EIPS Newsletter

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September 2004 Newsletter
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In This Issue: September 2004

Thursday, September 9th, 2004
7 pm
Deb Frese & Kevin Dolan
2641 Rainier Court
NE Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Winterizing Ponds

We invite everyone to bring examples of how you get ready for winter in your ponds. Be it a heater, air pump and stone, fruit jar for that tropical lily, what ever. Winterizing show and tell. Sometimes words are not enough. Let us see how you get ready for winter.

Saturday, September 25th, 2004
7 pm
Roger & Marge Thompson
40 Linda Court
Springville, Iowa

Naturalizing a yard

Roger and Marge have transformed their yard. Come check it out. The Thompsons invite you to arrive anytime after 6 to relax and enjoy conversations around the pond.


Highway 151 east from Marion to Springville. Out on the four lane near Springville you will go across a bridge. Immediately at the top of the hill, (Wendling Quarries entrance), turn left onto Obrien Lane right onto 1st Avenue, left onto 8th Avenue, left onto Miller Avenue, left onto Circle Drive, right onto Linda Court, the driveway is straight ahead.

From I-380, take county Home Road east at Toddville exit. Go east across Highway 13 four lane) and continue to Whittier. Continue on straight 1 mile, turn right onto Springville Road into Springville. Go though town, across creek bridge, turn right on Mill Avenue and go straight past both schools. At the Y ( Circle Drive) take the left fork. Then take thrn right into Linda Court.

Our regularly scheduled Thursday night meeting was held at the home of Susan Hightshoe in Marion. It was one of those really chilly August evenings and once the neighbor finally quit mowing her yard, we could actually hear our selves talk. President, Kacy Novak, began by introducing our hostess and asking her to talk about her pond a little. Susan has had some construction set backs ( a leak somewhere in the system, that seems to want to go undetected). You canít tell by looking at it, as it looks lovely. Itís built to go under her sidewalk at the main entrance of her home. Susanís yard is full of flowers and the pond is the home of many a friendly fish.

Minutes to the meeting were read and approved as printed in the last news letter. Nancy was on hand to present a Treasureís report that was also approved. No committee reports were given. There was some discussion about the up coming Brucemore Landscape Expo in Cedar Rapids. EIPS will be putting up a informational booth at the event. Those volunteers met after the meeting to discuss what to bring. At the time of this printing, the event will be over. Hope you all got a chance to attend this event and be sure to thank those members who gave their time to represent the club.

Dennis Sindelar presented an herbal aphid spray called Pond Care Herbal Aphid Control. Itís an herbal spray that allows you to leave the plants in your pond. Simply spray the bug and rinse the plants off. Thyme and mint oil are the active ingredients. He reports that it works very well. Dennis also invited members to join them and the Nolans as they had made an appointment to go to Kloubecís fish farm on the following Saturday. He also invited members to attend the Aquarium Fish Club at their annual fish auction, October 9th.

New club members were introduced.

New fish socks were presented for hanging outside our homes. It was decided to see if we could get a few made up for those interested in purchasing them.

In leu of a speaker, Kacy started a round robin discussion on what was going on in and around our ponds. This time of the year lilies are in full bloom, tadpoles are turning into frogs, fish are still spawning, and goldfish are turning gold.

Door prizes were drawn for with Lisa Lanham, Nancy Baldwin, and Robert Ward all being the lucky winners of some great fish food.

Respectfully submitted, Jackie Allsup

The Thursday, August 28th meeting was held at 7:00 at the pond of Kacy & Quinn Novak, Cedar Rapids. We gathered near the lower, earthen pond, around a roaring bonfire. The unusually cool August temperatures made it quite the cozy location.

Nancy Baldwin, treasurer reported the standing of the treasury and that there were two new memberships since her last report.

