Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Happy St. Patrick's Day !!!

St Patrick's Day and pond passion go hand in hand.
Everybody wants to be Irish on this day. Fortunately I am truly half Irish as my mother was a Murphy. This is my given middle name as well. My late grandfather (Grandpap Murphy) and his two brothers (Uncle Lewis and Uncle John) were the most Irish people have ever known. Grandpap never had a pond, (he grew potatoes and other vegetables), but both Uncles had a small "goldfish" ponds. These were the first ponds of these types that I experienced and I am sure helped lead me to this career.
Of course the perfect pond plant for the Irish in all of us is the "Water Four-leaf Clover".
This shallow water beauty is so easy to grow! Maybe too easy as it grows very "exuberantly". Keep it out of earth bottom ponds but grown in a small container and regularly "pinched back" it is wonderful.
It is winter hardy...but unfortunately it does'nt begin growing until well after St. Patrick's Day in the Mid-Atlantic Region.
Have fun being Irish, and give your pond the luck of the Irish all season!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Transplant your Lotus Now !

Aquatic plants, such as lotus can be stunningly beautiful, especially relative to the minimal time and care they take to grow.
After 2 or 3 seasons of growth in the same container most aquatic plants begin to show signs of constraint, in particular less frequent blooming. This is overcome by transplanting the rhizome or tuber into fresh soil. Most aquatic plants will bloom their very best the first season after transplanting.
The good news about lotus is they will maintain their performance a little longer and only need transplanting every 3 to 5 seasons. The timing for this task is critical though. Unlike waterlilies and bog plants which can survive transplanting from early spring to late summer, lotus must be transplanted starting now (March) to mid -April in the mid-Atlantic region and south. Folks to the north can wait a little longer. They must be transplanted while in their dormant "tuber" stage.
If you wait too long and they have progressed too far from dormancy than the survival rate goes down dramatically.
Here's a quick "How to Divide and Transplant your Lotus":
Remove your lotus from the pond. Brrrrr! Much better with water garden gloves!
Remove the lotus from it's container taking care not to break any exposed growth tips.
Slowly remove the soil from the tubers...careful they are a bit fragile.
Cut to remove individual tubers. There are usually plenty to grow and trade with friends!
Replant, start in shallow water, allow to start, move to 4-6" water over top, fertilize.
Enjoy a reinvigorated, beautiful summer plant that nearly always blooms the first season!