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A Bevy of Beautiful Butterflies

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3 SIMPLE Ways to Get a Bevy Of Butterflies

Attracting butterflies to your yard is easier than you might think. Planting the right bushes is the most important step, but butterflies will come in droves, and even establish residence, if you provide them a few more simple comforts.

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WATER, THE NEW GOLD

They love a water source. Shallow, with little to no movement, like a shelf in a pond, or even a standing bird bath will work great.

A shallow decorative dish with some small stones in it will work too.

Keep it fresh by changing daily, if it is in a small dish.

No need to create a mosquito haven or an algae ridden mess.

SAFE SHELTER

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Butterflies are delicate, with huge wings to catch air, and a body so light weight, they have trouble fighting the smallest breezes. If you can give them some protection from wind, they will LOVE you for it!

Put up some wind barriers like small decorative fences, paint some old doors and stand them up.

Stand some old, cool looking windows, or even just plant some small trees and shrubs big enough to help block breezes.

Just don’t block the sun too much because butterflies are tiny, decadent, sun worshippers. They love to drink the heated nectar from a sun-warmed flower.

Make sure there are open sunny spaces for your butterfly brood. They will reward you by lounging lazily about the place displaying all their beautiful colors.

PERFECT PLANTS

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Now for the crowning glory of any garden, blooming beauties to attract bevies of butterflies.

Here is a list of plants you can add to your garden to bring those babies to your yard.

And speaking of babies, the right selection of plants will also stimulate the butterflies to lay eggs!

Plants of choice vary from species to species, so if you want a particular type of butterfly to breed, make sure you have the plants they prefer for their young. Monarchs for instance, prefer milkweed.

Allium, Aster, Bee Balm, Butterfly Bush, Cat Mint, Clove Pink, Cornflower, Day lily, False Indigo, Fleabane, Floss Flower, Globe Thistle, Golden Rod, Holly Hock, Honeysuckle, Lavender, Lilac, Lupine, Mallow, Milkweed, Mint, Pansy, Phlox, Privet, Purple Coneflower, Rock Cress, Sage,. Sea Holly, Snap Dragon, Stone Crop, Sweet Alyssum, Sweet Rocket, Tickseed, and Zinnia.

Happy Planting!!!

Leslie Triplett, The Pond Gal

Life is Short, Enjoy Koi!

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3 Beautiful Ways to get Hummingbirds to Your Yard in DROVES

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3 Beautiful Ways to get Hummingbirds to Your Yard in DROVES

Who doesn’t love a colorful, friendly hummingbird, flitting in and out of your garden? And, yes, I did say friendly. Provide a happy habitat for them to hang out in, and they will get to know you. They actually become down right NOSY! I have one in my yard that follows me around as I do my outside chores, buzzing along just above my shoulder, checking out everything I do!

If I pick up a hose to water some plants, he’s right in the stream, drinking some fresh water. I think that may be his true goal, but I’m still not sure.

waterfall2016WONDERFUL WATER

Hummingbirds love running water. They much prefer it to standing water. They are quite particular when it comes to the freshness of their water!

Water is critical for small birds to stay hydrated, and because of a hummingbird’s extremely fast metabolism, they need constant access to drinking water.

Provide them a gently cascading waterfall, or a pot with water flowing out the top and down the sides. They love not only to drink from these gentle cascades, but they also love to bathe in them.

Hummingbirds love to be clean and fresh and will bathe daily if given the right water flow, and there is almost nothing as cute as a tiny hummingbird bathing in your water feature.

BITTY BUGS

Hummingbirds also eat a surprising number of insects every day, including mosquitoes. If you include some plants that produce fruit that will attract insects, like fruit flies, hummingbirds will flock to your yard in droves. You can also put over ripe bananas out in a shallow dish to attract fruit flies.

beebalm-hummingbirdHummingbirds will consume twice their body weight daily in food, and up to eighty percent of this can be insects. That is a LOT of little bitty bugs.

FRAGRANT FLOWERS

Hummingbirds can be easily attracted to your yard by adding the right plants for them to feed from. They can be lured to stay by adding the other key components to make your yard a haven for them.

