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!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Stock your pond in January?

Just wanted everyone to know that I fulfilled an order today for a pre-potted hardy waterlily today. Today is January 9, 2012 and the air temperature is about 35 f here in central Maryland.
When the customer asked if we had it/ could get it, I stated that if he was going to put it in his pond I would get it for him.
After tapping through less than 1/2" of ice I retrieved the lily (dormant rhizome) of his choice, wrapped it up as normal and sent him back to (relatively) balmy Bethesda. I did not get this gentleman's name, but what he may lack in judgment he makes up for in pond passion. I would like to make it clear though that I am not advocating stocking your pond in January.
Sorry no images with this post...nothing to see.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Overwintering Pond Fish: The Complete Story

There is a lot of talk out there regarding this subject. Here is my attempt to clear things up.
Click here for the full story.

Blue, or Purple Hardy Waterlilies?

The blue "hardy" waterlily has long been the most sought after prize of the water gardening world. The only waterlilies on the market with blue or purple flowers are "tropical" and will not overwinter in at least 95% of the mainland U.S.
Recently some hybridizers have made great strides in creating these plants. Mike Giles, a waterlily grower in southern West Virginia has created dozens of different crosses of hardy plants with flowers of various shades of blue, purple, and lavender colors. Many of these can be viewed at Mike's Facebook page.
It may be a while before these plants are widely available, but it appears to be inevitable that pond owners will be enjoying them soon.

I had a chance to meet and visit with Mike this past summer. He has several large ponds filled with waterlilies on a beautiful farm in the West Virginia hills. He lives very simply and devotes much of his time to his waterlilies and his three horses. He is the good looking guy on the left in the photo. I salute Mike for his vision and obvious Pond Passion.