Posts Tagged ‘pond plants’

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…

feed2

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.

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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.
 

Madame Ganna Walska – Water Lily 4.5 of 5 stars

January 18, 2009

Madame Ganna Walska, another over-performing water lily just like the Miami Rose but with a wonderful, much softer  lavender flower. Many blooms at one time and incredible foliage. Green pads with some motteling. A great water garden plant. Offered since 1999  this is a top performer. 4.5  out of 5 stars!  

Pond Megastore

 

This lily likes at least five hours of sunshine  and shallow water, 4 inches to 24 inches. The more shallow and warm,  the more blooms per day. Fertilize heavily 2 tabs once or twice per month. Blooms heavily until frost.

This lily attracts butterflies and has a nice scent as a cut flower.  Grows quickly in water above 65 degrees. 

Winter Hardy in zones 9-11

Size: Medium

MIAMI ROSE, my favorite water lily, we have brought to the homeowners market to date!

January 18, 2009

Miami Rose. In 2008 I declared this my favorite water lily to date.  I intend on showing you some new varieties that have just been hybridized that  we will be bringing to the mass market in 2010,  that may surpass this. There are NEW reds and purples that I cannot wait to show you this summer that are not available to anyone yet, you find them here first!

Zac's Favorite Water Lily to date! Miami Rose. Intense, long lasting, mottled foliage!

Zac's Favorite Water Lily to date! Miami Rose. Intense, long lasting, mottled foliage!

Miami Rose,  brought to market in 1999. A amazing cultivar from Florida Aquatic Nurseries (you will notice as you read through each species the same names over and over, its not that I just have favorite water lily developers it is more that there are so few people and companies that specialize in this and every generation has many developed species. The Annual or Tropical varieties will have many species developed by William Tricker from the late 1800s to early 1900s and then much more development by Craig Presnell of Luster Aquatics and Brad McLane of Florida Aquatic Nurseries from the 1980s-2000s. It seems like mainly winter hardy lilies were hybridized between the 1930s and 1980.)  

The Miami Rose is amazing from its intense blossoms and vibrant color to its heavily mottle purple foliage. The pads are lined and specked heavily with purple and teased with dark green patters inside the purple. I love showing people who have never seen anything but common, sometimes boring yellow or white hardy lilies with green pads something like the Miami Rose.  Once you go to the tropical lilies I don’t think you can ever come back! To me hardy water lilies have become boring except for a few species (I like Clyde Ikins for its ability to bloom no matter what, pink grapefruit is amazing, and the deeper reds like black princess hold a special place in my heart). Why no distributor is in love with the Annual water lilies is astonishing to me! Gardeners love annuals, they are the spice and flavor of a garden. There is nothing difficult about growing the annuals in any part of the 48 continental states or Hawaii. They bloom much more than hardy lilies, come in intense wonderful colors, have unbelievable pads, and few have ever seen these plants. They are not found at Wal Mart and I do not suggest they attempt to sell these as boxed roots as they do other species.

Tank of Miami Rose from the side, underside are specked with purple while heavily striped on top.

Tank of Miami Rose from the side, underside are specked with purple while heavily striped on top.

 Plant in a 2 to 5 gallon container with heavy loam soil. Fertilize heavily, loves sunshine and warm water. Plant when constantly above 75 degrees in late spring. Water temp must be in the 60s no 40 degree nights. The more shallow the more warm your water and more blooms you will get!

Rated as a perfect 5 or 5. Miami Rose is a award winning champion water lily. An over-achiever in the water garden.

On another note off topic. Funny but terrible story from 2008. Recently I began writing some generalized tips to include in a water garden newsletter I hope to get out this Summer.  Note for those of you who don’t know me I only get about 1 in 10 ideas finished and out the door on Water Gardening. I have found that if I dedicate a large sum of money into projects I am more likely to nurture them. Last summer we sent out 3 mailings which I am not sure bring in many new customers and they cost us around $23,000 with printing and mailing costs. The first two we spent months putting together and the third we threw together in about 4 days and it was a little shorter but the best of the 3. However we printed the wrong phone number on the first page of that catalog (inside front cover). Luckily the correct phone number was on every one of the rest of the pages however after Miami Rose. In 2008 I declared this my favorite water lily to date. Though I intend on showing you some new varieties that have just been hybridized we will be bringing to the mass market in 2010 that may surpass this. There are NEW reds and Purples that I cannot wait to show you this summer that are not available to anyone yet, you find them here first! a few weeks what I believe was a teenager called us and asked us why all our customers were calling her boyfriend. I apologized. I was hoping it wasn’t a real number and had not called it because I was afraid it would be. After discussing it with a coworker and feeling horrible I called the number back only to get a voice mail “I am not a company”.  We offered to pay phone bills for the guy but we never received a response and I think the phone number was changed soon after. I feel terrible about that and you would think I would check details more closely but I find typos on here daily. Given I don’t have 10 people to proofread it for me, I am glad I have been persistent in blogging except the first 10 days of the year when I decided to get a bad sinus infection.

