In the Garden:
Northern California Coastal & Inland Valleys
May, 2005
Regional Report

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A beautiful water feature such as this one attracts wildlife to the garden and provides a restful place to ponder the mysteries of life.

Aquatic Mysteries

For most of my 56 years on this beautiful planet I have been trying to figure out the mystery of life. I believe that I may have two parts of the puzzle put together, but I'm still missing the third. Hopefully, I still have a few years to work it out.

So far, I know that all things in the natural world move in a cycle; spring follows winter, summer follows spring, and so forth. The seed sprouts, a plant grows and blooms, a seed forms and the plant dies. That's the easy part of the puzzle.

I also know that everything living on this earth requires water, even if only in miniscule amounts. More is better as far as I'm concerned, and perhaps that's why I choose to live on a boat.

Water in any Shape or Form
Water brings life, and even if you only bury a small saucer of water in the soil, you will invite the amazing world of nature into your garden. A simple birdbath is the perfect example; birds will flock to standing water in the gutter, so imagine how appreciative they will be of a dedicated pool of their own. Add a rock to the birdbath and you open the door to smaller creatures, such as butterflies and dragonflies. Put the birdbath on the ground and the next thing you know, frogs have moved in. Frogs are a delicacy of herons and egrets, well, you get the idea. If you wish to see your garden spring to life, add a small water feature.

I have had the pleasure of a variety of ponds, pools, and puddles throughout my gardening career and encourage anyone with even the least amount of interest to take the plunge. Beware though, this is one hobby that can get out of control as the members of Santa Clara Koi Society Garden Pond tour will attest.

My first pond was a grandiose endeavor with an electric recirculating pump and waterfall. I didn't know about rubber pond liners at that time and thought, mistakenly, that concrete would hold water. Anxious to enjoy the fruits of my labors, I filled the pond as soon as the concrete was dry and added my beautiful fish. When I went outside the next morning, there were only a few inches of water standing in the bottom of the pond -- barely enough to support my koi. Lesson learned; test the pond before you add the fish.

As with any hobby, the best way to begin is small. A pond in a pot is simple to build, easy to care for, and can be an attractive home to fish and aquatic plants. You don't need a pump or filter, just any large container that will hold water. Of course, bigger is better, and a beautiful water feature will not only enhance the value of your property but also your quality of life. There is nothing quite so relaxing as sitting in the shade beside a living pool of water. It's the ideal place to contemplate the mysteries of life.


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