Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Stock Tank Fountain

Earlier in the spring, our garden pond was drained for a major cleaning.  Check out this link to see the pictures from the Koi Pond Cleanup.

During the planning phase of the pond cleanup, we faced a dilemma about what to do with all of the fish.  To give us more time to accomplish the cleaning and adjust the water quality, we decided to establish a new 6 foot round stock tank as a holding facility for the fish.

When the cleanup was complete, we faced another dilemma; what should we do with the stock tank now?  Having an extra holding tank for the fish has many benefits, so we decided we should keep the tank running.

The tank is tucked in a shady spot up against our fence line.  Can you see it?

You have to come in a little closer and look directly down the path.  It's hidden just enough that it is a nice surprise when you come around the corner.

The large stepping stones were purchased for another project, but were never used.  Set into a little decomposed granite, the flagstones fit perfectly into this spot.

Some of the terra cotta wall blocks were leftovers, but when we went to purchase more to finish the job, we found that they were making the new blocks slightly smaller.  Kinda like those 1 gallon ice cream containers that aren't quite a gallon anymore.  Grrrr.  

When I saw this bell shaped pot at a local nursery, I thought it would add just the right touch to our tank.  The bubbler fountain head adds oxygen to the water in addition to adding a splashy sound.

Life in the stock tank has adjusted quickly.  This Panama Pacific water lily doesn't mind a little shade, so I decided to keep it in the stock tank.

Parrots feather is at home in sun or shade lending it's lacing foliage to either setting.

Some of the plantings in this area came from various cuttings that I made last fall.  This angel wing begonia is one of the easiest plants to propagate.  I usually grow them in pots, but in mild winters they will come back from the ground.  I'll take insurance cuttings again in the fall, since you never know what winter has in store.

Coleus is another easy plant to propagate.  This plant will not survive our winters here in Zone 8, so I always take cuttings of the ones I want to save.

My original variegated purple heart is not doing so good (thanks to the bunnies), but this cutting taken last fall is really growing well.

Nature blessed me with some mature plants that make this area look well established.  One of the native plants in this new space is the American beautyberry.  The flowers of the beautyberry are not very flashy, but that's okay.  The real show will come later in the fall when the plants will be loaded with lovely purple berries.

So, you might be wondering how the pond is doing after the big cleanup.  Today it's looking pretty good, but it does take some time for the pond biology to equalize.  We've had algae blooms and cloudy water most of the spring.  My husband has been diligently cleaning the filters and waiting for things to find a balance.  Looks like we're almost there.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013


Gardening is mostly about the plants, but sometimes it's about the pots.  I have a growing collection of pottery that I absolutely love.  Today I would like share some pictures of some of that pottery.  Let me know if you see a favorite.

These cobalt blue pots are the perfect poolside accessory, but finding plants to live in them has been a little challenging due to the sunny and hot conditions they must endure.  I've tried different plants over the years, finally settling on these pineapple guavas back in 2011.  They looked okay at first, but slowly started to go down hill over time.  

I was stuck on what to do to freshen up these pots, so I called on my fellow bloggers for some suggestions.  They had so many great ideas that it was difficult to choose.  I finally settled on colorguard yucca, coreopsis, and asparagus fern.  I love the greens and yellows with the cobalt blue. 

So, what happened to the pineapple guava you might ask?  I found a spot for them nearby and they immediately rewarded me with some flowers.  I guess they are happier in their non-ceramic home.

My favorite containers are the colorful, glazed ceramic pots that cost a fortune.  Darn, I wish they weren't so expensive!  I add a few of these ceramic pots each year, but I'm always on the look out for less costly terracotta pots.  I love these novelty animals pots and plan to add more.  My little kitty has been with me for years, but I recently added the hen and the quail purchased at The Outdoor Marketplace in Bastrop.

Jewel of Opar (front), Pork and Beans Sedum (middle)

I pounced on a recent pottery sale at Hill Country Water Gardens.  The sale was 40% off for 2 door buster hours from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Saturday, May 25th.  The catch was that was the morning we had the rain storms.  Did that stop me?  Nope!  

The Hill Country staff were awesome as usual!  I can't say enough good things about this place. Their staff were out there in the rain helping me pull together my pottery selections and they even carefully packed all of the pottery into my vehicle.  I got some great deals and had a really good time.

My first selection from Hill Country was this trio of pots now housing 2 plumeria and an umbrella sedge.  My largest plumeria is so tall and top heavy that I couldn't keep it standing.  I'm hoping this big, heavy pot will keep it upright.  So far, so good. 

My second set of new comers are the beautiful turquoise pots below.  The larger pot in the back is planted with a foxtail fern, an acuba, and an umbrella sedge.  The smaller pot in the front is a coleus that jumps out and demands your attention amidst all of the green.

This little pot was purchased specifically for this pond crinum which was a pass-a-long from Pam at Digging.  Here's a link to her blog post, New Bloom in the Stock Tank Pond, so you can see what it will look like when it blooms.  

In my pond I usually use plain black pots for pond plants, but since this plant needs to sit out of the water a bit, I decided to look for something more attractive.  I think they look great together.

I love to find the perfect pot for a plant.  This moon cactus and this pot seem to be meant for each other.  Must be kismet. 

I like finding cool stuff to re-purpose as plant containers.  I think this box will make an excellent home for these ghost plants.

This planter is a re-purposed glass shade used for light fixtures.  How's that for a cool idea!  The shade came with a drainage hole already in place and all I had to do was add the plant.

Euphorbia graminea ‘Inneuphdia’ (Diamond Frost)

My Tonka truck planter is trucking along.  It may need to be replanted soon, but if you want to see it when it was first created, check out this old blog, Tonka Tour.

Galvanized stock tanks are very popular for use as containers.  I decided to paint this one to blend with my house and the orange ceramic pots that sit nearby.  

The galvanized stock tank above is a part of a growing collection of cactus that I've been lining up along the western wall of my house.  Nothing much ever wanted to grow there, but these cactus seem pretty happy. 

Turquoise pots are my favorites.  Can you tell?

I even found this turquoise mushroom.  Too cute.

Containers are a fun way to experiment with interesting plant combinations.  Here are three combinations that I think are particularly striking.  The first is a combination of Hawaiian ti and lime green potato vine.  This combination is so colorful, I don't even miss the lack of flowers.  

The second plant combination is the strappy variegated foliage of this cordyline combined with the leafy foliage of the coleus.  The not quite tone on tone color scheme really makes the yellow and green variegation pop.

The third plant combination came from an idea I saw during a garden tour.  The homeowner had combined bronze dyckia and silver ponyfoot in a planting bed.  This was so striking to me that I'm trying to duplicate the look in this pot.  The ponyfoot has a way to go yet to fill out the pot, but I think you can get the idea.

I love my ceramic pottery, but without plants adding interest to the shiny surfaces, I doubt I would like my pottery so well.  Sometimes it's about the plants and a simple pot will do.