Thursday, June 16, 2011

Fond of Ponds

I'm not sure what the allure of a pond is for me.  Perhaps it's the water.  I grew up near the Gulf coast, so I have a lot of fun memories of being in the water.  Maybe it's the sound.  Refreshing.  Could be the plants.  I especially love the lotus bloom.  Or, perhaps it's the fish.  Isn't it said that fish are calming?

Whatever the case, I've always been fond of ponds.  So much so, that when I started putting in gardens around the house, a water feature was the first priority on my agenda.

We didn't start with the concrete pond I have now.  The first water feature we had was a pondless water feature.  I went to an antique store and purchased a large pottery jug.  Mr. Holleygarden (my hero) drilled a hole in the bottom (we both held our breath during this procedure - we weren't sure it was going to work), placed the jug in a plastic tub I had dug a hole for, filled the tub with gravel, and put a water pump in the jug.  When filled with water, the water cascaded down the sides.  It was lovely.

But, I learned a few lessons from that jug.  It works best in shade.  The sunny spot we had it in caused water to evaporate rapidly, and algae grew on the sides.  As with any water feature, caution should always be taken if children are around.

Growing tired of the jug, we decided to expand upon the pond and purchased a black plastic form from a garden center.  That worked for a short while.  But I never really liked it.  The rocks I put around the edges never looked natural to me (although the black widows absolutely loved them!).

Deciding I needed an even bigger pond, and wanting a cement one, I dug deeper - and wider.

If you ever need seclusion, buy a cement mixer.  No one, and I mean no one, will stick around longer than the first day.  They will come up with the craziest excuses - or just not answer their phone until they are satisfied you are completely through with your project!  And, later, if you want to be left alone, all you have to do is state you're thinking about some project that involves said cement mixer and - voila! - you will have quite and solitude for a few days!

Anyway, I love my little pond.  I've grown to love it just as much for the water plants as for the fish.  Some people have a more natural pond with plants that grow in the bottom soil.  Which is best?  I think it all depends upon location.

I've recently read about a long, narrow water feature that was painted black on the bottom, but was only 1 inch deep.  No plants, no fish.  A reflecting pond.  You would still want to put it in the shade because of evaporation, and of course, always watch the children, but I think it might be a new project for me soon. Of course, I'm not going to mention the cement mixer!

All images were taken at the San Antonio Botanical Garden.

What about you?  Do you have a water feature?  Or do you have no desire for one?  Tell me, are you fond of ponds?


  1. I adore my pond as is built into the side of the patio on an incline with a waterfall...carefully placed in the sun with no fish due to the predators around was dug and then a black liner was fitted around the dug out area with multiple in and out so it appears is our haven so I understand your fondness for ponds...

  2. I love the looks of a pond, but can't have one because of the dogs. Even if I managed it so they couldn't get in, the mosquito factor would stop me but I think they are stunning in people's yards.
    Cher Sunray Gardens

  3. I want a pond! Unfortunately, the closest thing I have is a bird bath. I was gasping at the fabulous pool you featured, thinking this was your own garden, till you mentioned it was the San Antonio Botanical Garden!

  4. Donna - Your pond sounds wonderful! I bet it really does sound wonderful with the water cascading down the waterfall, too. I can understand no fish. I think we've had a few raccoon visitors in the past!

    Cher - If the water is running, or you have fish, you won't have mosquitoes. Of course, dogs have to be overlooked the same as children. We had a neighbor's dog come wade in our pond every morning for a while! The fish did not like that! :)

    deb - haha Oh, how i WISH!!! In that case, people would be running toward my concrete mixer to see how I did it! ;)

  5. I love ponds as well. I have a very small pitcher pump pond and I love hearing the water pouring out of it. All the neighbor hoods cats think it is for them to drink out of. LOL! I would love to have a big one but not enough land around my house that is not already used for other things.So my little one will have to do me. I like the natural looking ponds the best I think but that is a huge one you have pictured going into the pool.

  6. Hi Holley, I have a pond, it cme with the house. I like it, but I don't love it. I would not have chosen it. I would love something more like Donna has - if you look at her blog .. Well hers is my ideal sort of pond. Beautiful. Are there photos of yours on your blog?

  7. I love water features in the garden... would love to see pics of yours!

  8. Lona - I bet your pitcher pump pond is adorable! Especially with the cats drinking out of it! I love ponds, but I also love any water feature, no matter how big or small.

    Gardening Blog - Sorry you don't love your pond. Could you fix it somehow? There are glimpses of my pond on this blog. Although not a great pic, the one that shows the most is probably from Feb. - the post is entitled "The Sound of Spring".

    Carolyn - Looks like I'll be putting together a new blog post with pics of my pond. It's nothing like the beauty at the SA Botanical garden!

  9. I grew up with a real pond in my back yard, and I miss it. I like the pottery jug idea. What powered the pump? Did you plug it in? What kind of pump? Do you have photos? I would love your advice. I am thinking this might make a good father's day present for my husband.

