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Robyn's Pond Newsletter September 2001

Last Updated: 9/12/08

Welcome to my third newsletter. If you have something pond-related that you want to share (information, jokes, web sites, something pond-related for sale), let me know, and I will add it to the next newsletter. What topics would you like me to cover? I would love some feedback. Thanks!

Significantly Altered or New Pond Web Pages (explanations below, numbers match):
1. http://www.fishpondinfo.com/news.htm
2. http://www.fishpondinfo.com/setup.htm
3. http://world.care2.com/robynspets/orgpond.html (Note added later: Care2 deleted their sites on 12/1/01; I moved this site to http://www.fishpondinfo.com/orgpond.htm.)
4. http://www.fishpondinfo.com/animals/pmamm.htm (moved later to this new location)

Additions or Changes to Robyn's Pond Web Pages:
1. I made a new page for the back issues of this newsletter.
2. I added a new section on pond tips that didn't seem to fit in other areas of my web site. Let me know if you have some more to add.
3. I made a new page as part of my tiny care2.com web site. It is called the organic pond. Right now, it just basically links to various parts of my main web site. There is a little bit of stuff on there that's not on my main web site. It is very slow to work with the editor so I probably won't add much more there. I put in a photo from my pond page but their automatic fast editor shrunk it to a postage stamp.
4. I added two photos of a dead garter snake to my snake section of the pond mammals, birds, and reptiles page.

Potential Future Additions to Robyn's Pond Web Pages:
1. I gave my pond book to my brother to put on his larger account as a free download but he said I should sell it instead. So, it may be put into print by an internet company if they let me use my format. Would any of you buy my 309 page book? It is 90% the same information as on my web site but in book form.

Happenings at Robyn's Ponds:
1. Someone e-mailed me that my pond web site is listed in a recent issue of Organic Gardening magazine. I bought it. My site is mentioned on Page 25 of the July/August 2001 issue. The article is on organic water gardening and interesting enough that you might check it out. I have been mentioned in a few magazines but my web site URL has never been in print. The other magazines would put in quotes and photos but no URL's.
2. My lotuses are putting out more flowers! If enough open, I might actually get some fertile seeds (they're always duds). I have had a total of two on the lotus in my main pond in a seven gallon pot, three on the same lotus (by division) in the 50 gallon lotus tub, and an incredible six on the Momo Botan lotus in the 20 gallon lotus tub.
3. I missed the evening pond check on 8/14/01 as my brother drove me 155 miles so I could see the ocean for the first time in my life! We went to Assateague and Ocean City, MD. It was awesome!
4. Fall is fast approaching! By late September, I'll be netting the pond and tossing out many pounds of plants like water hyacinths mostly. Soon, leaves will fall, and I will be busy trying to get them off the net (with nets and the shop vacuum) and mulch. Of all the chores I do, this one seems to yield the least for the most amount of work! As soon as I get leaves off into a pile, the wind kicks up, and there are more than when I started. I don't look forward to that. Or, trying to get into the pond under the net in hip waders with the net stuck in my hair! Anyway, I'm thinking too far ahead! Right now, the tropical plants are at their height (and will have to come inside in a little over a month), and I'm starting to toss more plants to keep some areas open in the water.

Interesting Animal Sightings:
1. I was putting a new product that I found, called Bladerunner (I got it from AquaMart), that dessicates aphids on some milkweed next to the pond when I discovered that I couldn't even use that. The milkweed had half a dozen monarch caterpillars on it and half a dozen ladybug larvae (who hopefully ate a few aphids) which pupated on it. I didn't want to hurt those insects by drying them out! There are thousands of large orange aphids on the plant! They were not affected by my other all-natural aphid spray and not so much by the natural Bladerunner either! Do you know of a non-toxic way to get rid of aphids that works that I can share with others?

Web Sites of Interest:
1. There is a new pond message board at http://www.aimoo.com/forum/freeboard.cfm?id=323387
2. Sheila suggested checking out this pond supplier in Westminster, MD if you live in MD - http://www.bowmansgarden.com
3. Ok, this one is not about ponds but it impressed me enough to tell you about. If you have a dog, then you might want to check out these healthy treats meant to control bad breath. My dog does not normally eat anything hard meant for a dog but he actually eats and loves his daily Greenies treat. They have indeed helped his horrid bad breath. You can check it out at http://www.kissablepets.com

Pond Tidbits:
1. One way to promote the blooming of water hyacinths is to restrain them to a small area of the pond. You can use almost anything. I use an old piece of garden hose cut in a circle with the pieces glued together to keep out water. It floats, and it's tied to the shore. When the hyacinth begin to fill it out, I toss them into the main pond. The ones in the hoop are the only ones that ever flower. Mine only flower in early summer.
2. Do you have a spare pump in case of emergencies? If you live in an area where your pond freezes, do you have a spare de-icer? If not, get one! My main pump is a $400 pump so I don't have a spare for it but I do have a few smaller pumps to at least keep water moving when the "big one" finally dies. Keep around spare supplies because it's better to have them on hand than to drive all over like a maniac or pay tons of money for express delivery.
3. I have found that songbirds like to use my smaller ponds in the summer. Putting out a small tub pond filled with half dirt and topped with pea gravel and planted with a few plants seems to appeal to them most. The water is only a few inches deep. They stand on the rim and drink or jump in for a bath. They like these ponds about as much as the standard bird baths. In the winter, though, all the small ponds are frozen, and the birds finally use my main pond in the waterfall pool. Adding a variety of types (with fish, without fish, big, small, moving water, still water) of ponds to your yard increases the variety of animals that will use them. The frogs prefer the pond areas without fish and with still water.
4. Goldfish spawning is winding down in the Eastern US for this year but one person would like to know how to provide a good spawning situation in the pond. Goldfish females need a soft spot for the males to slam them into and deposit their eggs. They will do this in a shallow area if they can. Since it is a pretty violet affair, sharp objects should be avoided if possible. Plants that work well for spawning include submerged plants near the surface like anacharis, cabomba, and hornwort as well as floating plants like water hyacinth (roots actually) and some marginal plants if the fish can get into the pots (where my fish always get stuck, especially in the iris). All this said, I have found that most spawning in my ponds occurs in the early spring before plants have grown much. The fish use the marginal pots (mostly iris in the spring but some grassy plants as well). Because there are few soft plants in early spring, many fish get cuts and bruises but seem to heal within a month. I have not lost fish to spawning since 1998 when half a dozen females tried to spawn in the floss around my pump intake and got stuck and died. The males escaped but had few girlfriends left! They haven't done this since. There are a number of "spawning mops" sold by pond suppliers. I have one that I put in the spring but I've never seen the fish use it in about three years. Some of the large ones that look like big yarn octopuses might work better.
5. In my area (Zone 6/7, MD, USA) and nearby areas, September is the best time to repot iris. Excess iris can be planted outside the pond in damp areas and often survives. On my land, it grows in low areas but the deer eat it so much that it never flowers. If pods were allowed to ripen, the seeds can be dried and planted in damp earth the next year. I've not had success sprouting seeds on purpose but some have self-sown.

Pond Humor:
My brother sent me these jokes. I don't really "get" them but maybe you will.

"Why is the swordfish's sword 11 inches long? Because if it were 12, it would be a foot!"

"There once was a man who loved peace and quiet and built a lovely pond. He married but soon divorced because, although his wife was coy, she would often carp."

I changed that last one to this: Why did the koi leave her husband? He liked to carp.

Do you have some better pond jokes? E-mail them to me, and I will put the best ones in the next newsletter.

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