Bird Lovers can’t be Koi Lovers…I explain

January 16, 2009

This post will definitely go under “off topic” though it dose pertain to water gardens.  

Last thing you want to see in your pond!

Last thing you want to see in your pond!

      I would assume many gardeners are bird lovers and outdoor lovers  as well.  And if you are a brand new water gardener,  then you may not know that the arch nemesis of a water garden with goldfish or koi, throughout most of the USA, is the Heron. This is one birdyou never want to catch in your  fishpond, they have only come for one reason, your backyard buffet.

Small & very pretty green heron, Still gonna eat your fish!

Small & very pretty green heron, Still gonna eat your fish!

In much of the country people don’t even know herons are in their area, they seem like large birds you may only find in th southern swamps. They are usually a protected species, some a foot tall, some four feet tall with a six foot wingspan. Found commonly hanging out next to water gardens in the early morning around sunrise or wading in the shallow end of a pond, a heron can swallow a 24″ fish and take off quickly. They love backyard ponds, as they are small, shallow, and the fish are usually bright colors, could we make it any easier for these birds? I don’t think so. . .  .

The Scarecrow I talk about, cost about $65-$79 as of 2008

The Scarecrow I talk about, cost about $65-$79 as of 2008

Now winter is a very common time to find these birds in your yard. For fish to live, we generally keep a hole in the ice here in the north, with a pump or trough deicer.  These birds have less and less open water to hunt  and they easily see our water gardens open water reflect like a mirror in the sky. Lakes and streams with fish are iced over but we provide a tiny open space of open water, on top of that, the fish are bright orange and red or white or yellow. These birds will come back until the pond is empty, however we can keep them away pretty easy. A scarecrow, battery operated device is sold almost everywhere & works on all animals, it one in has a motion detector and shoots a stream of chilly water at animals that come by the pond. You can set one in the area in which it protects so that you can come up behind it without getting sprayed. Most people, myself included, forget about the device and normally walk right by it, and you  may get a little spray of water at your butt.   It protects the pond and after a few squirts the bird will stop coming around for good. 

Another option is a decoy heron, these birds are territorial, move the plastic decoy from one side of the pond to the other every 7 days as birds are smart and flyover birds will notice the decoy never moves, after a while. Make sure you have plenty of submerged plants, as fish can hide from the birds in submerged grasses like anacharis or hornwort.

Last of all, a small line of fishing line around the pond ,about 14 inches high, is invisible to the heron and they only way they can get to the pond is to walk in, when they reach your fishing line fence, they cannot move any closer to the pond and don’t know what is in the way, they will then fly off. The fishing line is not unattractive, is inexpensive and easy to put up .Once the heron is gone, you can take it down.

 E-mail me if you need help finding anything.

Barbara Barnett Water Lily (Nymphaea Barbara Barnett, Hybridized 1997)

January 15, 2009

Barbara Barnett is an exquisite water lily hybridized and developed in 1997 by Brad McLane at Florida Aquatic Nurseries.  Described by its creator as “one of the few sunset water lilies”.  This species is non-viviparous and is similar to size and color of the Albert Greenberg water lily.

Barbara Barnett, sunset water lily Hybridized 1997

Barbara Barnett, sunset water lily, Hybridized 1997.  The flowers are described as yellowish-orange with pink tips. The sepal color is descried as orangish-pink with outer greenish to bronze with dark specks.   Stamens are yellow and the flower is cup shaped.  Adult plants have multiple blooms daily about 6-8″ across depending upon container size and regular fertilization. This water lily has a sweet fragrance and makes a decent daily cut flower. The Leaves / Pads: Each pad is dark green with a heavy light and dark burgundy splashed mottling. Adult pads should grow 10-12″ round. Medium to Large spread (3-5′ round).

This champion water lily gets 4.5 of 5 stars

Easy to Grow: Yes

Free Flowering: Yes (Multiple Blooms per day)

Sun light & plant requirements: Minimum 4 hrs direct sunlight to bloom, Calm water – no splash on foliage, plant in 2 – 5 gallon container, 6-24 inches deep. Note the more shallow you plant water lilies the more blooms you get. In cooler climates always plant lilies shallow as warmer water is at the top of the pond.

Water Hyacinths #1 Selling Pond Plant in America! (Eichhornia crassipes)

December 16, 2008

Water Hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes) are truely an amazing species. They are extremely easy to grow. I have talked to a few people who have managed to let these  plants not perform well or die, but it’s rare. They grow so well and so quickly that they cannot be shipped to 11 states.  You can still have these plants in many of these states,  just keep them in private waters. The trouble comes when plant loving people take the extras to waterways and release their excess into no native waterways. The good news,  in more than 90% of the united states gets a hard freeze each year, one hard freeze zaps these wonderful plants and they will no longer be a problem. This means they are annuals and must be replaced each year. Not a problem for most as they cost about $2-$3 and if you buy in quantity, can be as low as $1.50 each.

