent the rest of my spare time installing ponds and fixing leaks or completely redoing ponds for people in Canton Ohio and surrounding areas.

After graduating from College I began managing Pond Megastore, a national distributor of water garden plants, water lilies, pond fish and supplies. They began a website in 2005 and have broadened a market of selling a huge class of pond plants, pond snails, and hybrid newly developed water lilies from Florida to Virginia, and through Ohio. Water lilies can now be sent to any home in America. This conglomeration of six water garden facilities joined together to distribute the largest selection of quality grown pond plants in the world.

     I stopped installing water gardens completely and we focused on working with the growers and developers of aquatic plant species. As I work with customers today I find it still upsetting that so much knowledge about the “garden” aspect is lost. Many landscapers seemingly know nothing about water gardens. They install quick ponds with large sandstone (warning cheap and will eventually crush like sand in cold climates) and big pumps that make a short term impressive waterfall but lack any instruction of water plants or water lilies. They even tell customers plants cause algae when the exact opposite is true.

Landscapers also tell people not to plant aquatic species in soil. This too is untrue and we can dive deeper in future posts. I hope to get into some deep discussions on the water gardening subjects and introduce some in depth analysis into some amazing plants you may only see in botanical gardens but I will be more than glad to show you these can easily be grown in your backyard.