Backyard Pond

Discussion of backyard pond, frogs, goldfish and plants.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Big Frog on Lily Pad

Interesting that my last post had a tiny baby frog sitting on a Lily Pad and then tonight, here is a much larger frog sitting on a lily pad in almost the same location. This guy is in the small pond surveying his domain. We haven't seen too many large frogs yet but with all the babies around, there are plenty of large frogs nearby. This one was very patient and let me take 5 or 6 pictures before he jumped into the water.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Great Looking Babies

Here are two of the best looking baby frogs in town. The first is on a long climb inside a bucket. He is climbing up the inside of a two foot tall 20 gallon bucket that only had about 6 inches of water in it. He was born in this bucket and came from a glob of string algae I pulled out of the large pond. I learned last year that the algae I remove could be full of eggs so I put it in a bucket for a month to see if anything hatches. Well it did, today I pulled 10 baby Goldfish and 7 more tadpoles from this bucket. These fish and tadpoles joined the other wildlife in the small pond. As you can see he isn't scared of the 18 inch climb to the bucket top. I don't think he knows that when he gets to the top, it is going to be 2 feet down to the grass. We wish him good luck.
The other frog is sitting on the lily leaf, just like the big frogs do.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Babies All Over the Place

I am the proud "father" of some brand new Amaryllis sprouts. A month ago I planted a bunch of Amaryllis seeds in pots in the greenhouse and they have sprouted. Mother Nature impresses once again. Not only are these sprouting but a bunch of others are too. I will give them a couple of weeks and then probably thin them to one per pot. I will learn as I go but this is quite an accomplishment.
In addition the March of the Frogs is in full force with baby frogs hopping all around the pond. It is certainly the scariest time because I'm afraid I will step on these little critters who are heading for the woods. I'd hate to crush something this cute.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

The Hawk Flies Away

The Hawk stopped by for a visit this morning and the wildlife camera caught him sitting on the back of a chair and then flying away. Really cool stuff! I don't know if he was diving toward the pond or just flying to a new location. The sticks in the way of the pictures are there for some vine plants to hang on to. We won't know for a while if the plants understand the sticks are there for them.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Fun With the Sun

The wildlife camera was at it again, capturing interesting photos. These are a couple where the sun introduced itself into the pictures. The first has a very interesting rainbow effect even though it has been dry for 3 days. I guess you don't need rain to have a rainbow.
The other must be a direct shot of the sun that makes for a really neat picture. It almost looks like a shot of a galaxy.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Coral Honeysuckle

We visited a plant nursery while on a daytrip a month ago and my wife was quite taken with a Coral Honeysuckle. So we bought one and brought it home to join the pondscape. It is quite a striking plant and hasn't died yet. We have gobs of yellow/white Honeysuckle around but wouldn't you know a week after we bought the Coral, we were walking around the fence and we found a Coral Honeysuckle on our lot. We took some cuttings off that plant and are trying to grow some of our own. It would be great to have a larger collection of the Coral mixed in with the yellow.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Baby Frogs and Baby Fish Abound

The march of the frogs has begun. In this picture you see a bunch of baby frogs getting ready to leave the pond. These guys are about one half inch long. They have lost almost all of their tails and have evolved from tadpoles to tiny frogs. Several tried to make it across the patio blocks the other day but it looks like they got stepped on by me or the Great Dane. Now that I know the march has started, I'll be much more careful where I step.
In addition to the baby frogs, we have a new crop of tiny baby fish. In this picture you can barely make out the thin line in the middle that is a baby goldfish. It should grow fairly fast to be an inch or two long by the end of the summer.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Wild Clematis and Clematis After Bloom

A neat thing happened about 3 years ago. We planted some Mums in a large pot on the patio and they did great the first year. The next year the Mums didn't come back much at all but a Clematis sprang up. We didn't know what it was as the vine grew but the purple flower led us to believe it was a Clematis vine. The interesting thing about this unexpected Clematis is the flowers blooms face down instead of up or out as you can see in this photo. Last year the plant was heavy with blooms and this year is starting out that way too. The other photo is of the store bought Clematis that had the large gorgeous flowers a couple of weeks ago. After the bloom drops it's petals, a unique spidery looking seed pod takes the place of the flower. We are researching how we might plant these to grow new plants but haven't found a definitive method yet.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Goldfish Looking Good