These plants are amazing filters of the water, in Europe in fact huge vats and greenhouses of Hyacinths are used as primary water treatment tanks. They grow and multiply so quickly and absorb almost all nutrients in the water.

Water Hyacinths Growing, To Flower let them grow in clucsters, fertilize with miracle grow, and they like sun and heat 85*+

Water Hyacinths Growing, To Flower let them grow in clucsters, fertilize with miracle grow, and they like sun and heat 85*+

 These plants like still water, they like to grow in clusters, do not break old foliage apart only new if you must. They enjoy sunshine but will do well in shade. Add them only after wether is warm, cold night will prohibit growth for up to 6 weeks and cause yellowing! They love nutrients, you can add a granular fertilizer like regular old miracle grow to a pond. Fish wont notice anything and plants will thrive. Add a few tablespoons per week anywhere in the pond, THERE IS “NOTHING” SPECIAL ABOUT POND PLANT FERTILIZER. (it will contain no iron but thats it, most fertilizers dont contain iron which is a cause of algae).

Below is how a water hyacinth looks normally upon arrive. If too tall it may lay on its side for a few days but all new growth will be upright.

Water Hyacinth at arrival when ordered or bought from store. Buy in quantity for quicker blooming.

Water Hyacinth at arrival when ordered or bought from store. Buy in quantity for quicker blooming.

KEEP AWAY FROM SPLASHING WATERFALLS AND FOUNTAINS! A wet plant is an unhappy plant, they need to exchange oxygen through the leaves and water inhibits this process.

Water Hyacinth Farm

Water Hyacinth Farm

 

This plant will prevent algae and keepwater crystal clear once 30-40% of the pond has coverage by plants (lilies, lettuce, or hyacinth).

The roots are a great place to hide from herons and raccoons. An all around wonderful plant.

Red Star Ludwigia (Ludwigia glandulosa) NEW 2009!

December 16, 2008

Of the four new submerged oxygenating pond plants ,we are introducing to the homeowners of water gardens in 2009, this I think will be my favorite. A fan of Ludwigia  glandulosa for years , this new market variety is bright red and grows from below the waters surface to above. The foliage is absolutely fantastic, a deep wine red in color brings something new and amazing to the surface of the pond.

Red Star Ludwigia near waters surface
Red Star Ludwigia near waters surface

ludwigia_red

 This plant enjoys sunlight so it may not be suitable for ponds in full shade. it also likes warm water, it can be overwintered indoors with mild temps and a source of sunlight. Growth is slower than other submerged plants. It can be planted as a bog plant as well.  Great hiding source for small fish and for all fish from predators.

NEW! Lemon Bacopa (Bacopa Caroliniana)

December 16, 2008

New for 2009, Lemon Bacopa, named for its lemon scent,  is a very interesting pond plant. This plant comes bunched like anacharis but grows up to the surface of the water and then slightly above. Not only that but once above the surface it begins to bloom with tiny 1/2 inch wondrous blue flowers. This plant can also be planted as a bog plant and will love the soil and bloom more often. A great oxygenator I hope we can keep this  in stock for 2009.

Lemon Bacopa, wonderful oxygenator that blooms once it gets to the waters surface.

Lemon Bacopa, wonderful oxygenator that blooms once it gets to the waters surface.

Provides great hiding spot for fish when predators come around.  Highly reccomended.  Native to zone 8-10.  Other than submerged, great ground cover that is easy to grow in a diverse range of locations including bogs, streams, waterfalls, pond edges and container gardens; foliage lemon-scented.

submerged in an aquarium, this is how each bunch will look at the bottom of the pond.

submerged in an aquarium, this is how each bunch will look at the bottom of the pond.

Seasonal Care:
Cut tips down to 3 in. and float in a cup of water in a warm, sunny location indoors

Cabomba, perhaps my least favorite submerged pond plant!

December 16, 2008
Though when growing in aquariums some of the Cabomba species may be the prettiest and softest and most gentle plants they are also by far the worst to add to any water garden with fish.
cabomba caroliniana

cabomba caroliniana

Cabomba furcata and Cabomba caroliniana are the two most common types I have found sold in the water garden industry. The plant for all intents and  purposes belongs strickly  in the aquarium plant industry. Why? Well it is very soft and both the stems and the foliage break easily. I do not find that these plants overwinter at all or they never seem to be around in the spring. Normally harvested and bunched in Florida shipped once is OK, if we ship it to another supplier and then they ship it to you, the plants arrive unhealthy and falling apart. Anacharis and hornwort can be damaged slightly in shipping and come back in a matter of days with new growth. Cabomba simply disintegrates. On top of that problem, they are so soft they make excellent meals for fish. One final problem, sold as a bunched plant, the rubber bands often destroy the bottom stems and the plant then float about the pond.

cabomba furcata

cabomba furcata

If you ever grow baby fish inside, this is a wonderful plant to add to an aquarium to serve as hiding space and food for fish fry.