Ponds gone wild

Cattails that have invaded the koi pond from a nearby wetland are limited to a small section of the shallows by more vigorous pickerrel weed (Pontederia cordata), yellow flag iris (Iris pseudacorus), and less aggressive variegated leaf cattails planted in this bog area (below) of the pond years ago. The native cattails are on the far side of this pond that becomes more wild in appearance each year. I’m inclined to leave well enough alone.

Not too long ago, the boulder edged pond was somewhat neatly planted with Japanese iris and rushes in small pockets of gravel. Oakleaf hydrangea and paperbush were set back so that the perimeter of the pond could be traveled by hopping from one stone to the next. This ended, as did easy maintenance, as the shrubs spread, as branches of a winter jasmine cascaded to cover the pond’s edge, and yellow flags seeded into every crevice between stones. Maintenance to prune and pull invaders twice each year could possibly keep order, but I preferred a more natural look from the start, and then there was no turning back.

Japanese irises and Oakleaf hydrangea spill over the edges of the koi pond.

Today, a white berried beautyberry (Callicarpa dichotoma f. albifructa, below) arches far above the pond’s small waterfall, branches supported by an Okame cherry to arch fifteen feet above the pond. The effect is undeniably wild and unmanaged. With some effort, entry to the backside could access to chop out the seedling beautyberries, to restore some semblance of order. But why?

As I lounge on the stone patio beside the pond, a blue heron settles into the single area of shallow water not covered by vegetation. I move, or the chair squeaks, and the startled heron screeches and hurriedly flies off, circling overhead once to confirm my threatening presence, I suppose. There are uncountable dozens of koi in the pond that is now too murky to see the largest residents that shyly keep to the lower depths. I don’t believe the fishing is good in this deep pond despite an abundant population of koi and goldfish compared to neighboring farm ponds.

Two large Northern Brown water snakes that resided in the pond in recent years have apparently moved on. A single smaller snake, I suspect progeny of one of the two, is seen occasionally, and while numerous voids are available beneath and between boulders, there are few stones not covered by foliage and open for stretching out in the afternoon sun.

While my wife was ready and willing to remove the snakes by any force necessary, I am only more cautious in invading spaces to pull Japanese stilt grasses that have become a continuing problem. I’ve witnessed, more than a few times, a Northern Brown striking to grab a small koi from the cover of the dense irises. I am at first inclined to provide assistance to the defenseless fish, but there are many more in this pond that has become increasingly wild.

3 Comments Add yours

  1. tonytomeo says:

    Do white beautyberry naturalize too? I really want to row the North American beautyberry, and might also want to try a white beautyberry just because I like white so. Does there happen to be a white cultivar of American beautyberry?

    1. tonytomeo says:

      Oh, I think you told me about that already.

  2. my mud pond also gone wild the grasses grow tall on its edges and I am also cautious not to stumble on snakes

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