Here is a list of plants that hummingbirds are attracted to. Please research each plant before placing in your yard because some of these plants get HUGE!!

Happy planting!

Ajuga
Bee Balm
Begonia
Bleeding Heart
Butterfly Weed
Canna
Cardinal Flower
Century Plant
Columbine
Coral Bells
Cleome
Crape myrtle
Dahli
Dame’s Rocket
Delphinium
Fire Pink
Four O’ Clocks
Foxglove
Fuschia
Gilia
Geranium
Gladiolus
Glossy Abelia
Hollyhocks
Impatiens
Iris
Lantana
Liatris
Lily
Lupine
Nasturtium
Nicotiana
Paintbrush
Penstemon
Petunia
Phlox
Sage
Salvia
Scabiosa
Scarlet Sage
Sweet William
Verbena
Yucca
Zinnia

Pond Clean Out Tips that Could Save Your Koi!

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Pond Clean Out Tips that Could Save Your Koi!

Spring is here and you are itching to get out and plant some petunias, peas, and pond lilies.  We know it, because we feel the same way!

Here a a few quick tips to help you keep your koi fish safe while you get your pond cleaned up and ready to receive those gorgeous plants.

A bonus pre-tip to get you started, don’t try to catch your pond fish until you have the water drained down so low, that their back fins are almost out of the water.  This way there’s no chasing koi and goldfish around, just dip the net in, lure them into your koi bowl and catch them stress free with ease.

ONE

Should you pressure wash your pond?  We say, an emphatic no!  Pressure washing cleans the green stuff off of the rock faces on the inside of the pond. The drawback to that is, that green stuff is called a “biofilm” and has a pretty serious job in your pond.

Biofilm is responsible for helping consume biological debris, such as fish waste, and excess food, that hits the rocks. When you do your spring clean, and pressure wash that off, you lose a good portion of your filtration right at the start of the season. It then takes several weeks, sometimes months to grow it back.

Secondly, the main debris we want to clean out of your pond is behind the rocks, not on top of them, so pressure washing the fronts of them isn’t actually getting rid of the problem.

Your rocks can build up a ton of debris behind them that contributes to the biological load in the pond, resulting in dirty looking water, the potential for sick fish, and undesirable algae growth, like hair algae, clumping algae, and green water algae.

Washing behind the rocks, helps to eliminate the build up and get the real problem out of your pond, and doesn’t remove that very helpful biofilm layer.

TWO

Once you have completed the clean out, we suggest boosting your pond’s ability to bounce back by adding beneficial bacteria for 14 days. During that time we double or triple the dose to push the good bacteria to peak levels.

If your normal dose is 1 teaspoon per 1000 gallons, add 2 or 3 per 1000 gallons for that critical first 14 days. After that resumes normal bacteria additions.

This additional bacteria does two things:

First, it helps boost your filter that has just been stripped of a lot of it’s beneficial bacteria colonies due to the pond cleaning.

Second, when the fish are pulled out and put back for the cleaning, they often stress out a little, causing them to release more ammonia than usual into the pond water. The extra bacteria will help to break this down.

THREE

Sometimes, just like a candlelight dinner with a bottle of wine, a pond full of fresh clean water inspires your koi to spawn, or breed.  I mean it’s clean, and clear, and beautiful?  Of course they want to spawn, right?

The interesting thing with koi is, there is no actual intercourse.  What happens when they spawn is first, much like humans, the male koi chase the female koi around the pond.

Here is where humans and fish begin to differ. While the male koi chase the females around the pond, the females release a BUNCH of eggs freely into the water as the males release a bunch of milt (koi sperm) freely into the water, and the sum total of this is a whole lot of biological waste.

Sure, some eggs get fertilized, attached to rocks or plants, and turn into baby koi, but the majority of the eggs and milt just start decaying in your pond water.  Suddenly, your previously crystal clear, clean water, starts looking cloudy and foamy.

