Almost Summer in Little Siberia

We have been enjoying some warmer temperatures and the garden has delighted us with new flowers blooming weekly. The bleeding hearts and azaleas were followed by Columbine and Siberian Iris… and last week the peonies and morning glory have started their two to three weeks of showy beauty. The garden is filled with the scent of peonies and there’s some leftover lilac as well.

front yard peonies
side yard peonies and morning glory – the pink peonies on this side of the house have no scent

We madly finished up the bulk of our gardening this year in preparation for the koi club meeting at our home this weekend.  Since gardening around the pond was on my list of activities, I was busy filling out and labeling 40 of the more interesting specimens. I worried that the wet weather would make our little rock goat path slippery but no one fell down.


Saturday morning came with scattered showers but thankfully the rain disappeared about 30 minutes before the meeting. We had a few activities planned and left time for questions the attendees might have. I’m a firm believer that we should talk about koi at every meeting and looking at koi is a lot of fun.

The pond builder followed up on his DIY pond building talk he gave in April with a little tour of his filtration equipment. I had to get the hook out around 20 minutes because I had a number of other activities I wanted to get to as well 😂.
We bowled a few of my smaller kohaku and talked about the pros and cons of each, what does a judge look for, buying tosai and basic parts of the koi. For this meeting I structured activities looking at gosanke koi (kohaku, sanke, showa) and shiro utsuri. Nice to have AKJA Michelle Gravenish during discussions.
We looked at showas and shiro utsuris from the upper pond. Everyone got to see us using the net and using a koi sock to transfer to a viewing bowl. I think it’s important that koi keepers know what tools they should have to easily and safely handle koi. One koi was transferred back into the pond without using a sock net. Not really what I wanted to show the koi club members because (1) that’s not always an easy thing to do and (2) I wouldn’t want someone to think “I can do that” and drop their koi attempting. Lesson learned, clarify your expectations/rules with overly enthusiastic fellow koi keepers.
I asked a koi club member, Matt Sklar, to demonstrate anesthetizing and treating a minor skin issue on one of my koi. I have a little kohaku that looks like it might have hikkui. Matt went through and discussed what to use, steps, and everyone enjoyed watching the process.
Busy but fun morning and only the first event of the day around the ponds.


We got the koi club meeting wrapped up and round two were some family guests from out of town. They all seemed surprised when they actually visit the pond.  Seeing a swimming pool sized pond is always different. Our guests always like to pet the koi – Irene is a pleasant subject since she will often swim right into the net.


The koi have been a lot hungrier with the warmer weather. I have upped the frequency of feeding and they are currently on JPD Shori (high growth, high protein). This is a floating food and we wanted to offer some sinkers as well. Last week a 40 pound bag of JPD Yamato (sinking, color, high digestibility) was delivered. The koi really love the Yamato stuff which we currently feed by hand.


We have also been spending the remainder of the weekend cleaning up the indoor pool. The pond builder is planning to do something different for this winter so he had to clean the liner, clean pipes, bead filters, dismantle stuff – generally stinky work. We used a fair amount of peroxide. And a new shop vac…

Not really sure what the pond builder has in mind but it should keep him occupied the rest of summer. Not having some major pond project going on is always a problem around here.

Meanwhile, I noticed that there is a corner of my yard that seems to be the deer snack bar. Raspberry canes, wisteria and tatarian dogwood were all nibbled recently. We have so much hosta in our yard which I thought was a deer favorite. All the hosta is untouched 😩.

must do some deer proofing

The work around the koi ponds seems endless but it really is fun.