Home & Garden

Tour Mid-Columbia ponds

Sultry summer days have you yearning for cool shade, splashing fountains, the soothing slap of water against pool sides?

You can enjoy them all on the Mid-Columbia Koi & Pond Club's annual pond tour Sept. 12.

The self-guided tour runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Tickets are $5 per person and youths 15 years and under are free. Tickets are available at Heritage Nursery and Garden Center, 2816 S. 27th Ave. and Koi Joy's Pond Shop, 422 E. Columbia Drive, both in Kennewick; at Mac's Garden Center, 6711 W. Court St., Pasco; at Beaver Bark and Rock, 607 Aaron Drive, Richland.

Here are some highlights from this year's ponds:

Ken and Nancy Humfleet of Richland

Their ponds and waterfalls were already in place when the Humfleets bought their home three years ago. There's a 15-foot waterfall cascading from the top of their terraced backyard down into a small pond that has a second, 4-foot waterfall flowing into a second pond.

The rushing water is welcome because it helps mask the noise of the highway directly behind the house.

There were no fish but after a few months the couple bought some goldfish and a few koi. They lost some of their fish the first winter because they didn't know how to winterize the ponds. Now that they've discovered the Mid-Columbia Koi & Pond Club, they're looking forward to years of enjoyment with some advice and help from the members.

Dave and Helen Criswell of Kennewick

They did what so many ponders do in the beginning. They started small, with a pre-formed pond of just a few hundred gallons. Two years later they yanked it out and replaced it with two ponds and a stream with a total of 1,500 gallons of flowing water.

Five years later the Criswells added another pond, 24-by-35 feet and 7 feet deep at the drain. There's a waterfall spanning 10 feet tumbling over several layers of rock down into the new pond which is home to several generations of koi.

"Nothing is as relaxing as our koi ponds. Helen and I find that our favorite thing to do at the end of the day is to sit on a garden bench swing and watch our 'herd' swim back and forth," said Dave Criswell.

Chris and Johanna Davis of Kennewick

Their pond is new -- built just last year -- with lots of back-breaking labor and help from a backhoe.

It's two large ovals, the largest is 8-by-12 feet, surrounded in black rock, plants and a tiki man statue and bamboo fence to give it a tropical feel.

The Davises enjoy watching their fish splash in the pools, especially at feeding time when the granddaddy of them all, Klem, keeps them on their toes.

Carolsue Perkins of Pasco

"Forty years of wishing and hoping, and now in spite of a disability and fixed income the dream pond is becoming a reality -- times three," said Carolsue Perkins.

The largest is 5,000 gallons while the other two are 1,500 and 90 gallons respectively

"This is a project in the making: three ponds; a garden pathway; and a romantic dining area are in. Next year, the flowering shrubs, a framework over the dining area covered with wisteria and seedless grapes, and the "romance" for the dining area will be added," she said.

Jim and Esther Rehwalt of Pasco

The couple built their first pond and waterfall, 2,500 gallons, in 2003 but problems with algae and their koi eating the water plants led to a complete renovation in 2009.

This year the Rehwalts drained the pond and put the fish and plants in temporary quarters. Then they removed all rocks, liner, skimmer, filters and waterfall and started over.

They now enjoy a 6,000-plus-gallon, two-compartment pond and waterfall. The small side is for plants and big side for the koi. The pond stays nice and clear and they have a lot less work.

Bob and Sandra Koch of Pasco

"Our original pond was about 200 gallons and was to be an ornamental pond with no fish. That lasted until we put water in it," said Bob Koch.

They started with a couple of koi who hid in the rocks so they never saw them. So, they added more fish, and more fish. Soon, the koi outgrew the pond.

Time for a larger pond. But space was limited by a shed, fence and pool decking. The Kochs dug until they hit pool piping and electrical conduit at about 21/2 feet. They went down another foot digging between the piping then raised the level of the pond with cinder blocks above ground.

"We ended up with a 4-foot-deep pond of 3,000 gallons," he said.

* Loretto J. Hulse: 509-582-1513; lhulse@tricityherald.com.

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