Spring is HERE!!” The Frogs sing! I have plants separated in sheep tanks to winter over and grow out. It seems that I have a frog in each one. My experts claim these are the male frogs staking out territory trying to invite a female frog to his pond. Each frog has a slightly different sound and pitch. The acoustics of the tubs amplifies the chorus, as each frog tries to out sing his competitor. I sit quietly on my deck pointing to each frog as he begins his cheerful call. I chuckle to myself; I am the conductor of my very own “Frog Tub Band

Aquatic Hawthorn and March Marigolds have been the big show so far this spring. The Aquatic Hawthorn has long white flowers with dark stamens. The March Marigold sends up flowers first then about a month later leaves form. The March Marigold comes in yellow, white and double blossom. The weather has been a bit cold for many of the other plants to break dormancy, so don’t give up on those barren pots yet!

Non-Hardy pond plants for the Pacific Northwest:

Papyrus rush both Dwarf and the Giant grows very well during the summer but does not winter over outside.

Miniature Bamboo Rush (not a true bamboo) will not take a freeze.

Umbrella palm (rush) easy to grow.. but will not winter outside.

Azola fern (aquatic) the little bit that survives the winter outdoors the gold fish eat very little survives the winter, but it grows fast and is sold by the cup a very inexpensive plant.

Water Hyacinths hard to winter over even indoors need several hours of sun every day. Considered an annual in this latitude and zone.

Pond fish for April:

I have been polling people with ponds if they have been feeding their fish. Survey shows about 50% are feeding the goldfish. The other half remembers last year’s fish kill and we are holding of for at least 2 more weeks. Remember folks the fish think they are hungry and will swallow the food but there are not enough hours of heat to keep them warm enough so they can digest what you give them.. The
Goldfish and Koi will do very well this time of year feeding on algae and duckweed. Food of choice for most of our fish’s first few meals is Cheerio’s.  Watch your fish for signs of “flashing” or “scratching” this is caused by a parasite either an anchor worm or fish louse. These are the “fleas” of the fish world.
Treatment is non- iodized salt. 4lbs per 1000 gal of pond water. If the scratching is affecting the majority of the fish you will need to pull the plants out of the water and increase the salt concentrations to 5 or 6 lbs. per 1000 gal of pond water.

We treat our ponds 2 times a year with salt to keep the parasites in check, first in February and again in November.

April brings my favorite bog plant into bloom, The Aquatic Iris. Iris’s are found in a wide range of growing habitat from the Sweet Flags of Asia that love up to 3 inches of water over their bases to the marginal species that like very moist soils to the bearded Irises that like the drier well drained higher ground. The Sweet Flags when crushed have a very sweet smell. In India the roots are spread over the temple floors. As the people walk in, these small tubers are crushed under foot emitting a popery of wonderful sweet senses.

The Irises that ring the edge of the pond or stream range from the very tall yellow Iris you see along the Highway to very short showy Hybrid Iris of spectacular colors.

The Bearded Irises can be seen in many botanical gardens, English gardens, and grace the pages of almost all mail order bulb and cut flower catalogs. Colors and patterns on the petals of the Bearded Iris are so wide spread you could have a whole garden dedicated to just Bearded Irises.

Mark Paulsen  E-mail
Scenic Harbor Nursery