Backyard Pond

Discussion of backyard pond, frogs, goldfish and plants.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Black Magic Sadness

A couple of nights with the temperature around 40 degrees and the Black Magic Elephant Ears are looking really sad. Just a couple of weeks ago, they were standing tall with leaves spreading to cover the area over the ponds. The first picture is the Black Magic in the small pond with every leaf drooped over. The other picture is the large pond where there are a couple of small leaves still trying to stand up. Tomorrow these delicate plants will move to the greenhouse until next spring.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Plant Eating Squirrel

The plant eating squirrels are even attacking the plants in the large pond. I can't remember another time since I started the pond that the squirrels have had such an appetite for the pond plants. We haven't had a drought this year so I'm sure there are lots of things around that the squirrels could eat but this year they went after the plants. And look at the guy in the second picture - he looks pretty darn proud of himself.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Japanese Maple Tree

For five or six years we've had two half whiskey barrels on the front patio. They have hosted various plants: flower bulbs, mums and day lillies. That all changed recently. We have talked about how interesting Japanese Maple trees are for years. So now we have two and with some luck these will be around for a really long time and get better and better. We'll have to learn how to care and encourage these trees but they should add an interesting feature to the front patio.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Mystery Flower and Greenhouse Update

So today I wanted to ask for help identifying a mystery flower that has taken over one of our planters. As you can see the flowers are small Iris like in at least three colors. My wife loves them and we would like to plant it next year. Any ideas would be appreciated.
But the weather forecast is for lows in the high 30's so my wife wanted the more delicate plants, pineapple, orange and grapefruit in the greenhouse right now. I haven't finished any shelving so the plants are just hanging out on the floor.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Building a Greenhouse Using Old Windows Paint & Insulate

Back to the greenhouse after a week at work. This weekend I used the remaining 3 old windows to create an inner shell so there is airspace between them and the plastic roofing. Next I used some insulation I had in the shed to insulated the non-window walls and ceiling. Today the outside temperature was 75 degrees and inside the greenhouse, it was 95 degrees. The next step was to paint the plywood and trim on the outside green. It is supposed to be a greenhouse after all.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Azola and Duckweed Makes a Comeback

A very interesting thing has happened in the past month, some tiny plants have come back in force in the frog pond. I haven't purchased Azola or Duckweed for a couple of years but the seeds must still exist and when the conditions are right, it grows like crazy. The first picture shows a huge growth of Azola covering a section of the frog pond (with a couple of Duckweed mixed in). In the second picture is a neat looking batch of Duckweed just a foot away from the Azola in the first picture. These two plants look very different but cover the pond surface in a similar way.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Building a Greenhouse Using Old Windows Add Roof

As I moved on with the construction, I needed a roof. I hoped to use some old plastic roofing I had used to cover the pond. But it was too old and brittle to be repurposed so off to the store to buy some new materials. A few hours later and I have a nice looking roof. The next step was to close in the various gaps on each end of the greenhouse. Some plywood that I already had on hand worked well for that purpose. Then vacation was over so I will have to wait until next weekend to work on finishing the inside of the greenhouse.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Building a Greenhouse Using Old Windows Continued

With the framing in place, it is time to install the windows. To help increase heat retention during the winter, I paired the windows to create something like double pane windows. The front took 18 windows with a thin layer of insulating foam in between. My measurements were almost perfect except for two windows that had to be forced into the space. On the greenhouse end, we had to use one odd three light window to complete the wall. We didn't have enough of the 3 light windows to do the whole wall so we have a mix but that looks ok to me.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Building a Greenhouse Using Old Windows Next Step

The next steps included building the walls using pressure treated 2x4s. I sized the openings so the old windows would fit tightly between the studs to retain heat in the winter. I bought and installed a 36 inch storm door to provide easy access to the greenhouse. The door wasn't pre-hung so it was more difficult to install than I expected. The first picture shows the original tiny greenhouse (to the left) this one will replace. Finally in the second picture we installed floor of pavers to provide a level base and absorb and retain more heat.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Build a Greenhouse Using Old Windows

My wife wanted a larger greenhouse to hold all of her plants this winter. There just isn't enough room in the house for all the plants. Just in time, a friend replaced his windows on his house and offered me his old wood windows. Finally I had a vacation planned for last week to get ready for the Solar Tour. These three combined to create an "opportunity" for me to spend my vacation building a new greenhouse. Here is step one and step two. First dig holes for the cinder blocks and level side to side and front to back. Next anchor and cement the bottom plate that will support the walls.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Front Porch Frog

Last year I tried putting a Black Magic Elephant Ear plant on the front porch and it did pretty well. The plant spent the winter in the garage and resumed it's location on the front porch. It did pretty well this year but most interesting was a frog claimed this small plant as his home. He has been hanging out in the pot and the water for several months. He doesn't even jump out when our Great Dane decides to take a drink from his water. I'm guess it would be pretty scary if a giant mouth with huge teeth was coming too close. The frog took advantage of a fallen Black Magic leaf to float on the water.