Annual pond tour set for next weekend

06/14/2013 11:07 AM

06/14/2013 11:07 AM

The pond tour is next weekend, but gardeners and homeowners can get ideas beyond water features when they go.

For example, Randy Hazen built a free-standing “pond house” alongside his water garden in Mulvane. The “house” has a roof and, on the back half, walls that provide extra shelter. The stone house has a finished look that includes rustic windows and a ceiling fan.

On the other side of the pond, a pergola-covered patio gives Hazen’s wife, Ginger, more of the backyard she was looking for off their earth-sheltered house. Their pond has a waterfall that splashes down three tiers in drops of as much as 4 feet.

The annual look-see at area water gardens is sponsored by the Kansas Pond Society and is earlier than normal this year. It’s being held June 22 and 23 rather than in July to try to dodge what ended up being a sizzling tour the last couple of years.

Eight home gardens are on the tour, and the $10 ticket, which covers whoever is in the car, also will include admission to Botanica. Public ponds in Eastborough and at the WaterWalk also are on the tour again this year, as are Hong’s and Scenic Landscapes nurseries (on June 22 only).

The water offers cooling effects on a hot summer day, as do some of the accoutrements that water gardeners tend to like, such as the Colorado theme in Josh Belcher’s backyard in west Wichita.

Blue spruces, deep redstone steps and signs pointing to springs, mines and cabins (in your imagination) set the scene. The ponds on the tour not only are full of koi life, but they provide havens for wildlife. Belcher’s backyard skirts a neighborhood lake, and baby ducklings and their mom cluck their way between the two waterways. Birdsong can be heard through the trees.

Hours for the tour will be 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. June 22 and noon to 6 p.m. June 23 (Botanica will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. June 22 and 1 to 5 p.m. June 23). Tickets may be purchased at Botanica and local garden centers, as well as Atwoods in Andover and at Easton Sod Farms and Tails & Scales in Derby.

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