This is a sign of very serious, potential problems.  We recommend you get another water change done immediately.  Somehow, the second water change doesn’t typically initiate a second spawning.  Just get a water change done, and fast, before you lose any fish, which is a very real possibility.

I hope these quick tips help you and your koi this spring.  Good luck and enjoy your pond!

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Life is Short, Enjoy Koi!

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The GHOST with the Most – SnapChat

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The GHOST with the Most – SnapChat

Do you believe in GHOSTS? I have proof that 100 million people believe in the SnapChat GHOST.

Here are 3 Reasons I GUARANTEE you’ll find value Following The Pond Digger on SnapChat!

BEHIND THE SCENES, SUPER SECRET STUFF

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Throughout my day in the pond world, whether I’m filming new #AskThePondDigger shows, Koi Discussions, Ponds Gone Wrong Episode, or getting ready to Broadcast Live on Periscope, I’m snapping it up and sharing valuable content that Pond Freaks and Geeks need to know!

In fact, my producer Dietmar Quistorf is constantly yelling at me to stop snapping and get back to work, as I let my Fans and Followers in on all the behind the scenes action.

Catch my freshest content for upcoming YouTube videos before the film even hits the editing table as I snap throughout our day filming.

EXCITING KOI ADVENTURES

When we are building a cool, new water feature, checking on the health of someone’s fish, or putting koi through our quarantine procedures, I snap quick videos and photos for my story too!

This means that you can actually watch the pond come to life instead of just some before/during/after shots on FaceBook or Instagram. It’s great fun to see my crew and I constructing, and playing throughout the day as we build someone’s dream right in their own backyard.

We treat our Koi at headquarters before offering them for sale to the public and we walk you through what we are doing, so you learn the proper procedures for a safe quarantine. We also go to homes to perform biopsies on client’s fish, and you learn signs of problems to look for and the methods we use to treat parasites and bacteria.

Plus, if you live too far for us to visit your pond, and you have a question or concern about it, you can send me some snaps so I can see your koi, and offer you suggestions!

POND PRO TIPS

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Every time I have an opportunity to share a Tip, Trick or Secret that could help a pond enthusiast shorten their learning curve in the hobby, I Snap It Up and post it to My Story!

I’ve Snapped Construction Tips and Tricks on how to cut stone, properly foam in a waterfall and even snapped the best methods for Handling and transporting Koi are just some of the Pond Pro Tips I’ve shared in the last week!

The opportunities for me to share content with you are endless! Catch me on SnapChat and I’ll have you believing in the Ghost in no time!

You can SNAP me at www.snapchat.com/add/theponddigger

Life is Short, Enjoy Koi!

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What’s Happening on YouTube!

YouTube Channel Updates!

We love sharing our knowledge on YouTube. We give you, our loyal viewers, all of our experience, including not only our successes, but also our failures, in order to help you have a great experience with your pond, whether you are building one, or just appreciating the one you have.

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So, we are happy to give you our latest news on The Pond Digger YouTube Channel, about our recent and upcoming videos, and some exciting news on turtle views!

We are pleased to share that one of our first YouTube videos, “Turtle Pond Design” has reached 1 million views. We have produced many videos since Turtle Pond Design, that have more views than it does, but it holds a special place in our heart, and will always be one of our favorites.

We also just released the newest in our “Ponds Gone Wrong” series, “The Real McCoy”. This series will help you understand just how critical seaming your pond correctly is. We will reveal some great secrets in seaming, and some critical mistakes that we don’t want you to make!

On February 13th, we will begin filming a new tutorial on building a waterfall without a pond! This is especially great in homes with small children that don’t want the worry of a pond, or for businesses that want the magical sound of water without the liability of a body of water.

Also, we have great tips and tricks daily on Snapchat, and Periscope. Look for The Pond Digger on both sites to get your daily dose of pond fun! We hope to see you soon on YouTube, SnapChat, and Periscope.

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Life is Short, Enjoy Koi!

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Master These 7 Fundamentals, and You Will Be Well On Your Way To Selecting Brilliant Koi.

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Master These 7 Fundamentals, and You Will Be Well On Your Way To Selecting Brilliant Koi.

