Swimming pools typically consume an array of chemicals like
chlorine and copper sulfate. However, Derek knows that sharing
his dipping pool with water plants, koi, and other aquatic creatures
rules out the use of harsh chemicals. He realized from the beginning
that his water feature must be environmentally friendly.
Derek tells WGI, We have many species of frogs and,
of course, an abundance of frogs draws harmless [to people] water
snakes. Several species of heron visit the pond -- mainly for
the frogs, and for fish, too. Although we also lose a few small
koi to the herons, they have not taken any big ones. Our koi
breed readily in the naturalistic setting and so the numbers
stay in balance.
Photo by and © Derek Fell
Raccoons visit and take an occasional large koi, but
the pond features a tunnel into which the koi take refuge when
they sense danger. This tunnel is beneath a stepping-stone that
separates the main pool (the dipping pool) from the lower pool;
it is well disguised, undetectable from above. Some people say
that you cannot have both koi and waterlilies because the fish
eat the waterlily shoots, but we have suffered no losses to our
waterlilies from the koi.
He continues, Numerous native bog plants thrive around
the margins of the pond. For example, several species of Sarracenia
native to the nearby Jersey Pine Barrens thrive there. In addition,
the hardy swamp hibiscus, cardinal plants (which attract hummingbirds),
winterberry (which bluebirds need to survive the winter), river
birch, swamp sunflowers, native deciduous azaleas and the native
blue flag iris (Iris versicolor) populate the area.
With regard to algae control, its not much of
a problem. Occasionally, we use Aquafix or Ecoblast
that we buy from our local garden center. I find that both effectively
control string weed (Cladophora), which is our biggest
problem, and both are non-toxic to fish.
To prevent leaves falling into the water and decomposing
on the bottom, we cover the water with netting when the leaves
start to fall.
The diverse blend of plant and animal life in Dereks
great volume of water makes maintenance and balance much easier
than maintenance and balance in small features like aquariums
and tub water gardens. His large water feature clearly approximates
nature, and beautifully integrates itself into the surroundings.
If adversity strikes one segment of the feature, other segments
take up the slack to help keep the feature in balance.