The Hub and I cleaned the pond this past weekend.  While unnecessary for the health of an aquatic environment (pond scum smell isn’t the least bit off-putting for the fish, plants, or insects), we start anew each spring with a thorough cleaning.  Occasionally, we’ve skipped the chore in favor of other demands.

Fish were removed and stored in containers for the day; water was drained into the gardens, which love the rich liquid;  lilies and bog plants were separated, then re-potted; leaves and pond-bottom gunk was scooped out, bucketed, and dumped into the compost bin.  The aquatic environment is now refreshed and renewed for a year of lush growth.

After the work–it’s a long day–I photographed the less foliage-covered, fresh watered pond.  I’m struck by what this shot shows.

Aside from the beauty and diversity that a pond (clean or otherwise) brings to a garden, what caught my imagination was representations of the traditional, though unscientific, four elements of the Western world: Earth, Air, Fire, Water.

Water:  it ripples and supports pond life. To the left of the photo, unseen, is the waterfall.  The force of the waterfall, combined with whatever breeze exits, moves the water across the pond, in gentle, incessant movement. 

Air:  the rippled water reflects the blue sky and white clouds.   In Air, but part of Earth, the overhanging trees are mirrored in the Water, bookending the clouds and sky.

Earth: limestone rocks border the pond.  These rocks are from the cemetery where our lily/our daughter, Shoshana, rests, and are as solid and permanent as our love for her.  The three pond lilies also rest–under water–which breathes life in each; rocks hug that source of life.

Fire: of a sort, in the sparkling Texas sun as its rays reach, and touch, Water.

Joining in today with Anna’s Flutter and Hum and her wonderful Wednesday Vignette.  Please pop over for garden, nature, and other musings.


Worth the Wait

A recent stroll in the back garden revealed surprises and eagerly awaited gifts. My one and only WinecupCallirhoe involucrata, is blossoming, a bit later than usual.

The Winecup is accompanied by spring greens and a cheery Clasping coneflower in the background.

This single bloom was the first of what might be a limited Winecup flowering engagement this spring.  Shade, which is becoming the norm for my back garden, is probably the culprit responsible for this tardy fuchsia offering.

The pollinators and I will enjoy these flowers over the next month, but I’m considering a move for this perennial native in the fall.  I think I have just the right spot–one delivering of full sun–that will treat this plant right.


This pretty was a welcomed surprise.

The wide green straps belong to iris, the lily foliage is slender.

I can tell you that it’s a Zephyranthes, but I’m not sure which one; if I ever knew the name, it’s long forgotten. I purchased some bulbs a few years ago from one of the stellar, locally owned nurseries here in Austin and happily planted away.   Foliage, plus occasional snowy blooms, have made appearances after rains, but over time, the floral representatives of Zephyrus (Greek god of the western wind) disappeared from my gardens.  I attribute the decline to the ever-increasing shade (that again!) and also, to heavy, clayey soil.  Rain lilies thrive in sun and also in situations where the bulbs aren’t disturbed.

I planted the bulbs at the opposite end of my garden from where this bit of serendipity popped up, so I suppose that Zephyrus did his job and blew seeds (one, anyhow) to a different home.

I’m tickled at the one–and look forward to more!


My Claude Ikins pond lily didn’t return this year.

It’s odd that a pond lily would decline, but so it did, with rotted roots and no new foliage.  I needed another lily to cover the pond surface, the foliage acting to decrease water temperature and serve to protect fish from fish-hungry birds.  I’m sorry that the Claude didn’t return, as I loved the pure yellow blooms and more importantly, so did a variety of pollinators. Perhaps I should have replaced it with the same brand, but I allowed myself talked into this gorgeous critter:

Wanvisa waterlily has vibrant pinky/orange petals with cream-to-yellow streaks; it  is a dramatic and richly colored lily. Though it didn’t happen with this first bloom, apparently Wanvisa will sometimes open with a section of petals rocking a Bride-of-Frankenstein streak of cream or yellow with the rest of the flower as you see it here.

I guess the lily thought that might be too wild for this gardener to handle for the debut bloom, so it’s demonstrating its more subdued side.

The lily pads are equally lovely, with deep burgundy mottling.  Individual pads are large and rapidly covering the pond surface. That Great blue heron who has visited will have to hunt his goldfish from some other pond.


The other water-lily in my pond is a Colorado, and pink, though of a tamer hue.

Tiny native bees working the lily.

It’s also a beautiful flower and the native bees are pleased with its donations of pollen and nectar.

These bees are most likely small Ceratina, sp., or Sweat, Lasioglossum, bees.


While the Colorado seemed the choice of the moment for the bees, don’t think that the Wanvisa is a slouch in the pollinator buffet department.

As if on cue, a small metallic bee flew in to the bloom, just as the camera clicked.


I think these two lilies will get along just fine and that the bees and the gardener will cheer their success.