EIPS Newsletter

Download the February 2006 newsletter in it's original format! This file will take a few minutes to download.
February 2006 Newsletter
You'll need Adobe Acrobat Reader to open this file.
In This Issue: February 2006

Saturday, February 25, 2006
5:00 pm
Vinton Pizza Ranch
219 W 4th Street
Vinton, Iowa

Video of 2005 Pond Tour

Planning time

Guest from the Dubuque Arboretum, they are seeking our advice.

Pond tour and EXPO Information and planning

You are on your own for dinner.

Submitted by Joseph Olsen

These warm winter days certainly spike the adrenaline for planning the growing season ahead. And even though the market is flooded with chemicals and mechanical filtration systems, it is my experience that the key to clear water is plants. As I struggled to remove my umbrella plant (peltiphyllum peltatum) from the stream this fall, marveling at a root system that extended several feet from the mother plant, it struck me that plants are the power filters of the pond ecosystem. This plant started the season with two tiny shoots and a root ball that fit easily in the palm of my hand. Three months later it is a fourfoot “bush” that was hogging more space than I had planned; now that represents a lot of nutrient removal from the water!!

Several years ago, EIPS had a meeting at the Indian Creek Nature Center. The guest speaker that night was Greg Speichert who is the publisher of Water Gardening magazine (his wife Sue is the editor). Greg spoke for nearly two hours about plants for the water garden. His knowledge of plants amazed me; what they looked like, conditions they grew well in, companion plants, flowering information and more. I immediately subscribed to Water Gardening, a magazine that is a tremendous resource for all aspects of ponding and has gorgeous photography. When they advertised publication of The Encyclopedia of Water Garden Plants in late 2004, I put it on my Christmas list and Santa honored my wish.

I hope to do justice to this wonderful book and summarize its contents in this article. I will toss in some of my own thoughts on plants for around the water garden and suggest some of my favorite places for purchasing plant material.

The Encyclopedia of Water Gardening is just that, an encyclopedia that is nearly 400 pages long and full of general and plant specific information. It is divided into 12 chapters and 5 appendix sections.

Although it is written in understandable language (except for the official plant names), it is more useful as a resource and reference. For example, Appendix A lists plants that are used for specific purposes by name (e.g. plants that filter, plants that work well in table top “ponds”, shade tolerant plants, rooted floaters, plants for streams and falls and butterfly attractors). The reader can then reference the text for a complete description of that plant in terms of flowering, height, zone issues, and companion plants. Many plant descriptions include beautiful photographs.

The text is divided into 12 Chapters, the longest of which is about 20 pages long. You can look up information related to pots and soil (did you know that clay cat litter gets the highest overall rating for growing pond plants), fertilizers, water lilies, lotus, marginal plants (those that grow on the edge of the waterscape), and floating and submerged plants. There is also a section on plant diseases and pests. The Chapters on plants also include information on growing plants from seed and propagation. The Chapter on lotus perked my interest in this fascinating plant and I seem to add a new variety of this species to my yard each year. Due to their exploding tuber growth, I give each a new home in a tub close to the pond. Although folks make a big deal about the lotus bloom (which lasts for maybe 3 days max), I find the foliage to be its most attractive feature

The Encyclopedia of Water Gardening won the 2005 AHS Garden Book Award. It is pricey ($49) but economical in the sense that you will be able to use it for many years to answer your water garden plant questions. It would make a wonderful gift to any ponding addicts that are dear to you. It is published by Timberline Press or can be ordered through Water Gardening magazine at 1-800-308-6157. If you ask, the Speicherts will sign your copy. When I called to inquire about doing a book review, they graciously sent along samples of the magazine and coupons for 3 gift subscriptions to be given away at EIPS meetings this year.

