Pond Plants

I am off out this morning to find the gardens of a baking friend. A couple who I met through janiesmill who live about an hour from here, love to bake with good flour and have a small business growing plants native to this area.

I have dug a little canal to an overflow pond from John’s big pond that enables me to refresh the water in the pond every day. Just a little – but it has greatly reduced the green pond problem. We hooked up a pipe to the guttering of the house so when it rains that water is channeled into the pond. And it has rained every day since John went away so I have been able to get a LOT of fresh water into the pond and old water out.

Today I will take you to the gardens of my new friends – they have some native water hibiscus that you can plant directly into the water or around the edges. These plants in turn will help aerate the overflow pond which is really a big puddle! And I love to plant natives – especially bog plants in our swampy land.

Having said that – this pond lettuce is definitely not native and is multiplying fast. I am sure it is an invasive species somewhere! In the winter we will place a collection of plants in the basement because they will not survive the winter here.

The end has begun for the big barn. John discovered a broken beam in there yesterday. Needless to say the cows are out of the barn now ( they actually did not need to be in there anyway) and he will do some maintenance but these barns are over a hundred years old. This one has pretty solid asbestos roof, none of the wood is tantalized so rot is present. But that huge roof will always be a worry.

We have been so humid and so wet for so long that there is mold on my oilskin coats hanging in the house so I bet if I went through the hay stacked above the floor in the barn I would find wet hay from that back window: But I am not going up there until I am sure it will not collapse. Though the hay has to be moved regardless.

I am sure it will probably last another twenty years but that asbestos roof which we have been advised not to touch ( it is out of harms way up there) is very heavy. So, stand by for updates.

I have counted a total of FOUR chooks wandering about the farm with little chicks in tow. They are impossible to get shots of as their mothers are very good at hiding them. Probably a total of 24 new chicks ( thank goodness I had already given away that first flock of 13 chicks) we officially have TOO MANY. Plus they are wild – getting all of those tiny genies back in the chook house bottle is going to be a mission. But I only want hens on the hen house so we have a while before I know what we have. Plus they have to survive this environment.

I never saw that great hawk/eagle again. Hopefully she is busy with her own chicks.

OK! I am off out to look at plants. I will check in later. You all talk amongst yourselves until I get back!! I love it when you all answer each other’s comments.


miss c

35 Comments on “Pond Plants

  1. Asbestos is a complete PITA – you’ve had good advice on not disturbing it, it’s very dangerous. In the UK it was used for fire control, so it was and still is, in the doors and roofs of schools, offices and many homes. You have to get an expert team in (with Hazmat suits) in order to remove it here. I think it’s fairly low risk if undisturbed though.

    • Yes! And if removed it just becomes a problem somewhere else and I do not trust disposal in this country. It would probably end up in a tip somewhere- unmanaged. Best we take care of our own problems. Plus you have to PAY the people on the hazmat suits. No one can afford that. It would be tens of thousands. It is fine up there way above ground. As long as we can keep the structure strong enough.

      • We have very strict regulation on asbestos here in Canada as well and it is a nightmare to navigate. However asbestos in this form is not hazardous in this form. If the shingles are in good shape I would reuse them on a new barn if you are going to rebuild. With common sense precautions similar to any material that can generate dust is more than enough to deal with asbestos. While in construction for decades I dealt with asbestos products with no ill effects. Asbestos is a good product in some applications; roofing, siding and if I could get my hands on it I’d use it.

  2. My hope is that John can securely ‘prop up’ the old barn so that it will last at least another 20 years. The asbestos, as Mad Dog mentioned above, is a worry,
    but like he says, if left alone should be okay. After all, it has been okay for over 50 years! The duck and overflow ponds sound like quite the project. I know they will be gorgeous when finished!

  3. Why is the cage in the pond? Interesting way to solve the green pond dilemma by running in clean water and digging the channel away from it. I had duck weed once and it grows like mad smothering the pond. I’m in a new place now and the neighbor’s small pond turns green but is refreshed after a rain. Sorry to hear about your barn….so much room in there you are gonna lose.

  4. The barn! In one of your last posts you had a shot of the inside barn, near the stalls. I was so surprised to still see that old place standing as each year with you I have expected this news. Pancaked animals would not be a good thing, nor would coming into contact with asbestos. I hope that everyone stays safe as you work out the logistics of this issue. Maybe at the very least invest in some hard hats!

