Funny business

It’s spring, late spring and heating up, but romance is in the air. The newest arrivals have been seen in the koi pond, both fish and Northern Brown water snakes (below). There are concerns about both. 

The pond is home to many dozens of koi and a few goldfish, probably over a hundred not counting the tiny new arrivals, and while the pond is quite large it can hold only so many. A year ago some small koi were moved to the smaller ponds in the garden, and most likely I’ll have to net and transfer more later this year. This is a relatively simple process, but it spooks the remaining fish for a few weeks, so they’re reluctant to surface to feed.

The pond snakes are a bit more of a problem, lurking as they do under boulders at the pond’s edge. I suppose they’re mostly harmless, except to smaller fish that stray too close to the dense thicket of irises and sweetflag in the pond’s filtration area (above), but my wife and I must be cautious with every step around the pond not to encroach of their space.

With the abundance of wildlife in the garden, it’s not surprising that there should be garter and black snakes, but rarely are these seen. Until yesterday, that is, when my wife witnessed two mating on the concrete slab outside our basement door. She was not pleased with the prospect of more snakes, but they keep to themselves and certainly do more good than harm. While I’ve had a few accidental run ins with the pond snakes, there have been no black snake incidents other than one that somehow got into our kitchen a few years ago. 

And of course, there’s more going on than just fish and snakes. The bees are busy doing their thing. In recent weeks I’ve seen far more honeybees than in recent years, and there are always abundant bumblebees. The result of their pollination efforts should be bunches of red berries on hollies in a few months.