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…and now for something completely different!

Friday, February 20, 2015 by  
Filed under Daily Blog

February
20
2015

Long-time readers know that I sometimes write blogs about various other interests of mine that relate–sometimes loosely–to health and fitness. For example, I often talk about the herbs, peppers and tomatoes I grow each spring, my non-edible gardens, landscaping and even the myriad of springtime projects that I take on each year.

It was 22.5°F this morning at sunrise. That's pretty cold for Central Florida!

It was 22.5°F this morning at sunrise. That’s pretty cold for Central Florida!

As cold as it is right now in many parts of the country, it’s hard to believe that spring is just around the corner. Heck, even here in Central Florida we’re getting our version of winter right now! 22.5°F is pretty nippy.

Anyway, one of the projects I went into great detail about a few years ago was the construction of my backyard pond. I took on the pond project in worst heat of summer, and it involved about a solid month of backbreaking manual labor. That was a long and difficult month of work (I spent my entire vacation working on the pond), but it was worth every second. We love our pond, and so do the many critters who live in and around it, and the many more that visit it.

Here’s a quick trip down memory lane. Click any image to enlarge:

August 2010. Just getting started. I had no idea what I was in for.

August 2010. Just getting started. I had no idea what I was in for.

Making good progress. Another long day under the broiling sun.

Making good progress. Another long day under the broiling sun.

My gloves were destroyed, I kept working anyway.

My gloves were destroyed, I kept working anyway.

Pond - final grading complete

Pond – final grading complete

Sod removed, ready for landscaping. The sod removal took many days because I turned it into a workout and just used a shovel.

Sod removed, ready for landscaping. The sod removal took many days because I turned it into a workout and just used a shovel.

The finished pond. It was worth every last second of blood, sweat and blisters.

The finished pond. It was worth every last second of blood, sweat and blisters.

 

I did all of the research, design and labor–right down to the placement of every last rock. The only thing I didn’t do was some of the landscaping. I called in the help of a friend of mine who is a professional landscaper to do the landscaping. Ironically, the only professional I involved in this project was also my only misstep. While this guy did a great job on our other projects (he also did the landscaping at our old house and our current house), he really dropped the ball on this one.

In the above photo (which was taken a couple years after I finished the pond), many of the plants you see were put in to replace my designer’s poor plant choices. The queen palms, the banana plants (since replaced by foxtail palms), the firecracker plants, the Asiatic jasmine, the blue daze, the aquatic plants and the African bulbine were all ours.

See all that white society garlic in the photo? That crap was put in by the “professional” landscape designer, and it eventually ruined our entire pond landscape. That stuff, unlike traditional purple society garlic, self-sows so aggressively that it’s one of the worst invasive plants I’ve ever seen. The fact that this professional used it in a maintained backyard pond landscape is, frankly, inexcusable.

Once we realized what was happening I called my friend, and he sent a crew out to remove the white society garlic and replace it with purple. Unfortunately removing all of the white was virtually impossible, as it had spread everywhere. That crap became entrenched in everything. We tried and tried, but we could not get it under control. Eventually we gave up and, feeling frustrated and defeated, over the last year we just sort of let things go back there. It was pretty heartbreaking after all the work I did.

I decided that the only way to restore our pond to its former glory would be to nuke everything and start over. Well, almost everything. The big specimen plants are fine, and will stay: the queen palms, the foxtail palms, the crepe myrtle and the sago. Everything else is coming out. In order to permanently get rid of the white society garlic scourge, I had no choice but to nuke everything with a product a don’t like using unless absolutely necessary: Round Up.

I waited for a hard freeze to use the Round Up so that all the toads and frogs would be safely hibernating. The plants and weeds are dead or dying now, and soon I will dig up all the dead stuff, turn the earth and prepare to start anew. This is a huge spring project, but it has to be done. This time Lisa and I will be choosing the plants, and we will be choosing them carefully.

More to come…

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