...and then this afternoon it rained, so I had a yardwork reprieve. But before that, and before we did today's workload, I remembered to take some pictures:
The fish pond is around 30' x 15' and it slopes in depth from about 18" at the 'low' end to maybe 3-1/2' at the 'high' end. Our house sits in what was part of the four-acre garden (here, any yard is a 'garden,' tho I still always think in terms of flower beds and vegetable gardens) of a huge old rectory. The rectory is long gone (in fact, the house that was erected on its foundation after it was demolished was built between the wars) and its garden was divided up into four or five lots. Ours is the one that had the fish pond they used to stock with fresh fish for supper, as opposed to the ornamental / water lily type.
In 1977, when this house was being constructed, Himself drained the old fish pond and put in a new lining (one of those rubber - plastic - polyethylene things) and in the bottom a filter that's probably around 5-feet square. He added a pump and stocked the pond with several koi, a few of which were still alive when I moved here. They eventually succumbed to stress, as a new house was being built across the road and the builders spent days - more like weeks, really - driving in pilings for the foundation. Pound pound pound - the constant thudding transmitted thru the ground fatally traumatized the fish. I had no idea they were so sensitive. The racket did a number on my nerves as well, tho at least I was working at the time and out of the house most days.
At any rate, when the last fish died we stopped running the pump all the time, and then after a few months when we turned it on it just kind of fizzled and quit, so we weren't filtering the water at all in several years. In addition, without the pump there was nothing to siphon out the dead leaves and pine needles that fell into the pond, so the debris accumulated in the bottom. And I told you about the duckweed - the picture above sort of shows some of it on the surface, but when we started, you couldn't even see any water, just a field of green - it practically looked like a lawn you could walk across.
Also, there were ferns, overgrown vinca and ivy, and even saplings that had seeded themselves and turned into small bushy trees, not to mention scads of weedy nettles and thistles and things, all overgrowing the pond to the degree that you could hardly see the the edges. We still have a lot to do, but you can see that things are starting to look tidier, and certainly the water has regained some of its clarity:
After the pictures we worked on trimming back some of the other plants, like the ones that were hanging in the water - no mean feat, that! Himself has waist-high waders and he's the one who gets in the water to do the dirty work. I'm just as glad not to have to.
When we get that section finished, I plan to go right around the house. One of the first things on my agenda is pruning back (severely) the two rhododendrons beside the living room:
That's the two tall spindly ones you see on the left; I'll take them down to the height of the surrounding azaleas and cotoneasters.
When we started, this section under the trees was choked with brush, seedlings, overgrown branches - completely solid, up to a height of four to five feet:
Coming across the yard from the other side you couldn't even see the fish pond at all. Now, it starting to shape up into a real focal point from that angle. I'd like to put a small bench there under the trees.
Last but not least, my - ah - tulip bed:
I know, I know, but I told you, I'm not a gardener. I don't enjoy it. But I like a neat and tidy yard, and there's only one way to get it. The rock garden / flower bed is also on my to-do list.
So we spent the morning digging - and I mean literally digging - muck out of the bottom of the pond. Himself gets in with a sort of pitchfork and flops gunk up onto the side. I load the stuff into a wheelbarrow and trundle it over to a place in back where I can dump it over our retaining wall (the other side is part of our yard too - I don't think the neighbors would appreciate this stuff piling up in their yards), which involves a lot of lifting it out of the wheelbarrow and heaving it over the wall. Trundle the barrow back, repeat. All morning. After about eight loads we called it - it was lunchtime - and not long after lunch it rained.
That's probably just as well. We've rested our backs and, in my case anyway, leg muscles, so we can go again tomorrow after we get groceries. The leaf-and-pineneedle debris has to settle a little anyway. It gets stirred up and swirls around, so the pitchfork method only gets the bigger sodden clumps.
I guarantee, I am keeping after the maintenance from now on until we sell the house!!! Deo volente, lol...
Goodnight, Sparklers, wherever you are!