Carol Sindelar announced Willowglen Garden Center in Decorah is having a Fair, Saturday, September 11th from 10 to 4. They will be having special guest speakers, Karen Strohbeen and Bill Luchsinger from PBSí ďThe Perennial GardenerĒ.

Their presentations are:

11 am.- Successful Plant Combinations
1 pm - Ornamental Grasses
3 pm - Trade Secrets

Also featuring:

* Huge perennial plant sale
* Garden tours
* Floral crowns
* Bouquet gallery
* Good things to eat & refreshing beverages

Willowglen Nursery is located 15 miles north of Decorah, Iowa off US Highway 52. Admission will be $5.00/person at the gate. It was suggested if members are interested in attending that they plant to car pool. There is an EIPS meeting the Thursday before the event at which members could finalize some carpooling or they might contact Jackie Allsup or Carol Sindelar for some assistance in contacting others to carpool.

Kacy took a moment to tell about their major house makeover (more than doubled the square footage) and how it lead to their smaller ponds and one large earthen pond that was dug during the process. She shared that they were very happy they were able to tile all of the run off from the house to the pond at the back of the extra large lot. But that the pond was so far away that running electricity to it for filtration was not in the budget in the foreseeable future. Blade (Hooked on Fish), suggested she look into a windmill to create water movement. Kacy and Quinn really enjoy their large pond that has numerous water lilies and a raft. And now that she has discovered wet suits at Samís Club they are able to get into the deeper areas and bend over to work with the lily pots without filling their hip waders with water. She says thinning cattails and other marginals from the raft is another fun part of ponding.

As heard at the meeting during the round robin:

* Some pre-emergent herbicides members are using includeóTrefland, Preeme or Corn Gluten Meal.

* At the Brucemore event members discover a nice hybrid variety of ďKiss Me Kate, Over the Garden GateĒ that looks really nice in cut flower bouquets. Lisa Lanham purchased the last plant and promised to share seedling in the spring. It was noted that there are other varieties that are invasive (reseeds freely) and could be called...A weed.

* Pecks Greenhouse and Nursery will be having an ORANGE Cone Flower next spring. Jackie and Carol saw some on display at the Brucemore event and say they are really nice.

* Blade from Hooked on Fish shared that he is just amazed how the hobby continues to expand in Eastern Iowa. He also shared that he FINALLY go a hole dug for his own pond.

* A member mentioned she had cleaned her pond recently and that ever since it has been green and cloudy. She wanted advice. Members suggested she cleaned the pond too well and had knocked it out of balance, biologically. What the pond was doing was cycling again as a new pond does. Patience was the advice.

* Larry Thorp shared that he has found a fertilizer packet for Water Lilies and Lotus that is slow released and will last all season. The thought of only fertilizing once per year was a popular concept for those in attendance and he was encouraged to get information to share with the group about ordering since he had gotten it from the producer and it needs to be ordered in bulk.

The meeting adjourned with the drawing for door prizes and the roasting of marshmallows and the eating of smoreís and cookies.

Respectfully submitted by Carol Sindelar

Well we are rushing into the last days of summer, soon to be fall. Wow, what a summer. We had some hot days, I believe I remember running the Air Conditioner. But we have had so many cool days. Many of our garden friends have been commenting on how lush our gardens have been this year as the plants have enjoyed the cooler weather. I have trouble walking out to see the Koi because the foliage is crowding the paths. And donít get me started talking about the Sweet Flags that obscure my view of the waterfall.

Apologies for the abbreviated issue this month. I kept thinking August was nice and long and there would be plenty of time to get to publishing, but in fact, with September starting on a Wednesday, the second Thursday comes really quickly after our second August meeting....

If you have an items for the newsletter, please submit it to the Editor (thatís me) by September 20th. Articles, pictures, little tidbits of information, all are appreciated. Also, if you know of an upcoming event that might be of interest to our members, we will print that also.


* To propagate Cyprus and other umbrella type plants you can cut off an umbrella and place it in water. Small plants will form around the base of each leaf.

