Still summer…

Summer in Little Siberia has been very uneventful, particularly the koi. This is a good thing.

We stopped the Sumiko experiment. Sumiko is a shiro utsuri who looks egg bound. We placed her with three males in the lower pond, did a few large water changes, added spawning ropes into the pond and even tried holding her up for short periods (hoping the eggs might get released). All four just looked mopey in the lower pond so we gave up. She still looks ungainly but swims and eats well. I will be watching her carefully to see if she slims down over the winter.

Sumiko , possibly egg bound

Once Sumiko and the three males were moved back to the upper pond, we brought down four koi that I will be taking to the St. Louis koi show. While they share 5000 gallons of water, the four koi seem unimpressed. I feel they are swimming around thinking “meh….” The four koi will be placed on a different diet for the next few weeks and when it comes time to fast for the show, no other koi will have to suffer. I also like having the ability to check on the show koi more easily every day.


I have about 150 pounds of koi food to repackage into smaller bags. I’ll be using my new JPD food scooper that came with the bags this week. My koi prefer the sinking food but earlier this year there was a shortage of JPD food and I had to buy floating pellets. Now that it’s readily available again, I was able to purchase the sinking pellets. My show koi will be switching to Fuyufuji right now. Late September, all of the koi will switch to Fujizakura and then to Fuyufuji through the winter.

Smaller garden projects have popped up all summer. This weekend we re-landscaped the front berm. Two years ago we had moved a lot of dirt from around the lower pond and just mounded it up to create a berm. We thought it would camouflage the filtration equipment from the road sight line. Unfortunately, most of the mound was clayish dirt. We made pockets of top soil and transplanted some junipers. We also planted some miscanthus which is fast growing and thick.

April 2017

Two years later, I’m tired of seeing the miscanthus…the evergreens are not doing well…and I find the occasional large spiders. Pretty and harmless but I’m not a big fan of spiders.

miscanthus = spider hangout

So the pond builder took out all the miscanthus for me, not an easy task….then he brought in over 1000 pounds of top soil, some peat moss and added it to the hill. He was telling me later that evening how tired he felt. (Hauling and mixing dirt might do that to you.) I did the easy part of splitting hakonechloa I had on hand, some hosta, transplanting stonecrop, ajuga and Irish moss. I think the berm will look so much better next year since these plants fill out fast. The extra sunshine should help the struggling junipers.

We really enjoy puttering around the garden. Since we harvested some plants from one area, it needed to to be put back together. My daughter had mentioned that she would love to see the lavender fields in Provence some day. I had purchased several lavender plants to combat mosquitos so I decided to turn this into the lavender corner. It won’t look like southern France but I’m thinking that next year I could put a chair near this area, close my eyes and pretend I’m in France. The bonus would be no mosquitos (🤞🏼).

future lavender corner

This is the oddest dahlia – half red and half yellow with red speckles. I think it’s a mutant because I feel the dahlia was supposed to be all yellow with red speckles. My dahlias are blooming but not as many this year. Maybe the unusually rainy summer slowed their growth.

While winter seems a long ways off, I am already reviewing some plant protection Japanese style. I’m going to try out some yukizuri type of structures on the maples and scotch pines. Might try something smaller with bamboo and burlap for the azaleas and smaller evergreens. It seems a shame to wrap the evergreens in burlap but the chilly winds can burn the needles. I usually have a sea of burlap lumps all winter so some structural variety might be fun.

No need to rush into winter but there are many tasks we’ll have to start working on this September to get ready for winter. Meanwhile, I made myself a little video to look at when I miss summer: