Tuesday, January 15, 2013

No more pond

Is anyone else good at tangents? ...those things that take you off the what-should-be path and send you down the what-shouldn’t-be path? My brain is so capable of being switched-on to something with all the intensity of a nuclear blast. Have you ever tried to put a mushroom cloud back in the bottle? Blessedly, I only had to live with this tangent for two months instead of years and years.

You see, maintenance isn’t my strong suit. You knew that, right? Around Christmas the pond went from clear on Sunday to tea-colored on Monday and then black on Tuesday. I could only see the fish if they were a few inches from the surface. Miss Clueless was dumbfounded. That’s the thing about tangents. There’s never a knowledge prerequisite.

So Saturday I was going to fill it in, but then the goldfish were so cute so I tried to save the day. DH suggested the Shop-Vac to suck out the leaves. Then we put some one-inch foam and some quilt-batting in the tank to filter the water, but the vacuum only worked until the tank got full, so it was an on/off, on/off proposition that would likely take the rest of my life. Then I asked DH if the pump could be used to filter somehow. I know you know the answer to that question, but I have zero mechanical abilities. So I hooked up the pump appropriately. (No joking – I had to have him explain it three times. “Hook it up” just was not sufficient.)

The batting was getting blacker and blacker, and by 2AM the fish were visible just below the ledge. I was excited and decided what I needed was a Bio-filter for $62 and the required vinyl tubing for $15 – $20 and a vacuum for $25 if I could find one with more than three stars that half the reviewers on Amazon didn’t hate, but I wasn’t settled on all of that so I didn’t pull the trigger. I did find two books that looked to be the perfect solution to my ignorance of fish and ponds, and I ordered them.

Sunday morning I dashed out to see the clear water and the bottom of the pond. That didn’t happen. Visibility was still terrible even after filtering for 18 hours. I was dejected. I couldn’t get past the thought of killing the fish, so there was no decision on Sunday and no decision on Monday, but Tuesday was different. Different day, different tangent. I made the decision to go buy the bulk potting soil and fill ‘er up. Before I left I turned on the pump, and when I got back an hour later it was almost dry.

It's going to be my Hybrid Tea bed, my cutting bed. Well, la-de-da! Never had one of those before.
I was at Aldi today. They had body-bags (bare-root roses so named because they're stuffed in plastic, and they're kind of a no-no especially in Florida and prone to failure because their root systems are chopped short) for $4.97, so I got 'Heirloom' which I had been eyeing online, and it's soaking in water now. Possibly another tangent but I prefer experiment. Apparently, it gets bigger than I thought and may get some BS, so I'm going to plant it over by the post where the purple clematis is growing. Borrowed leaves are still leaves. I have hopes for the cuttings I got from the bouquets at the Festival of Roses. One is growing new shoots like crazy, and 'Sweet Juliet', 'Bride's Dream', and a couple others are doing well. They won't all fit, but I hope at least three will, and I have pots ready for the ones that don't fit.
Black dirt is indeed possible in Florida. You just have to truck it in. I threw on a bunch of Milorganite so the worms would hurry over, and then when I was cleaning up, I noticed two bags of Black Hen (chicken manure) that had been hanging around so long the plastic bags were disintegrating. So I threw them on. Well, not exactly. The former granules were now congealed into actual wet poo of a very solid consistency and stink-ee! Oh, my goodness! It was like tar, very hard to break up. If this turns out to be a very successful bed, I'll be using this stuff a lot.
Now on to the pretty faces of 'Clotilde Soupert, Climbing'. These blooms were quite large, almost 3 inches across.
Considering these were buds when we had a recent freeze, I'm amazed they're so gorgeous.
And they're fragrant, too.

When my work was done today (it only took four hours), I had the feeling I was back in my comfort zone, the place where I have the most control over what goes on. I’m comfortable with dirt. I know dirt. Dirt is good.


  1. Great post. What did you do with the fish? Your pond experience makes me Not want to try that.

    Enjoy your new roses and your black dirt looks fabulous.


  2. Thank you, FlowerLady. The fish have joined our other pets in the garden. It's amazing how living things - no matter how small - can tug on our hearts. Except the squirrels, of course. I actually resorted to a pellet gun yesterday without success, naturally. 'Vanity' now has a beautiful new cane chewed off by one of these awful creatures.

  3. Beautiful roses! Ánd.....I am looking forward to see your roses flowering in the new pond bed.

  4. Pond bed... that's cute, Janneke.

  5. My Clotilde Soupert, Cl hasn't bloomed yet. (St. Pete isn't that much further South) I did the same this year with some body bag roses. I bought a dozen or so to fill in some bare areas. I'll be putting them on Fortuniana after Mother's Day. After that, I'm not quite sure what I'm going to do in my back yard. We removed a huge pine tree, a fish tail palm, half of our old citrus trees and a storage shed.I'm thinking plant a couple hundred cuttings of Fortuniana. I've never had the extra room. I can finally plant Sally Holmes!
    Andrew Grover

    1. Wow, Andrew, space!! Your brain must be spinning with all of your options. Can't wait to read about your plans on the ARF. hehe

      My Clotilde was still blooming from the fall which has been just a sprinkling. This isn't her spring bloom. We've had a freeze so I don't expect anymore flowers til spring. It's very curious how the two CS bushes and the climber (all in the front) all bloom at the same time. That is quite miraculous to me that plant clones behave identically.

      It's great that you can bud cheap bareroot roses onto Fortuniana. The sky's the limit for you and the varieties you can grow on Fort. All the best to you and your new expanded garden.