Country view: Ponds | Living the Country Life

Country view: Ponds

"Country view" asks you to address subjects on which you are the experts. This month you shared your best pond stories.
David Duval has found that the weeds at his pond's edge are teeming with wildlife. Here, a butterfly perches on a blade of grass.
Lori Alexander turned lily pads into her first container garden. She now has four "garden ponds," each of which has a bog, plants, and driftwood.

A place of wonder; Garden ponds

A place of wonder

When our family moved to Loranger, Louisiana, 16 years ago, we decided to dig a pond. I allowed the weeds to grow up at the pond's edge to attract wildlife. Stocking the pond with fish came shortly thereafter, providing a fishing sport as well as a food supply. Some of the most beautiful things can be found in or around our pond. It is teeming with both animal and plant life.

As I walk around the pond, frogs jump from the edge, while the mosquito hawks battle each other for landing rights. Bees and butterflies move from one plant to another, gathering nectar and pollen. Nearby, a turtle pops his head above the water's surface to see if I've gone yet. I notice a bluebird perched on the wire fence. She meticulously darts to the water, grabs something and brings it to her nearby nest, then back to the fence post where she does it all over again.

As I continue to walk, I hear the rat-a-tat-tat of a woodpecker as he digs into the old tree on the other side of the pond. Just as I cut the far corner, I see what looks to be a young heron standing at the water's edge. Lilies display colors of bright purple and yellow against bright green stems. As the sun goes down, I see bats swooping down over the water, picking off the mosquitoes. I head for the house, dwelling on the beauty of it all.

David Duval, Loranger, Louisiana

Garden ponds

Many years ago we were selling our river camp and I wanted to bring home a memento. So, I pulled up a lily and pads that were in the shallow water next to our wharf. I kept them in a large feed bucket. I added two goldfish, but I had to replenish the water about once a week because of evaporation and no pump. That was our first garden pond.

That first feed bucket expanded to four garden ponds, as we call them. They are varied in size. Our chickens and rooster like to drink from a round plastic child's pool that holds tadpoles, frogs, and water hyacinth. Our largest container pond is a black plastic horse trough. Each pond has bog and underwater plants, a pump, cinder blocks to give the fish a place to hide, and a piece of driftwood. The largest pond is the only pond with enough room for two small water lilies that bloom in the summer. All four of the ponds are surrounded by various plants that soften the look of the container and help add shade in the summer.

The ponds are living micro ecosystems and change with the seasons. They are not without maintenance, but are well worth the effort. A great way to end the day is to sit by one of the container ponds, watch the fish swim, and listen to the water as the frogs and crickets announce the evening.

Lori Alexander, Hammond, Louisiana

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