  5. The old wooden barns are nearly extinct now. 25 – 30 years ago, I was obsessed with photographing and painting decaying and broken wooden barns. I eschewed any wooden barn that was well maintained. I didn’t know then and never really considered that it would eventually be hard to find a wooden barn broken or not. They aren’t worth preserving as a working barn, I get that. The economics dont make sense. But it feels sad nevertheless.

    • I have loved your tiny creature teacup for so long and have wondered who he is. I’m embarrassed to say I don’t recognize what kind of creature he /she is.

    • It is sad / and when they put siding on an old barn it is never the same. They weren’t built to last a long time / wooden structures never do. We live amongst sandcastles / it is a life lesson.

  6. If you wind up with extra shingles, let’s talk. I have a house roof I’m trying to maintain, as you can well imagine.

  7. Ok, this will be my 3rd very long comment.I don’t know what happened to the first 2.
    I used to work in a very old, beautiful nursery here and I was know as the “pond princess” as that was my section and I learned as much about ponds and beyond as I could at the time.
    One thing that algae loves is sunshine and in order to avoid that green water you must have at least 65% of your pond surface shaded. You can achieve that with overhead shade from trees, etc. but the most effective way is with surface shade from “floaters” such as water lettuce, fairy moss, lily pad leaves but one of the best plants is water hyacinth. They can be invasive in some climates but they also act as nature’s dust mops as their roots that hang down in the water attract all kinds of dirt and debris that collect in the pond. You should also have some sort of small fish that will eat mosquito larvae and a non invasive snail that will eat algae and other bits off rocks and the sides and bottom of your pond. If you have any bull frogs around and if they are not native to your area, I would get rid of them as they eat other smaller, native frogs such as leopard frogs. That fellow in the 3rd photo looks like one.
    Ok, probably more pond information that you wanted or may already know but I would love to chat ponds with you anytime, if you’d like!
    Happy Ponding!

    • No that’s great! I love that you know so much about pond plants. I came home with trees to shade the pond / it is shaded in the afternoon. So I have a trio of sycamores. The frogs are obviously not mine to control – there are literally hundreds maybe thousands down here in the swamp. The water lettuce is under-way and I will find some water hyacinths.
      The ducks will eat any fish in a sitting. They love the water lettuce too!
      I like the idea of snails / I wonder if the ducks will eat those / but everything needs to come in during the winter when the pond freezes solid.
      Thank you so much for the info!!

      • Ducks love snails.
        Also I had an epidemic of duck weed and algae and they said it was because my pond was shaded. Hard to know what is the right thing to do.

  8. Cecilia, I’m sorry to hear about the barn problem but very relieved John noted the broken beam before someone got badly hurt or killed. And good luck with your plant hunt.

  9. Hopefully, with good maintenance that barn will stay sturdy enough to support its worrisome roof for many more years. The pond is looking good, and if you choose the right ‘weeds’ for it, they can be the most amazing fertiliser if you have to clear it out from time to time. I’m thinking mainly of azolla, which I’ve used many times as a compost activator. It takes up excess nutrient runoff from surrounding land as a result of flooding, and then gives it back into the compost.

    • Yes! The plants I am buying are wet water ground plants to plant around the run off pond. My first foray into grey water planting – however this area is not short of water so it will only be the run off from the pond.

  10. Here in Australia, our 1930’s house walls are constructed of asbestos fibro and our neighbours’ similarly plus one also has an asbestos roof. No younger tradespeople want to deal with it but the older generation have the skills to do so without fuss. I hope the life of the barn can be safely prolonged.
    Your pond project is very interesting. I’m wondering if there any native plants and pondlife that might hibernate naturally through your winter freeze, and/or cope with ducks who eat almost anything…

  11. Oh right! I forgot about the ducks…now that is a problem with plants, fish, etc. and yes, ducks love snails so those probably wouldn’t work! Hopefully more overhead shade will help with any excess algae but sounds like the ducks will eat that too! 🙂 And I also didn’t realize you had so many frogs around from your land. For some reason I didn’t think it was that swampy but then again…you are in the Midwest and you get a ton of water probably without a lot of good drainage because of the surrounding fields in agriculture? Anyway, it sounds like you will have it all figured out especially with your new system to catch overflow water and recirculate it back to your pond. Brilliant!
    Did you ever see the documentary Biggest Little Farm? It’s great and I think of you when I watch it! 🙂

  12. Your pond project is very interesting. Algae is a problem in so many ponds ours included, our Lilly’s are big now and cover most of it, so it’s ok this year. Boo boo is looking fine. 😀

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