* To keep Floating plants from floating into your skimmer box or just moving to areas you donít want them, secure a length of fishing line across your pond to keep these plants in one area. Or form a hoop out of hollow tubing (aquarium air tubing) and put the floaters inside the hoop. Secure hoop in place, again with fishing line.

* A thought to ponder: ďA healthy fish pond is a self-contained bio-habitat that seeks to keep itself in balance. Everything you do as a pond keeper should be designed to optimize this interdependent relationship of plants, fish and micro-organisms.Ē

* Have you started to make a list of neat gadgets you wish you had this year, to place on your list to be mailed to Santa Claus?

Did you need this formula written down? To plan the amount of pond liner you will need for a pond: Measure the length and the width, then add twice the depth to each of these measurements. Then add an additional 2 feet. So a 10 foot long by 15 foot wide and 1 1/2 foot deep pond will need a 15 foot x 20 foot liner.

So if you think like this:

* 1 foot on ground level
* beyond the edge of the pond
* 1 1/2 feet to go down the side
* 15 feet across the bottom
* 1 1/.2 feet to get up the other side
* 1 foot on the top on the other side beyond the pondís edge.
* Total = 20 feet
* Similar applications for the width.
* Many ponds allow even more on top just in case.

By Tim Nolan

During a recent breakfast at a nearby pub, the topic of conversation turned to the subject of what can cause leaks in your pond.

It seems one of our members had requested that some of us come out and try to diagnose the cause of the water loss she was experiencing.

Well some of us did go out to investigate the situation and several opinions were offered. One of these was "splash out". Whether or not this was the one and only cause of the problem remains to be seen. Further investigations and time will tell. But everyone at the breakfast table agreed....."splash out" is a common offender. That's where you have a water fall, or water feature that is tossing water into the air, or bouncing it off the rocks, where it may be caught by the wind and battered around until it actually gets thrown out of the pond. Even if you have what seems to be sufficient liner around the area of the falls or water feature.....in some situations, it is still very likely that you could lose a significant amount of water over time. These things are hard to measure because of the sporadic nature of the wind and water action. A watchful eye is the best tool for finding this leak!

Another kind of leak that one of the omelet hounds had experienced, had to do with a sudden overnight drop in water level in the pond sometimes as much as 2 or 3 inches! Yikes! This is a scary thing to wake up to! As it turns out, it was not due to a hole in the liner or a break in the plumbing. Luckily the leak victim decided to fight the impulse to dig up the water line and half of the perimeter of one side of the pond.

Upon close visual inspection during Leak Patrol, it was discovered that plants were the guilty culprits! Yes those beautiful plants, the Water Hyacinths that by late summer had grown to enormous proportions, gracing the waterfall box with their luscious green majesty and gentle flowers were the cause of this early morning cardiac event!

Climbing up to the back of the waterfall box and carefully examining the Hyacinths revealed that they were damming up the water due to their naturally thick crowding, and thus causing the water to seep over the sides of the box almost imperceptibly! Enough of the water was running down behind the liner that covered the face of the falls, to cause a drop of several inches of the overall water level in the pond! If you think about it, unknowingly pumping water out of your pond for hours on end, even in very small amounts is going to cause quite a scary drop by morning!

The relief you feel when you discover that the problem is so easily fixed is unimaginable. A simple thinning out of the plants to stop the damming up action is all that was needed! In other words......it was just a Dam Leak!

Turns out this is a common problem but when you experience it for the first time it seems like you are the only one it could possibly happen to! So keep this one in mind if you notice a sudden drop in the water level of your pond.

Go on Leak Patrol and maybe you can avoid the trauma of tearing up the plumbing!

* You drive an old beat up 1976 Chevy, but have $10,000 sitting in a hole in your back yard.

* Your two Rotweilers have to entertain themselves while you teach the Koi new tricks.

