THE SHOPPING TRIP
Figures it would rain my day off.
Which made it a great time to go get the liner for the new gravel bog
and pond that I have over the last year laboriously cut out of the slope
coming down to the front of the greenhouse.
With most of the major excavating finished last week I felt it safe to
measure the site and calculate the size of the liner which came out to
20' X 40' which is more than enough to line a 28' X 4' x 2' deep trench
leaving a sizeable apron to line the terraced slope above which will be
filled with a slurry of spahgnum peat / sand and quartz gravel.
Hopefully I'll have enough left over to cut off a few feet to line a
gravel filled trench against the front foundation to shunt away the
runoff from the glazed part of the greenhouse structure.
The Monroeville franchise of North Hills Water Gardens was the obvious
choice for buying the liner because they sell 45 mil Firestone Pond
Gaurd for $0.60 per ft sq as opposed to $0.79 per ft sq at the garden
center in Latrobe where I usually get my liners.
Also it's convenient for a visit to Elmers Petshop which always has an
interesting selection of aquarium plants and sometimes good pond plants.
At Elmers I bought two nice bunches of Mayaca fluviatus- an old friend
from past trips to the Fla panhandle and two bunches of one more
familiar to aquarium keepers- Dildiplis diandra- aka Water Purslane.
Figure I'd try the two in the greenhouse pond to see how thet do.
Already have a few remnants of the later in pots of fine sand in one of
the outside ponds. I'm going to see how they do in small pond baskets
rooted in Profile.
Another plant that caught my eye was a bunch of Elodea like stuff that
looked something like Elodea canadensis but the leaves were were longer
and sharply tapered at the ends. It wasn't Hydrilla which I had seen
before in Florida so I'm guessing it is some kind of Largosiphon- maybe
madagascarensis which I've heard has made it into the hobby in recent
years. I got a bunch to try.
Otherwise the selection was not as good as usual. Would like to have
found some decent cuttings of Cutleaf Milfoil- Myrio pinnatum - the red
stemmed foxtail with the long course, dark green foliage- but not in
stock- so I will just have to consign myself to regenerating the
remnants that survived the winter outside and a single potted speciemen
that wintered over in the greenhouse pond. Likewise for Radican Swords
which used to be common in the trade in previous years but figure ; like
dreary weather on all my off days now that I have a greenhouse to winter
it in I can't find any locally. Had some that survived outside for
several years but this past winter was really hard on everything that is
considered marginally hardy in our climate and even a good many hardy
plants and fishes suffered.
Never the less, still glad I stopped at Elmers- for it was there I
finally found the All Native Fishes July Edition of TFH I've heard so
much about on the list and in American Currents. Really excellent
articles by several NANFAns plus mention of Ray's Gar Pond and some
encouraging data pertaining to thermal tollerances of Flag and Bluefin
killies I hope to get established in the GH pond this season.
On to North Hill's Monroeville store where I bought the liner plus a few
more plants- a type of dwarf red-stemmed parrot's feather- sp unknown
but likely Myriophyllum brasiliense. Plus a dwarf Ruellia (water
petunia) and a single water lettuce plant- no sense in buying more than
one of such a prolific multiplier which I will allow to form a few small
mats along the edges of the GH pond.
Forgot to mention that I also bought what I hope will be a true dwarf
water hyacinth at Elmers and I looked at some more on my second stop but
was told there that they were just young plants. I know there is a
miniature strain or species out there and some day I will find it.
The pretty much constant rain today was of concern in regard to getting
the liner which must weigh a couple hundread pounds off the bed of the
truck as close to the site as possible. With a good running start I
managed to get the pickup up the slope past the greenhouse and turned
around on the flat area above so I could push the liner off just above
the west end of the dig near the pile of gravel dumped a few weeks
earlier. I tore up the turf a few places so I really made it by the skin
of my teeth!
Good thing however. Now I am poised to start the project as soon as the
weather improves later this week- though I'll believe that when I see
it. The last two weeks have been very frustrating meterologically
speaking as the promised warming and drying trend keeps being pushed
back into the future by unexpected shifts in storm systems.
At least I'm at the point now where what little digging there is left
can be done if necessary without waiting for the soil to dry out
INTO THE GREENHOUSE
After today's shopping trip, I did a little more tidying up inside and
paused to admire how well things are coming along. Plant growth has been
so phenomemal that I'll probably have to do some ruthless pruning or
relocation of plants before long. I have a massive clump of Eyelash
Begonia- B. bowerae which is huge- bigger than I thought it could ever
get and crowding out everything around it. Plus a flush or orchid
blooms- Clamshells- Encyclia cochleata, the white flowering equitant
species - Tolumnia variegatum - looks like epiphytic clumps of mini iris
fans with two toned white and brown blooms and Polystachia concreta with
tiny white blooms. Was expecting another magnificent show from my
Oncidum carthagenesis that bloomed a spectacular spike of pale pinkish
flowers spotted with deep magenta- but was dealt a setback when I
noticed the rising inflorsescence was smitten with some kind of rot
about midway up and the future blooms where doomed. I cut the damaged
portion off and there remains hope in secondary buds that are starting
to form flowers at two joints in the remaining portion of the spike.
Nature's insurance I guess.
Another cool surprise this evening - a spike of dark red berries from an
Anthurium gracile partially hidden among a mat of Resurrection Fern!
The greenhouse pond has cleared remarkably since I upgraded the
biofiltration system last week. I made an aeration tower out of 2" black
pipe and connected it to a perforated T of similar pipe in the base of
the unit. I'm not sure if I mentioned the details regarding the filter
construction in previous updates but here it is again for those who may
have missed it. The system is a tall black rubbermaid tote fed by a 250
GPH Pondmaster based in the opposite corner of the pond. Water travels
thru 20 feet of 3/4" tubing that is inserted into a T halfway up the
trickle tower where it runs down to the perforated pipe that is capped
on both ends. The top of the trickle tower is also capped and looks as
professional as anything you could buy from a commercial water garden
dealer for a greater amount of money than building fron scratch.
Anyway I added a couple mesh dunk bags filled with volcanic rock to fill
the unit leaving about 4 inches of water near the top. Soon I hope to
add a layer of pea gravel to augmet the filter and then some willow moss
to transform it into a refugium for small invertebrates to keep the pond
supplied with a natural source of live food! The water returns to the
pond via another 3/4" hose burried in the shoreline at the rear of the
pond- at the base of a "cliff" of coconut husk mat that will someday be
covered by Philodendron- simulating a natural spring welling up among
fern covered rocks!
I'd like to get into more detail about the pond itself and it's flora
and fauna- a subtropical springhole habitat- as well as the southern
roadside slough / seepage bog biotype that will soon grace the outside-
but it's getting too long already and I need to get some rest.
Because sometime this week my Sailfin Shiners are coming and I need to
be able to clear out the topminnows and Coastal Shiners and relocate
them to one of the outside ponds. I want the Sailfins to have the pond
mainly to themselves (Aside from the Bluefin Killies and Pygmy Sunfishes
in hope they will reproduce as prolifically as Coastals did last season.
Hopefully I'll be able to duplicate this success with Taillight Shiners
also- if I ever manage to aquire some!
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