The pond builder and I were in Southern California this weekend for a family wedding. Since we had some extra time and my adult children had other plans, we scheduled a trip to see our friend, Shawn McHenry of Mystic Koi and Water Gardens, Upland, CA. We’ve seen Shawn a few times in Minnesota when he’s come out to visit Koi Acres and this spring he visited our home. Super nice guy, very knowledgeable and has been in the business for over 20 years. We had a great morning visiting Mystic Koi, looking at some beautiful koi, buying some beautiful koi and having some hang out time with Shawn. If you are ever in SoCal – go visit, you will not be disappointed. If you can’t get out there, take a look at their website. I really love looking at their videos
Mystic Koi and Water Gardens is a full service storefront with everything you would need for your koi and pond in one place. They do pond consultations and pond maintenance (I wouldn’t mind having Shawn maintain my ponds). The place has a wonderful tiki asian vibe that is very relaxing and makes it a pleasure to look at the koi.
So many beautiful koi to look at in all of the tanks. Great selection of quality, imported koi to choose from. There’s a neat koi pond just for the employees. Each year, Shawn lets the employees select a koi to raise in the employee pond. It’s part fun and part learning tool for the crew.
The best part of our visit was learning more about koi and koi keeping. I learned a lot about koi food, koi poop (this is actually pretty important) and how to evaluate the color in young koi. I have a little showa that is sadly losing it’s color so I wanted to get a replacement. I was interested in the ginrin showas since we saw a few at the Louisville Koi Show. Shawn gave us a mini lesson on picking out a showa tosai using four ginrin showas from one of his tanks. We also talked about the persimmon hi and how I really should consider a few more kohaku koi in my ponds. Well it is my birthday month so I have a few presents arriving next weekend – I think they’ll look very nice in my ponds.
Three of my birthday koi, the fourth had already jumped out of the viewing tub..
Since we had a few hours to kill and a drive back to the Newport Beach area, the pond builder and I visited a few shops just to take a look.
First stop was Laguna Koi Ponds, not too far from the Laguna Arts Festival grounds. The store sits on a very busy highway that was quite crowded due to the ongoing festival. Plenty of pond parts and a fair amount of koi. The koi would swarm towards anyone who got near the concrete tanks, hoping that some food would be thrown. The pond builder found one or two pond pieces that would fit in our suitcase. Not really sure what he’s going to do with them.
We continued on driving through some heavy traffic on Pacific Coast Highway but at least the scenery was nice. We headed to Inland Koi which is not too far from the high school I attended. Lots of koi and many accessories – I ended up buying another sock net because an extra one is always handy. One interesting thing we looked at was the construction of the large center tanks. They were made of wood (I think 2 x 8s) stacked to support and beautify a wooden box that was had a fitted pond liner. The entire effect was very nice.
The last stop of the day was Yume Koi. This used to be the site of Eastern Nishikigoi. When I was growing up, this place was a goldfish farm. Never really paid attention to this place as a kid. Yume Koi offers koi, goldfish and accessories. I always enjoy seeing tanks with lots of koi swimming around. While it would be considered overcrowding in the pond, at the store it’s kind of neat to watch. Like the two stores before, the koi were hoping to be fed.
I will say Mystic Koi and Water Gardens was the best place to visit in SoCal. Good people who are really interested in supporting koi keepers. California is pretty lucky to have so many really good koi dealers and places to buy pond supplies.