I'm a sucker for a miniature golf course. I didn't realize until I saw Delbert Goertz's pond that water features have to be a big part of the romanticism stemming from delightful childhood memories, those little worlds created on each hole.
Delbert's water garden in west Wichita is one of 14 stops on the Kansas Pond Society's pond tour today and Sunday. It includes a waterwheel operating out of a little wooden house. Shades go up and down in the house, and a duck comes in and out of a little door on one side, and the Pink Panther on the other, as the wheel turns.
Delbert is a builder and says that these ideas have come to him when business has been slow. He opens the back of the little house to reveal an old bicycle and a turntable that move the working parts.
"This is a personal garden that one person can do," Delbert says, noting that the flat pancake-like stones that pile up to make a waterfall were of the size he could pick up by hand himself.
Delbert also has built a bridge, a pier that goes right out on the water, and a patio that sits behind the pond in blissful shade.
The pond holds water lilies and 100 colorful koi fish that boil to the top of the water whenever he throws food out for them.
Unless strangers are visiting.
"Believe it or not, fish know when we have company," Delbert says.
They can expect a lot more this weekend.
Delbert's garden is one of 11 on the pond tour from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. today and from noon to 6 p.m. Sunday in Wichita, Mulvane, Rose Hill and Colwich. Botanica's ponds also are on the tour — the $7 ticket gives you free admission — and so are those at Hong's Landscape & Nursery and Scenic Landscapes. You can get the tickets, which include addresses and maps, at several area garden centers and other businesses (see accompanying box).
Half of the proceeds from the tour will benefit Alex's Lemonade Stand, a national foundation that pays for research to cure childhood cancers and helps children who have cancer. Lemonade stands will also be set up along the pond tour, and all of the proceeds from them will go to the foundation.
If you go
What: Tour of water gardens sponsored by the Kansas Pond Society
Where: 11 water gardens, plus Botanica, Hong's Landscape & Nursery, and Scenic Landscapes
When: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. today and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday
How much: Maps, which serve as tickets, are $7 and can be purchased at Dutch's Greenhouse, P&P Seed & Bait Co., Johnson's Garden Centers, Brady Nursery, Scenic Landscapes, Hong's Landscape & Nursery, Botanica, Tree Top Nursery and Hillside Nursery in Wichita and at Hair Etc. and Easton Sod Farm in Derby.
For more information, see the website www.kansaspondsociety.org.