Read about Louis Belloisy

Northeastern USA


Late October

Summer Summary &
Fall Shutdown -
Or Lou Saves the Frogs!

by Louis Belloisy
Morris, Connecticut - Zone 4 ½
 
Click images to enlarge
     

I had high hopes for some of the tropical seedlings but those hopes were dashed by a deer attack on the ponds one night in the middle of June. (See Basement Waterlilies Grow Up! in WGI Online Journal Volume 2-3.) Deer are basically lazy and most always will attack a pond that is within easy reach, so they attacked my two raised ponds. They destroyed about 10 seedlings that were in 12" (30cm) pots.

All that was left of the 10 plants were two small tubers, one from a cross between Nymphaea 'Moonbeam' and N. 'Golden West' and the other a chance seedling. I was disgusted and threw the two small tubers on the mulch pile but retrieved them a short time later, deciding to see if they would come back. Well, come back they certainly did. All summer they put up numerous small pads, telling me that there were multiple plants growing. By summer's end one plant had five individual plants growing and was sending up at least 10 buds at a time. It's a pleasant pastel color similar to the donor plant, N. 'Moonbeam'. This reinforces the theory that a plant under stress will do its best to reproduce to keep its line going.  

 


Shutting down the ponds for the fall consists of moving the tropicals to inside tanks or a warm environment for the winter, draining down the ponds and cleaning the summers' accumulation of muck at the bottom of the ponds. 


The pre-filter for my submersible pump
is two clothes baskets.
In order to clean the bottom thoroughly, I drain the ponds down to about 6" (15cm) and place milk crates in a corral of sorts and herd the fish into the enclosure. From there, I can easily net them and put them in temporary tanks. I remove my trusty expensive Tsurumi submersible pump and place an old standby 3000-gph (11,355-lph) pump in its place for the winter. I do a through cleaning of the pump, dissembling it and replacing the impeller, if needed. I like to change pumps while the water is still relatively warm. 

Two hardies that were in the pond above have been taken out for clipping. N. 'Texas Dawn', one of my favorites, had a rhizome that blasted through the side of the pot (that takes a lot of force!) but I have a new tuber to plant.


 

I also drain my above-ground rectangular pond to remove the bull frogs and relocate them to a nearby swamp for the winter. Here is one I caught and took to the swamp. You will notice he's turning black. This is their camouflage for the winter. They turn from green to brown to black starting in September. This happens as the day length wanes and not necessarily from the weather turning cooler.

The frogs will not survive in the liner ponds -- there is nothing for them to hide in and they are exposed to the severe changes of winter. Goldfish will survive with no problems but I lost many nice koi a few years ago because the ice froze down to 2' (61cm) and the pond is only 3' (91cm) deep. 

 

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