  10. Carolyn - We purchased a pond pump from a big box center. And yes, it was plugged in to an outdoor outlet, the cord we just hid in the plantings. I wish I had photos, but sorry, I don't. To the pond pump, we attached plastic tubing that went just to the top of the rim of the jar. (Lesson learned: Use rigid, not flexible plastic tubing. The hardest part is finding one that fits the pond pump.) Here's a website that might be useful: Good luck!

  11. What beautiful gardens! I enjoyed the tour. Thanks so much for visiting my blog and leaving a comment. I agree with you about how interesting it is that such large peonies can come from those small buds. Nature is amazing!

    Cheers from Canada.

  12. I thought those fountains looked familiar. Lived there for 12 years. Those gardens are really improving. nice post. I am beginning a feature in the near future. Probably a recessed stock tank.

  13. I love ponds at parks and city gardens, but I wouldn't want one in my yard. To me a pond associates with lots of work, and my yard is very small for it anyway.
    I enjoyed these pictures. So beautiful and relaxing.

  14. Those photos are beautiful. I was running towards your garden and then got redirected to San Antonio. I love the water feature but settles with a bird bath and some containers with lotus.

  15. The pictures of the water features are beautiful. I am drawn to them as well, the sound is so relaxing. Thanks for stopping by my blog.

  16. Hi Holley - I love your pond too and the way it morphed from its jug beginnings. Quite a constructive undertaking too when helpers vanish at the sound of a cement mixer. My pond is just the black plastic version without filter so birds assume it's a bath

  17. I would love to have a pond and/or a water feature. The sound of water is so calming. I love the woodland look pond.

  18. My parents used to have a fountain/stream/pond feature and my favourite part was watching the birds take baths in the shallow streambed. I don't know that I would ever have a large water feature but I do really like the small fountains like your antique jug.

  19. Diane - I agree. I love these water features. They would be wonderful to have, but a little much perhaps for most residences.

    greggo - It was a beautiful garden to tour. I loved seeing all the different plantings there. A recessed stock tank - what a great idea for a pond! It will be fun to see what you do with it.

    Olga - You're right, they are a bit of work, no matter how big or small. Smart to think of maintenance before jumping in!

    One - Lotus in containers must look beautiful. That is such a great idea! I may have to give that a try!

    Sheila - I think the sound is one of the nicest things about a water feature. I love movement in any type of water feature.

    Laura - I bet the birds love bathing in your pond! How wonderful to be able to see wildlife taking advantage of the water we provide.

    Becca - Woodland style ponds are so beautiful. I could never quite achieve it correctly. I think most of what makes it so beautiful are the plantings.

    Marguerite - I love big ponds that hold fish, but the small ones provide water, movement, sound, and possibly plantings, so I don't think a big pond is ever truly necessary, unless the focus is fish!

  20. I love the pond at the farm for many of the same reasons. If you have photos of all your pond iterations, please post. I took out my water feature at the house because it was a lot of work to bring my pump in for winter, but I loved the sound it made by the patio. I replaced the inground feature with an above ground one and kinda did the opposite of you.

  21. Love water features - for us and for wildlife. Our little bubbler we made with kitty litter pan/aquarium filter has gone out - ? We have an above-ground stock tank (110 gal) with minnows. Had a solar pump on it but didn't work well. We also have another smaller tank near the house in which I plan to install a plug-in pump. Finally, we have a big hippy wading pool I want to turn into a pond, but it requires some engineering and a lot of work, so haven't embarked on that, yet.

    I haven't been to San Antonio in awhile - that looks lovely!

  22. Gosh I thought all those images were of your pond! I like ponds too. I have a bathtub pond. Small and perfect for me. My friend made a cement pond-herself. It was a big job with a waterfall cascading down an iron furnace on her property. I could never tackle that kind of job-it's hard and she is most tough. Not sure if she had a cement mixer but I'd think that would make the job go much faster. You can do it! Good luck! Personally on the soil or cement bottom-I think it depends on the setting but both would work fine. I grow plants in my cast iron tub no problem.

  23. I thought those are from your garden! I too love a water feature and I have a small concrete pond with lots koi fish, water hycinth and other aquatic plants..Its so calming to hear the water trickles from an urn or just to watch the fish. Please show us your pond, they sound so lovely!

  24. I love your pond as well! That ornate spillway is absolutely to die for!

  25. Love the photos of the Botanical Garden pond...lovely! Someday I would like to add a pond to our backyard. We are just waiting to figure where would be the best spot. We want it to be a place where we could spend time.

  26. GWGT - I would do the same thing if I were in a colder zone. My pond is not hardly any trouble in winter, as it rarely freezes on top, and certainly never very far down. I wish I had photos of the different water features, but I don't think I do.

    Cynthia - I'd love to see all your different pond features. I understand about the lot of work - and as hot as it is, now is not the time to start a project!

    Tina - a bathtub pond! I can just imagine it, filled with plants. It sounds lovely.

    p3chandan - koi fish have such personalities! I love them, although I only have goldfish now. I agree it is calming to hear the sound of water or to watch the fish.

    Cathy and Steve - That spillway is lovely, isn't it? When I saw it, I fell in love. Mine is miniscule in comparison. Nothing near as ornate or beautiful, or large, or impressive!

    Sage Butterfly - Finding the right spot is smart. It's a feature that needs to be enjoyed.


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