Finally, I get questions each year on what my favorite plants are and where I get them. As the seed catalogs pile up, it can be information overload as to where to buy plant material. I am convinced that one could take a week’s vacation and still not get to all the greenhouses in northeast Iowa. We have two EIPS members (Josh Spece and Sharon Weiss) who have interesting and expansive selections of plants at their businesses in the Independence and Vinton area respectively. This includes pond and “dry feet” plants.

Joyce’s Greenhouse in North Liberty specializes in two of my favorite garden plants-- lisianthus and snapdragon. I also like the Corner Market north of Oelwein because it carries unique vining and low growth annuals that work well in the border of the pond.. While in the area, stop at Cannons Greenhouse in Westgate and Reeds Greenhouse in Maynard. And, if you are up for a longer road trip, venture north to Seed Savers Exchange and Willowglen, both north of Decorah.

In terms of mail order, I get most of my flowers from Bluestone Perennials and Select Seeds which specializes in heirloom flower varieties. Wildseed Farms is my best source for wildflower seeds. All have great websites.

In regard to favorite plants, it is hard to pick just a few and I am just as interested in plants that accent areas around the pond as I am in plants for the pond and stream. Although there are folks that know all about varieties of water lily, I just like those that bloom and bloom with a combination of yellow and red catching my eye. I have not experimented with tropical lilies as those that winterover require almost no care. As I mentioned before, the lotus is a great plant for beside the water feature. Its huge green leaves that rise 4 feet or more above ground add a pleasing look to the pondscape. My other favorites are scarlet lobelia, umbrella plant and forge-me-not. The encyclopedia lists over 40 plant species that like/tolerate wet feet

Around the pond, diascia, lantana, verbena and snapdragons get my vote but when shopping I look for the terms “spreading habit”, low to the ground, and extensive blooming period in the plant description. To add some height, “stick verbena” blooms heavily till frost and will reseed), nicotiana (flowering tobacco) adds a wonderful evening scent to the air, and bush violet has very pretty soft blue flowers on a plant that grows to a 3-foot bush habit (it also reseeds).

As you plan your pond garden for the 2006 season, consider buying the book and expanding your plantings in and around your water feature. You will be rewarded with clearer water, happier fish and a pondscape that is appeals to all the senses. An evening of trimming, weeding and landscaping at the waters edge does wonders for relieving whatever stresses have accumulated throughout the day.

Remember, EIPS runs on volunteers. Please consider serving on a committee. Many hands make for light work

This year EIPS is taking on a pond EXPO in addition to our pond tour. Information is still fresh so only a poster is available at this time. There will be more information at the February meeting and in the March newsletter. Just know we are really excited as well as the speakers and vendors we have contacted about this adventure and we hope all EIPS member will find a way to help out this year.

The first ever pond trade show in the Heartland!

May 20th, 2006
Hawkeye Downs Fairgrounds
Cedar Rapids, IA
$6.00 gets you into everything!

Huge Trade Show! First of it's kind in Iowa!
Vendors from all over the country will be there to show you what's new in the water gardening and fish world.

Goldfish and Koi vendors
Pond supply vendors (Nets, pumps, filters, plants, and food)
One stop shopping!

Expert Speakers all Day!

9:00- Doors Open
9:30 - Water Plants
10:30 - Filtration
11:30 - Water Quality
12:20 -Lunch - food on premises
1:00 - Pond Side Triage
1:30 - Fish Nutrition
2:10 - Goldfish varieties and care
3:10 - Koi classifications and care
4:00 - Pond Q & A Panel
5:00 - 7:00 Trade show still open
7:00 - Closed

Subject to change

Fliers and Vendor Information can be found on the Pond Expo page.

At the November meeting we began the process of planning 2006 activities. EIPS is run by volunteers. All planning is done by the membership. If you have some ideas, we all what to hear about them. We will be inviting everyone to volunteer for a committee:

PLEASE PICK ONE TO JOIN: Each committee will be responsible to meet and establish a chairman for their group. If too many volunteer for one group (or it is considered full) and others have none, you may be asked to rechoose. So first to volunteer get first choice...........

