Parts of this country have been deluged by rain in recent weeks, so a gardener must be pardoned for even the mildest complaint about too much rain. One storm after another has turned the rear garden into a swamp, which in recent years it has become for too many months of the year, but rarely in June. I suspect that a few local basements have flooded, and I suppose I should be ashamed to whine that a tall holly has finally succumbed to the dampness. Several shrubs and a Japanese maple planted years ago when this area was dry are not happy in the wet soil, though I figure that these will recover once the ground dries. Perhaps in July.
I am enthused that buttonbush and sweetshrubs planted at the margins of the worst of the wetness are thriving, and while I thought when this area was replanted a few years ago that I am too old to ever see it become full again, now I imagine that this is only a few years away. I expect to be around at least that long. With Japanese iris and Sensitive ferns planted in standing water and shrubs to the side, I think that perhaps the area could grow to be more pleasing than when a large ‘Arnold Promise’ witch hazel and the holly filled the space, though the fragrant blooms of the witch hazel are dearly missed in late winter.
With ample rainfall I have not had to top off the garden’s five ponds to compensate for evaporation. The oldest pond blew a plumbing fitting a few days ago to spew water, eroding loose soil from between hellebores and hostas planted beneath the stewartia that borders the pond. But, little damage was done. A few connectors, a short section of pipe, and glue took care of the problem in a few minutes, and a thunderstorm was forecast for the evening so I did not have to refill the one third empty pond.
Unrelated to rain, there are many more baby fish in the koi pond than I’ve ever seen. Of course, they will not be still to count, but I guess that there are a hundred or more. In recent years I’ve estimated there were seventy five medium and large koi in the pond, and though they were growing larger, the numbers did not seem to be rising substantially. Until this spring, and I have no explanation for the exploding population.
The pond is large (maybe 1,300 square feet), but I do not suppose that it can manage this doubling (or more) of the number of fish. I must rethink the pond’s simple filtration, and as many koi as I can catch will be moved to the other four ponds in the garden. I don’t expect this will be an easy process, and I’ve avoided keeping fish in the other ponds in recent years to protect them from herons that frequent the area. My wife hesitates to move the small koi to ponds that are not safe from predators, but I have no choice but to move them and then figure how to discourage the heron.
Before the koi pond was constructed, herons nearly cleaned out one pond, but in the years since trees and shrubs have grown considerably to provide more cover, and possible to make a heron less comfortable that it can easily flee. There are a few other tricks to keep the herons away, which I’ve haven’t had to bother with since the koi pond is much deeper, but again I’ll need to watch out to protect the relatively defenseless fish.