* You bought a wet suit at Samís Club and you donít ski nor scuba dive, but think it works great in the pond.

* You count jumping Koi to fall asleep instead of sheep.

* You get more excited about buying a pair of waders (or wet suit), than you do when you buy a new pair of shoes.

* You are more concerned about what will happen to your plants and fish if someone falls into the pond than what happens to the person who falls.

* You put off going on vacation because you would go into WITHDRAWAL.

* You are still going out every morning to see if that new water lily that you paid way too much for has finally opened up.

* You call the local TV news station to announce your Lotus has bloomed and canít understand why they are not sending out a team to do a live from the scene special report during the afternoon soap operas.

Playing in the Mud!

Like little kids, we were. 20 grown adults all making what at first glance would appear to be mud pies. Gary Whittenbaugh (the conifer man) was again the guest speaker at our last meeting. Last time he spoke on conifers, this time he helped anyone interested in the making of faux cement planters. (They look like cement planters only extra light weight)

The technique requires you to wrap a small container, like a pan or dish, in a garbage bag, then turning it upside down and actually packing the cement mixture around it to form a pot. (Hopefully when it dries). The men seemed to take responsibility for mixing up the secret formula. (Which was greatly appreciated by all) So while some of the men where out in the cold on the drive way, the rest of us where up to our elbows in their muddy concoction. An occasional mud fight may have erupted where it not for everyoneís continued patience and cooperation. All said and done, we had about 20 perfect mud pots (no two alike) spread all over Harold and Barb Cassenís garage, a big mess on the floor, and 20 satisfied artist. A small troop of us will have to return four days later to turn the green dried pots over and remove them from their molds.

The Secret Formula: 1 part Portland cement, 1 1/2 parts sphagnum moss (sifted), 1 1/2 parts perilite. Mix dry ingredients together thoroughly then add water to a cottage cheese consistence. Pack 1 - 1 1/2 inch thick around your form, add a layer of wire reinforcement and poke several pieces of 1/2 inch PVC threw to form drainage holes. Later these need to be removed. Pack an additional 1 - 1 1/2 inch of cement over the wire mess. Allow 4 days to partial dry before you try to turn it over and remove from mold. You must either allow them now to sit for several weeks to age out the cement or they can be soaked in potassium pomegrate (Or something like that! You can order it from your drug store, but itís very poisonous so be extra careful) It will quick age the cement.

Thanks everyone for your help and cooperation. - Jackie

If you plan to be in the Cedar Rapids area on Saturday, September 18th, you are invited to the pond of Herman & Rose Mary Michels. The Michels are having an Open House from 6 - 9 pm for their newly completed pond. It has been several years in the planning. And all summer in the completing stage. (Herman dug the hole in 2003) Now is the time to celebrate!

There will be BBQ and beans and pop. Hooked on Fish will be providing Door prizes. Please RSVP as soon as possible to Herman and Rose Mary at 366-1789. Then come out and celebrate the newest EIPS pond.

Take 43rd Street south off of Mount Vernon Road in SE Cedar Rapids. The pond is in the front yard. This is a big one so you wonít be able to miss it at the bottom of the hill on the right.

At the Eastern Iowa Garden and Landscape show at The Brucemore Mansion a conversation lead to ponds and grasses. A local pond builder (Kevin Bailey) told of how he worked on fixing a pond that was riddled (holes in the liner) by Red Baron Grass. This grass has a sturdy, aggressive root system and it just poked holes right through the liner. He did note the pond did not have an under lament like carpet or anything. So there was more than one mistake along the way. But you might be careful putting ornamental grasses too close to the pond and/or omitting the under liner.

Reminder: If you have not paid your dues for the year, this will be the last newsletter you will be receiving.

Eastern Iowa Pond Society Membership Application

Sat/Sun... Sharon Weiss - Vinton
Ornamental grass

Sat/Sun... TBA Recognition & elections

All locations and topics are subject to change.

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