  1. Once you have confirmed that the body is correct, good shape, all eyes, fins, and tail accounted for, and no kinks or bends, then you begin to look at pattern and color.
  1. Pattern and color are different. The color is how “deep” and “pure” the red is on the fish. The pattern is where the color is located on the fish.
  1. IMG_9762The white needs to be as pure and close to snow as possible, though when they are young, the white on Koi is more flesh colored.  It whitens to “snow” with age.
  1. There should be some red pattern on the head, and all the depth of the red should be even throughout the Koi.  So, the patterns or islands of red need to be all the same color tone.
  1. On the back of the Koi we are looking for a pattern of “steps” leading from head to tail, with breaks in between. If there are no breaks, the pattern should be interesting. If the solid pattern of red is sort of lightning bolt shaped, it is highly desirable and is called Inazuma.
  1. The red pattern should end before the tail, so the tail is white, like the other fins.  The fins should be pure white with no red, or any other color on them.
  1. If there is a red circle on the head and also red elsewhere on the koi, the red on the head is called Maruten, and the Koi is a “Maruten Kohaku. If there is only red on the head, and no where else, it is a Tancho. A Tancho is another variety of Kohaku.  A good Tancho would have a perfect circle of red on it’s head, perfectly centered between it’s eyes. The Tancho is considered very special because it represents the Japanese flag, which is designed after the Tancho Crane. A very special bird in Japanese culture.

There are many other subtleties to learn, but if you understand these 7 fundamentals, you would be well on your way to understanding the Kohaku, where all koi begin, and end.

Watch This Short Video To Better Understand The Kohaku –

Life is Short, Enjoy Koi!

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NEW RARE KOI – SNOWFLAKE ASAGI

NEW RARE KOI – SNOWFLAKE ASAGI

This new rare variety of Asagi is most stunning Koi to hit the scene in many years. It is called a Yuki Asagi or better known as the Snowflake Asagi. Yuki means Snow in Japanese. At the time of this Koi discussion, there are only 2 or 3 of these rare Koi in the US!

A couple decades in development, this gorgeous Koi symbolized the first snowfall on the red leaves of fall. In this Koi Discussions episode you will learn about the uniqueness of this wonderful koi before you ever see it available at your local koi shop.

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Our Koi Discussions video series on The Pond Digger YouTube Channel, is designed to educate, inspire and show case the beauty, art and history of Koi.

With World Renowned Koi Expert, Shawn McHenry, we offer a very special insight to the discussions including behind the scenes stories from his trips to Japan to acquire Rare and Unusual Koi or his very special clients.

We gain the most incredible insight from Shawn’s experience, his warm personality, and his ever-changing collection of Japanese koi he brings in for sale.

Watch the video of this amazing Snowflake Asagi and be sure to SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube channel for on going information on koi, goldfish, water turtles, ponds, water features, How To Build a Pond Tutorials and our weekly show that releases every Friday called Ask The Pond Digger, were we answer questions from our pond community.

snowflake asagi

Life is Short, Enjoy Koi!

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The ONLY 3 Fundamentals All Koi Experts Can Agree On

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If you were getting ready to build a koi pond, and you wanted the opinion of the top 10 koi pond builders around the world, you would get 10, or possibly 11 different answers.

They have different ideas for filters, returns, where to UV or to not UV, pond skimmer selection, size, or depth!

You name it, every choice could be different for every builder.

We understand this can be confusing for someone just getting into the hobby, and amidst the debating and arguing, we would like to show you what all KOI EXPERTS actually do agree on; which quite frankly, is not much.

1. GET OUT THE WASTE

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The first thing is to “REMOVE ALL ORGANIC WASTE FROM THE POND.”

By organics, I mean fish poop, excess fish food, leaves, pollen, dust, and anything else that is floating (or sinking) around in your pond.

Now, of course they may not agree on the BEST METHOD of removal, but they want that stuff out of the pond.

A few methods of removing the organics from the pond are skimmers, and bottom drains.

When debris hits the surface, good skimming will pull it out of the pond and into the skimmer 24/7.