The Goldfish are doing great. I don't know how many we lost to the Great Blue Heron, Hawk and Owl but there are still plenty in the pond. In this photo, the multi-colored fish is our giant Shubunkin at about a foot long. The others are standard Goldfish and Comets from 4 inches to 10 inches long. Getting a picture is not as easy as the Winter photos when the fish don't move. Now they start moving as soon as I get close and so this is a pretty lucky shot.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Hawk Picture Finally

I've been waiting quite a while but my patience has paid off. The wildlife camera finally snapped a picture of the Hawk that we've seen frequently around the pond. This picture was taken at about 10 am and it looks like he is surveying the feast of goldfish below. It does worry me a little since I just removed the last of the Styrofoam protection system a few days ago. I hope I haven't opened the goldfish up to grave danger.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Up Periscope

Two green frogs have taken up residence in the 20 gallon pond that the Azola likes so well. These two guys were not concerned about the camera and stayed perfectly still while I clicked away. A couple of minutes later our Great Dane strolled over to drink out of the frogs pond and both of them ducked for cover.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Big Bug Changes Clothes

Yesterday morning when I went outside, I saw this big bug walking along the deck railing. This guy was about and inch and a half long. He didn't seem threatening so I let him just wander along. Interesting When I got home from work, the bug was gone but he had left his old suit of clothes behind. This is the first time I have seen an old bug suit on the deck, usually I see these old suits on tree trunks.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Beautiful Plants in the Pond

From the shape of the leaves, my guess is this plant is from the Arrowhead family. We have several different Arrowhead plants whose leaves are solid green. This plant however has multi-color leaves most with a bright red trim. This plant spent the winter in the greenhouse and as you can see it did very well.
The floating plants are Azola with which we've had some good luck and some bad luck. For some reason the Azola doesn't do well in the large pond but it has grown well in the 20 gallon bucket. The past two years Azola has grown nicely in the spring but died off in the summer.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Black Magic is Back

Last year we had a tremendous display of Black Magic Elephant Ears. To protect them over the winter, we put some in the greenhouse and some in the house. So far it looks like about half of them survived, but I haven't given up yet on the ones that haven't started to grow. I'll give them until the end of May before I declare them dead. The half we have should be more than enough to provide all the Black Magic we need. These plants grow fast and spread so we should be able to split them into multiple pots.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Elephant Ear Progress Report

Two of our Elephant Ear plantings in the back yard are growing great. The area defined by the landscape pavers is about 30 feet behind the pond in the yard and the other area is by the deck steps. I left all of these bulbs in the ground over the winter and as you can see, a bunch of them survived. It sure is easier not to dig them up and replant every year but will the results be as good as last year. Stay tuned and we'll find out in a month or so.

Elephant Ears Coming on Strong

Remember my post on Dec. 12, 2006 when I dug up this giant Elephant Ear bulb to store it in the garage over the winter. Well today was planting day; I pulled out the bulb and knocked off some of the dirt and surprise, the bulb has several large sprouts already. I planted this giant bulb in a corner of the front yard at the end of a row of Rhododendrons. The Rhododendrons are just starting to bloom and I hope the Elephant Ears will provide a good anchor at the end of the bushes. Also in the front yard, the Elephant Ears I left in the ground are already showing small leaves. I expect they will pick up speed as the weather warms.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

It's a Baby Pink Lady Slipper

It's a baby. We were shocked to find a brand new Pink Lady Slipper pop up on the path we walk frequently. It is less than 3 inches tall but is the spitting image of the larger plants that are about 9 inches tall. Research on the Internet told us these plants rarely produce seeds so it is unusual to find a new plant. To protect it we prepared a nice soil bed near some of the adult plants and carefully moved this baby off the path. It has been 5 days and the baby still looks good so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the move will be successful. We have searched the area pretty carefully and have located a total of 11 of these unique plants with 9 of them blooming. Nature is certainly putting on a wonderful show.