June 2003 Newsletter
ANNUAL POND TOUR
Our annual pond tour is Saturday, June 14 from 8:00 am until 3:00 pm. Your GREEN tour ticket is included with this newsletter and is for your household only. The ticket contains the addresses of all the ponds on the tour with directions and a short description of the pond. It is not necessary to start at pond #1. Your self-guided tour can start at any pond and go in any direction that is easiest for you. Be sure to carry the ticket with you to each pond. We have never had a meeting at any of the pond, so all of them will be new to the members! Should you have friends or neighbors that wish to take our tour, tickets can be purchased for $5.00 beginning June 7th at all three Harper's Nursery locations (Phoenix, Scottsdale, Mesa) and also at Dixileta Gardens in Cave Creek and Sun Nursery in Scottsdale. A portion of the proceeds will benefit Trees For The Rim. Trees For The Rim is a restoration program for revegetation of the area in northeastern Arizona devastated by the Rodeo-Chediski Fire in June of 2002. A huge THANKS go to all the pond owners for graciously hosting us for this years pond tour. A very special THANKS from the entire club goes to Dan S., Amy S. and Adrionna L. for their hard work in planning, promoting and staging this tour! Watch for an article on our tour in the Arizona Republic on June 7! If you have any spare plants that need homes, there will be an area for a plant exchange at each house on the tour.
MAY MEETING REVIEW
Dan S. opened the meeting at 9:20 am. Ed Tunstall, the treasurer, was not present so Dan read the treasures report. During the "Safety Minute," Dan alerted members to check their electric connections, wires, and GFCI breakers. If you have breakers tripping occasionally or if the GFCI switch is tripping a lot, you may have a pump going bad. Check and adjust sprinklers so that they aren't aimed at outlet boxes. Dan announced that members will receive their Pond Tour tickets with the June Newsletter. Teri C. announced that two books had been donated to the library. Dan gave an update on the annual pond tour. Brad J. is making arrangements for a radio spot on the Green Thumb Garden Show (AM 960) for June 7. Dan announced that volunteers are needed to relieve the homeowners whose ponds are on the tour. Flyers were available and everyone was encouraged to take a few and post them in their areas. Dan then reviewed the schedule of future meetings. It was announced that Thom B. would be willing to set up a half-day seminar regarding fish care and health. Dan asked for a show of hands to evaluate the interest level of our group and about 20 people responded. Brad reported that there were some technical problems on our website the message board could not be accessed last month. The meeting was turned over to the host, Dom D., who explained the history and construction of their pond. Lydia D. was our speaker and her presentation was on how to build a wildlife habitat in the backyard. Topics included were planning a garden on paper to include trees at various levels, sizes and shapes, as well as fruiting and flowering at different times of the year. The trees and plants need to provide food, cover, homes for nesting year round for birds and other critters. She explained the value of ponds and moving water. Lydia discussed how to build or buy birdhouses/bat houses. She discussed various types of feeders, including a butterfly feeder. She summed up the presentation by listing various ways to conserve water. The meeting adjourned at 11:30 am.
FROM THE PREZ - TAKE TIME TO WATCH YOUR FISH
I am frequently put into the position of trying to explain what is cool about a backyard pond. I have come to the conclusion that a pond is an activity place that we share with the beings in our backyard. This is probably an instinctive ritual that has stayed with us from the dawn of our human history: the evening trip to the watering hole, watching all of the other species. And not being eaten of course!
At meetings, we tend to focus on the negative things in our pond, like algae, pests, predators, disease, filters, and dying plants. If we just thought about these things all the time we might as well be at work. Sometimes, when things are hectic, I only have time to go out and toss some food to the fish, make sure nobody is in the skimmer, and then run away. My advice when you start stressing ? put down the tools, forget about the problems your pond has, and watch your fish. Try this next time when you are sitting at your favorite viewing spot. See where they go, how they move, as individuals and as a group. They will tell you what parts of the pond that they actually prefer.
During feeding everything becomes a chaotic cluster of mouths and fins. After the food and the chaos subsides, comes the methodical picking over of each plant, rock, and crevasse in search of missed morsels. Then comes playtime. This might be schooling, courting, playing tag, or just seeing who's the fastest. We have a venturi jet that creates a steady current for the fish to play in. It's kind of a fish treadmill of sorts.
Our pond has gobs of plant baskets all over the place. Every now and then I rearrange the plant baskets and give the fish something to do. They love playing janitor. Sometimes I skip a feeding and just start moving baskets. This is the time that you find out which fish are the smart ones and which ones are just following. Before long, even the shy ones will be trying to push your hand out of the way in anticipation of what is under the next basket. Remove any baskets that have no plants in them. This gives the fish more room to play.
Take time to actually enjoy your pond.
Companies that remove AHB's (bees):