If you have debris trying to settle on the pond’s floor, then a bottom drain can be installed, which will pull stuff out 24/7 also.

Another alternative if you don’t have a bottom drain, is to vacuum the pond on a weekly or biweekly basis.

2. SEPARATE SOLIDS

The next point the top koi experts in the world will all agree on is to “Separate solids before filtration.”

There are a few ways to do this too, so of course there is plenty of room for disagreement.

One spot to separate solids is between the pump and the bottom drain. There are a couple of ways to achieve this.

There are settlement tanks, a large chamber the water swirls around in before it is pulled through the pump that allows solids to “fall out” of suspension. Then you empty the sludgey muck out of the bottom of the tank on a routine basis.

Then there are sieves. A sieve has an area where the water slowly pours over a fine screen to catch the debris out of the water before it goes to the pump. The screen can then be cleaned to remove captured debris as needed.

Another place to separate solids is between the pump and the filter. A small unit relatively speaking called a “multi-cyclone” that swirls the water in a chamber so the solids can spin out of suspension. The unit can then be cleaned of the captured waste.

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3. NITRIFY THE WATER

The last point all koi experts will agree on, although not how to do it, is “nitrifying” or filtering the water before it is sent back to the pond.

After the water is pulled from the pond, and goes through the pump, before it goes back in to the pond, it needs to be cleaned and purified for the fish.

There are many ways to do this including but not limited too, waterfall filters, pressurized filters, up flow filters, down flow filters, shower filters, and more. The list goes on and on.

WHAT’S NEXT?

Now that you understand the three fundamentals that all koi experts will agree on, you can evaluate your personal koi pond and/or you can decide on how you might want to accomplish each of these important steps on that new dedicated koi ponds you are planning to build!

Of course if you are looking to ask 10 experts for a design we would love to provide you with one of the 11….

Life is Short, Enjoy Koi!

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3 Things the Heron Knows About Your Pond That YOU Don’t!!!

PART_1447877653331_IMG_8423The name “Heron” evokes many emotions from pond owners, and none of them are good. They can range from devastation to hatred due to the loss of their beloved koi collection! Here’s a few tidbits to help you beef up your anti-heron arsenal, because we know, “Knowledge is Power” and this is one smart bird.

  • Herons can live up to fifteen years, reaching four and a half feet tall, with a six foot six inch wingspan.
  • They lay as many as 7 eggs annually, continually re-populating your neighborhood with new offspring to consume your precious koi!
  • They are absolute Pro fishermen.  They earn their living hunting dark colored, (well disguised), super fast, fish from dark, murky waters in the wild.
  • Imagine their sheer joy when they discover your CLEAR pond water filled with BRIGHTLY colored, slow moving (compared to their wild counterparts)  koi and goldfish!
  • It’s literally like spearing fish in a barrel.  Remember the old adage, “Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer”?
  • The more you learn about Herons, the more likely you’ll be able to outsmart them.  Here is what herons know about your pond, that you never knew they knew.

#1.  MEAL PLANNING

They know where their next meal is coming from.  That 15 year lifespan is important because once they learn your pond’s location, each time they migrate through your area, every spring and fall, like Arnold Schwarzeneggar, they WILL be back.

For the next FIFTEEN years, your pond is on their flight plan.You can take extra precautions during these seasons to help prevent loss

#2. FULL MOON MADNESS

Herons are typically crepuscular, stalking your koi only in the early morning hours and at the failing light of dusk, but 3 days a month, they can eat your koi ALL NIGHT LONG!

When the moon is full, and the nights before and after the full moon, there is enough light for that ultra-determined predator to wait until you are tucked in before stealing your family jewels.

#3.  FEEDING YOUR FISH

This is the most incredible factoid that will shock, and maybe even disgust you.

Herons are smart, you know that, and patient, standing for hours at the pond’s edge waiting for the koi to get comfortable enough to swim near their scary shadow, but did you know they will FEED your koi?

Thats right, those genius predators know that if they regurgitate in to your pond, the fish will come running to that smell, because of course just like in a heron’s belly, the main ingredient in koi food is FISH!

