It was finally warm enough last weekend to tackle the yearly garden chore I dread most: cleaning the pond! It's an all day chore, but when it's done, it's so worth it!
I won't bore you with shots of the pond being cleaned, but rather, let you enjoy the beauty that occurs after.
I built the pond eight years ago to be used by the wildlife that visit our garden. I designed it with shallow pebbled areas for birds to bathe and deeper areas to sink water plants.
Now for the cleaning. I started by pulling any weeds around the perimeter, and removing any dead plant materials left over from winter.
Next comes the testing of the pond pump, connecting it to the garden hose, and draining out all the old, stale water. The rushes need to be removed and trimmed, and the water lilies need to be divided.
Water lily rhizomes are buried in mesh pots filled with stones to weigh them down, and dirt that turns to virtual muck when waterlogged. The rhizomes themselves dye your hands a blackish-purple color, and the stain is hard to remove.
The next step is to get inside the nearly-drained pond and scoop out as much muck and black scum as possible. I carry buckets full of this matter to the compost heaps to recycle it. It's very smelly and slippery, and no matter how careful I am, I always end up covered from head to toe with it!
Next, I use the hose to spray the remaining nooks and crannies of the pond and surrounding pebbles and rocks to dislodge any remaining debris. Then I begin refilling with fresh water.
It's important to always leave some of the old water, with it's bacteria and bugs that thrive there. This helps keep the pond balanced, and inoculates the filtration system with a colony of helpful bacteria that actually help keep the pond clean.
I make sure the waterfall is draining completely back into the pond, and that water isn't leaking out from various area between the rocks. This is a common occurrence, as the pesky raccoons overturn the rocks at night, looking for little critters to eat.
When the pump is working, the waterfall is cascading, and the birds are drinking and bathing, it's a beautiful thing!
And here's how the pond looks and sounds after it's been cleaned and prepared for summer!