Backyard Pond

Discussion of backyard pond, frogs, goldfish and plants.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Brown Algae is New Menace

Last weekend we cleaned the filter as it was very dirty. I was suprised to see I needed to clean it again this week because it looked just as bad. It appears we have a brown algae bloom. From researching this, there are several possible causes; too much plant cover or too many nutrients in the water from the fish waste. Of the solutions, I did two, I removed some of the plants so more sunlight can get to the pond and I added two barley straw pads which are susposed to help with this problem. You may remember I tried barley straw with the string algae without much success. This link is from February when I was fighting the string algae I think the solution to the string algae was getting enough plant coverage so there wasn't enough sun to encourage the growth of the algae.
On another note, the Elephant Ears have now grown as tall as the light around the pond which is about 7 feet tall. They are huge and create a beautiful backdrop around the pond.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Green Frog Sitting on a Lily Pad

I have always had a vision that frogs sit on lily pads and finally one of our frogs is doing it. I think he is one of the green frogs that was born earlier this year and has taken up residence in the small pond.

The baby birds hatched in the past day or two. In this somewhat fuzzy picture, you can make out two beaks but I think there are two others with their heads down. Momma bird is working hard running out for groceries and feeding the young ones pretty much continuously.

A new butterfly has joined the others. We now have as many as 6 or 7 visiting the butterfly bush at a time. It is really quite interesting to watch them flit from flower to flower and share the flowers with the bumble bees and other bugs.

Our gladioli bulbs have been blooming for about a month now and this one is particularly stricking. The picture isn't as good as the real think but you get the idea of the interesting mixture of colors in the throat of the flower.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Gourd is Growing

Last year we planted gourds for the first time and we had a great crop. We had a dozen good looking bell shaped gourds which we dried. This year we bought some new gourd seeds and planted them in the same location as last year. It has been a very disappointing crop... but in preparing the area for the new seeds, we found several broken gourds from last year. We planted some of seeds from those gourds in a pot on the deck and "walla" we have a great looking gourd growing. If all goes well, it may grow to a foot from top to bottom, the current length is about 4 inches.

Monday, July 17, 2006

New Family Moving In

I'm pleased to introduce a new family who is taking up residence on the front porch. The parents have built a very nice nest on top of one of the porch columns. They have visions of growing the family by at least three as the photo shows. We are keeping our fingers crossed that Mr. Black Snake doesn't find the nest and end all their plans. We aren't too thrilled about Mr. Black Snake being on the front porch either so we are in the corner with the birds.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Frogs Galore

Yesterday my wife was picking a dead leaf off the plants and one of the new baby frogs jumped on her thumb. She commented the frog was so delicate with such a bold color, it looked like a piece of jewelry. The other picture is just like one of those kids pictures where you have to find all the items in the picture. In this one, you have to count the number of baby frogs - I counted 11.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Butterflies and Bunnies

Butterfly Bushes really live up to their name and they grow like crazy. Last year we ordered 20 Prague Viburnum bushes to plant outside the fence. These bushes were advertised as growing 2 feet a year and being deer resistant. For the most part they are deer resistant but after 15 months they haven't grown at all and they are still alive. With this order we received 10 free butterfly bushes which were little more than a stick with some roots on them. We planted them and 4 survived and grew to be 6 to 10 feet tall and bushy in one season. And as you can see the butterflies love them.
The other evening we had a visit from a baby bunny on the patio. It wasn't long ago we were wondering where the bunnies were as we hadn't seen any. But for the past week we have seen them all over and this little guy wandered up on the patio.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

March of the Frogs - Act 2

This year we are having a bumper crop of frogs. In these pictures are 2 different types of frogs that are maturing at the same time. The first picture shows a gold colored baby frog climbing up on the leaves of the Sweet Flag. This little guy may be offspring from the silver frog or the grill frog. The second picture show two baby frogs that look like the wood frogs that grew up earlier this year in the small pond. It looks like they are playing leap frog. The third picture shows 3 frogs representing both types hanging hanging around on the Parrot Feather.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Grill Frog Checks the Controls

Once again, the grill frog is back. Last night when I took off the grill cover, there he was sitting on the brush that I use to clean the grate. Right behind him was a frog poop about 1/3 the size of the frog. It is obvious this little frog has been eating very well and this encounter shows the downside of these cute little creatures (they poop). He jumped off the brush onto the control panel so I could clean the brush.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Beautiful Black Magic Elephant Ear and Patient Frog

This picture of the Black Magic Elephant Ears doesn't do the plants justice as they are amazing. We started with one plant in a 6 inch pot 2 years ago and now have two 6 inch pots full of plants and several small pots with cuttings that are growing nicely. This fall we will spilt the largest into three 6 inch pots and spread them around the pond. The one pictured is sitting on the waterfall with some of it's offspring.
This frog sat in the same position on the Water Hyacinth almost all day Tuesday. He didn't move for over 6 hours and he was like a statue when I took the picture. I don't know if this was a good spot for catching bugs but he really seemed to enjoy the setting.

Monday, July 03, 2006

3 New Frogs Join PondScape

A surprise father's day gift has added 3 new frogs to the pond. These frogs fit right in with the garden sprite who watches over the pond. Each one is espressing a unique frog attitude. In addition to the frogs, I added an aerator to the large pond. With all the fish in the large pond, I was concerned that there wasn't going to be enough oxygen to keep all the fish alive in the hot weather. So far the aerator is bubbling away and adding oxygen. In the picture you can see some of the Black Magic Elephant Ear plants that we are growing in small pots on the waterfall.