Sunday, June 6, 2010

Macho Pond Work

After a couple weeks of adding plants and watching flowers bloom, it's back to the macho work on the pond: hauling sand and moving rocks.

Yesterday we banged in metal edging, laid and cut ground cloth, and moved the remains of our sand pile (originally purchased to create part of the pond's underlayment--note to aspiring pond-builders: 3 cubic yards of sand is too much) onto the terrace between the gazebo & the pond. Today we harvested all the spare pieces of rock we could find to cover the exposed black plastic between the water's edge and the rocks sitting on top of our little levee.

There was much manly grunting (mostly from me, I think--Matt doesn't grunt much; he just gets shit done), and much sweating, although the mornings this weekend have been in the eighties, so it hasn't been too awful.

But we've now got the foundation for a nice, spacious terrace, where we can maybe grill out, eat dinner, or lounge by the pond, when the weather is nice. I keep having second thoughts about the right side, though--should it be bigger and wider? I think maybe it needs a couple of extra feet.

The next steps are:
  1. Buy more rocks (sandstone, I think). In addition to large flat rocks for the levee and terrace, we also need rubble to fill in all the little gaps through which the plastic is visible.
  2. Use easy cheese (puffy foam) to glue levee rocks in place. Use easy cheese and rubble to fill in gaps.
  3. Lay out terrace rocks.
  4. Buy crushed granite. Will probably buy 4-5 cu. yds. just to be on the safe side. We have lots more crushed granite projects to come, so it certainly won't go to waste. Fill in spaces around flat rocks with crushed granite, making sure whole thing is level-ish.
  5. Buy & install more metal edging--this time to define beds to go around remaining exposed sides of pond.
  6. Buy a ton of topsoil (3-4 cu. yds.?) to fill in beds.
  7. Buy a ton of mulch to cover exposed dirt.
  8. Wait till fall & plant stuff.
  9. Somewhere in there, we need to get the waterfall to function without leaking.

At the same time, I've got some concerns about what's going on in the pond chemically (and that's before introducing the unknown element of easy cheese). If you look at the pic above, you'll see chlorosis and/or necrosis on:
  1. lotus
  2. tropical water lily
  3. oar plant
  4. sweet flag
  5. water poppy
  6. arrowhead (most of whose leaves are now lacy skeletons)
What gives? For the moment, I'm hypothesizing either excessively high pH or else the shock of adjusting to a new environment. Alternate possibility: insufficient nitrogen. Maybe we need more fish?

The whole thing's especially puzzling given these happy facts:
  1. Bob & Lyn Goldfish are doing just fine. They swam over to check out my legs this morning as I waded about installing stones.
  2. The lotus, waterlilies, baby Thalia, and bullrush/tubegrass are putting on new leaves at a pretty rapid pace
  3. The clover fern (Marsilia) is pretty as can be and growing ecstatically.
  4. There are flowers all over the place: pickerel, water poppies, both water lilies, Thalia, and even the traumatized-looking arrowhead.
So sometime next week I need to buy a pH testing kit and some more fish. Between the extra fish poop and whatever I end up doing about the alkalinity (presuming it's high at all), hopefully we can get the pond's foliage looking a little perkier.


Katie said...

Wow! It's been a while since I've checked in. Looks like it's pond patio party time to me! It's beautiful!

Elgin_house said...

Thanks, Kate! I have a feeling the terrace won't be usable until about August, what with all the buying of rock and crushed granite that we're going to have to string out across several paychecks...

But of course you're invited!--we'll turn on the sprinkler system, so hopefully it won't be so hot :-)

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