Following are the 2006 committees and the names of those who volunteered at the November meeting.


* works with the water garden tour committee to bring to the club membership ideas as to where to apply the proceeds from the tours.

* see that money gets dispersed

* in the case of a project that requires club participation, they will be responsible for organizing materials, getting volunteers, (does not mean they are responsible to do all the work involved) and carrying through with said project.


* responsible for finding and organizing programs and speakers for meetings.

* plans and organizes club activities, such as trips, club workshops, etc.

*Bob & Stephanie Geers 363-2448 hawkskier@yahoo.com
Jim & Rose Milden 364-4668 Jim.Milden@APACHEHB.com


* responsible for making contact and maintaining our relationships with area retailers. (Letting them know we exist)

* establish club discounts or promotional door prizes.

* Distribute club information to dealers so they can give to customers.

*Kacy Novak 362-0487 cqknovak@msn.com


* welcoming new members

* mentoring new members

* Promote library

* name tags and club membership cards

* Generally help members realize the discounts and benefits to joining.

* Historian—Organizing scrap books or collecting pictures of club activities.

*Gary & Jo Hunerdosse 364-6627 gfhunk@mchsi.com
Elena Murillo 294-4866 mespringcove@aol.com
Gil Morley 294-4866 mespringcove@aol.com


* help write for and organize the newsletter

* assist the secretary

*Carol Sindelar 365-1839 fishlounge1@cs.com
Joe & Mary Robinson 474-2236 jmrobin@peoplepc.com
Pam & Curt Moore 362-3375 diverpug@yahoo.com
Joe Olsen 334-2709 olywon@indytel.com

{Note to the writing committee: a reminder of which month you signed up to submit an article in 2006.}

February - Joe Olsen
March - Tim & Linda Nolan
April - Pam & Curt Moore
May -
June - Pam & Curt Moore
July -
August - Tim & Linda Nolan
September - Joe & Mary Robinson
October -
November - Pam & Curt Moore
December -

If you would like to submit an article for a specific month or any month, contact Carol


* finding ponds and getting the tour organized

* recruit volunteers to help at the ponds

* establish times

* print programs

* coordinate and help with publicity.

*Brandy & Lisa Lanham 362-7672 lanhamb1@earthlink.com


* organizes and gets publicity for meetings and activities.

* Works closely with Pond Tour group to get advertising everywhere.

* develops and maintains our club informational brochures and sees that they get to the Commercial Relations committee for dispersal.

* Organizes booths at area events.

*Carol Sindelar 365-1839 fishlounge1@cs.com


* sends thank you notes to presenters & business sponsors.

* puts together year end recognition programs for officers and volunteers

*Ron & Edna Rife 247-0206 RLrife@aol.com
Elena Murillo 294-4866 mespringcove@aol.com


*Jackie Allsup 934-3665 Cedarserviceja@aol.com
Pat Beuter 448-4147
Kathryn Durnan 448-4681 DKL4489@AOL.com
Dennis Sindelar 365-1839 fishlounge1@cs.com
Roger Thompson 854-7229
Faith Miene 393-4142 rfmiene@yahoo.com
Richard Miene 393-4142 rfmiene@yahoo.com
Tim Nolan 363-9408 nolans@mcleodusa.net

Some organizations have magic elves who come around when we are asleep and get things done so we can enjoy the benefits. It may seem like EIPS has magic elves because there are some people who will just “do it” when no one else will help or plans have fal7len through. But we don’t like to function like that. And we don’t have magic elves. All we have is you...the members...

To keep an organization fresh and interesting it needs new ideas and enthusiastic helpers. Please consider being actively involved in EIPS. If you would like to help with a project but don’t know how, just ask. The president or secretary can put you in touch with someone who can be your guide. Become part of the team. And help EIPS have another successful year promoting the ponding hobby.

Eastern Iowa Pond Society Membership Application

EIPS Newsletter Archives