Your darling babies, so well trained to come to the smell of koi food, will literally come RUNNING to heron barf.

PREVENTION

There is no 100% way to insure you koi are safe, unless you fully enclose your pond, but here are a few tricks to try:

  • A scarecrow; a motion sensor sprinkler that shoots the heron, and anyone else approaching your pond, with a harmless, but SCARY stream of water.  Change batteries MONTHLY!
  • Netting over your pond.  Helps keep out leaves too! Fishing line in a pattern over the pond, or as a trip wire around the pond.
  • Trees, shade sails, or a gazebo creating a safety canopy over the pond
  • Hotwire around the pond-shocking but not deadly
  • Heron statue-used to establish “territory claimed”- needs to be moved several times a week to replicate live birds.
  • Dogs- VERY effective deterrent, especially bird dogs!

5 Fall Pond Care Mistakes You Might Be Making

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5 Fall Pond Care Mistakes You Might Be Making

The leaves are changing, the mornings are crisp and cool, and your pond needs some tending.  We have five simple tips to help you prepare your pond for the upcoming season so that you can enjoy your pond all winter like you’ve enjoyed it during the summer.

1. NOT TRIMMING BACK AQUATIC PLANTS
Trim those sad sack aquatic plants – I know you love those aquatic plants, they’ve bloomed their hearts out for you all summer long, but they need a break!  They need to sleep this winter to prepare for the show they will put on next spring.  Encourage them like you do your eight year old at bedtime.

Cut off the leaves and stems that are brown and droopy.  Make sure they are safely snuggled in between their rocks for the long winter nap.  If you’re in a heavy freeze zone, make sure the submerged roots are below the ice line so they have a better chance at coming back next spring.

2. NOT SWITCHING TO SEASONAL PRODUCTS
Cold Temperature Koi and Goldfish FoodYou really need to switch your seasonal water treatment products and fish food.  Feed a good quality Cold Temperature Food that your finned family pets can easily digest.  Feeding your fish when the weather changes should be done as early in your day as possible so that the food is digested when the nighttime temperatures dip.  It helps keep your koi from getting a bellyache.

Cold Temperature Bacteria is actually different little organisms than the Summertime Beneficial Bacteria.  They function better at the lower water temperatures of winter.  A quality blend of cold temperature bacteria will even work in your pond under the ice! It’s like sending in little tiny Eskimo bacteria to work on your pond in the winter.  Consider switching by mid to late October for powerful results.

3. NOT CLEANING YOUR WINDOWS
I know this sounds crazy, but think about this; where will you spend most of your time enjoying the pond in the colder months?  You will most likely be looking out a window rather than sitting beside the pond.  In many regions, it’s just to cold to chill pond-side, so you’re left with gazing longingly out the nearest window.

4. NOT INSPECTING YOUR UNDERWATER LIGHTING SYSTEMS
To insure your best viewing potential, make sure that all your underwater lighting and landscape lights are in working order and adjust your light transformer timer to come on at dusk, which may be as early as 5:00 pm in many areas.  If you are so lucky as to be in a zone where you can still spend time outside in the evenings, be sure to fuel up those Tiki torches with mosquito repellent oil and prep those fire pits.

5. NOT ADDING WINTER WHITES
Plant some terrestrial plants with white flowers around the pond edges.  The white blooms will reflect moonlight and give you some nighttime enjoyment.  It will surprise you how different you pond will look with white flowers at night.

We hope these tips will help you in the coming winter months.  Wow your friends and neighbors with your new knowledge and amazing pond guru-ness.  Share these tips, or not, if you want to remain the “Big Dawg of Ponds” in your neck of the woods.

If you want an up close and personal live demonstration of how to perform all of these life changing tasks, come by our headquarters October 17th, 2015 at 10:00am and learn from The Digger himself!  Door prizes, fun contests, and food, who could ask for anything more?

MARK YOUR CALENDAR

Saturday October 17th at 10:00 am

31710 Dunlap Blvd. Yucaipa, CA 92399

Life Is Short, Enjoy Koi!

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