One of my favorite aspects of being a garden writer is getting to meet and hear from awesome gardeners like you. A couple of days ago, reader Debra Johnson sent me an email about her unusual water garden. Here's what she had to say:
I have converted an old 12-foot satellite dish into a water garden pond this year. It is the highlight of our garden now and I LOVE IT.
I even put my 10-year-old goldfish in it as his house tank failed for the third time – and that WAS the charm. He’s thriving and catching mosquitos.
My pond is approx 30 inches deep and 12 feet in circumference. My husband hauled (the satellite dish) from some farmer’s house to our house about 20 years ago. Thanks, honey!
With the solar lights around the border it looks like a flying saucer has landed in our backyard at night. BONUS!
It has been sitting in our garden collecting rain and the occasional unlucky squirrel (only two) and ONE deer (I rescued). This year I was done with it and got to thinking about a water garden.
My husband put a drain in the bottom with a pipe that has a spigot on the back side so I can drain some water regularly and add fresh water. We just installed an air bubbler (solar operated), too.
The plants are doing great and I have only the smallest amount of algae which I fish out manually. I just added a small ‘bale’ of barley straw, too. [note from Susan: research has shown that barley straw has a natural chemical in it that inhibits the growth of algae; you can find them at garden centers and water garden dealers.]
I had the most PLEASANT experiences talking to the water garden experts at NW Seed & Pet and of course Koi Gardens in Bigelow Gulch!
My goldfish is “Mr. Wiggles” – he’s 10 years old.
He prefers cooler water, of course, and stays hidden under all the plants during the day – at the bottom, I suppose. I see him in the cool of early morning when I sprinkle a bit of fish flakes on the water at 5 a.m.
I also see him in the evening before dark – he eats bugs and hopefully mosquitoes, too!
It is a great way to recycle those dishes and lucky for my husband that it is not an eyesore anymore but the centerpiece of our garden! I drain off water every other day (from the drain pipe spigot at the bottom of the dish) and add fresh water.
I left the hose in the dish for an hour yesterday and when I came back to turn it off – Mr. Wiggles was swimming in place at the source of the cold water coming from the hose – little buddy!
The evening temps help a lot and the weather is changing to more seasonable soon (temps in the 50s at night!). Of course if Mr. Wiggles prefers cold water – he better be careful what he wishes for – October is just around the corner!
Isn't that a great story?! Thanks, Debra, for sharing this with me and now with your fellow gardeners and blog-followers.