We’re having a respite from the glaring sun, hundred-degree temperatures, and endless blue sky with a couple of cloudy, gently rainy days. I did a lot of work in the back yard over the weekend and now it is a pleasure to look back there.
The pond was ringed (until this weekend) with more-or-less flat limestone rocks that came out of the hole when we dug the pond. But you couldn’t mow up to the rocks without hitting them or getting grass clippings in the pond (and the grass clippers I bought have stayed in the garage, in nearly new condition), so over time the grass around the pond got very tall and wild and you couldn’t see the rocks at all. This weekend I picked up all the rocks (stacking them responsibly on the deck so they don’t kill the grass), dug up all that tall grass, and mulched around the pond. Some other kind of stones will follow, maybe pavers. Now the turk’s cap looks like a little woodland instead of a neglected lawn border. We also moved the yellow iris (the color is strictly theoretical; it never blooms) away from the edge of the pond in the hopes that the racoons will leave it alone.
I’ve also been reading about rain gardens. Isn’t that a pretty name? Very evocative. I have just the spot, on the uphill slope from the pond. The idea is that you dig into whatever slope you have, making a level area, and use the dirt to make a berm on the downhill side. Then you plant (preferably native) plants in there. This catches the water when it rains and holds it so that it can soak into the ground instead of running off. It’s suggested that you put it downhill from a downspout, but our downspouts aren’t in good places, for the most part, while the area above the pond gets the runoff from several yards uphill from us when it rains. I can make a rustic little stone wall from the leftover pond rocks along the outside of the berm.
I always seem to wait until it’s 100 out to do any yard work. I think what happens is, when it’s 85 it’s too hot and I think I’ll wait for a cooler day. When it gets to be 100, I know it will never be cool again, or at least not for months and months, so I might as well dive in.
The fish are enjoying the rain too. They get very active and chase and splash when it’s raining. One goofy fish was burrowing into the pond filter, which is dangerous — sometimes they get stuck and die in there. I whacked it (gently) with a stick but it wouldn’t come out so I had to wade in and haul it out by its tail. It may have been looking for a place to lay eggs. We are short on submerged plants at the moment.