This year, I took a series of pond photos at approximately one month intervals to see how life by the pond unfolds over the course of a year. And now, you can watch too!

April 5th, 2006: A light snowfall in the morning made for this peaceful setting. You can see some of the grasses and lilies starting to poke up through the snow. All this snow had melted by noon... it is April, after all!

May 29th, 2006: The water lilies have surfaced, and everything surrounding the pond is growing.

July 4th, 2006: It's a month later but there's not much difference here, except everything has gotten bigger. The leaves from the water lilies help keep the pond cool in the hot Summer sun, and also provide some much needed shade for the fish (who can generally be found under their leaves during midday).

August 23rd, 2006: It's the heat of August now and the grasses have started to die back. I don't generally water them, rather, I just let nature take its course. Come to think of it, I also haven't tested the water at all this year (i.e., for ammonia, nitrites, nitrates, or pH). The fact is, over the past 5 years, whenever I tested the water, everything was perfect. So apart from periodically cleaning out the filter, I've basically turned over all pond maintenance responsibilities to Mother Nature... and I don't really think of it as my pond anymore, either!

Oh! Notice that the cat tails have developed there in the background. And right at the front of this picture, that flowering red Lobelia is a favorite of the hummingbirds. There's also a huge yellow butterfly bush there in the background, so we see plenty of butterflies all Summer long.

September 22nd, 2006: The Sedum Autumn Joy flowers are blooming in the lower right hand corner and all the grasses have gone to seed. In the Spring, when a new ornamental grass pops up somewhere in the yard, I try to figure out from which plant it came (the variegated ones are the easiest to identify :-)).

Two frogs... can you spot the real one?

The little frog (on the right) was bought as a tadpole last year from Precious Pets in Hightstown, NJ for 2 dollars. It evolved into a frog last year and then over-Wintered in the pond.

The bigger frog (on the left) was also purchased last year, but at Harmony Pottery in Harmony, California, and for considerably more than two dollars! It over-Wintered in the shed.

Here are the two tadpoles -- now frogs -- that we bought this year from Precious Pets. Every day, there's at least one frog sitting here; if I were a frog, I would sit there too! It's a soft seat, with high grass behind for cover, a great view, and plenty of bugs to eat. Mmmm, bugs.

We have successfully cultivated moss!

A few years ago, I was watching Gardening by the Yard and Paul James explained how to grow moss on rocks using existing moss, beer and a blender. So, with supplies in hand, the kids and I set out to grow moss! We then painted our concoction on the rocks and, lo and behold, now we've got moss growing in all the shady areas. I really like how the water winds it's way between the moss here... it reminds me of a stream flowing down through a Rocky Mountain meadow (it's in miniature, of course, where the pine needles represent big logs :-)).

One more overhead picture of the moss and the river that runs through it. Incidentally, in the Spring, we lose about half of all our moss to the birds... it seems they like to line their nests with it!

And... we have 2 more baby fish this year!!

Not sure what they are yet, but they must be either Comets or Koi, right?! We also lost one of our Comets early in the Summer; it just disappeared one day. Cats, or birds, I suspect. Anyway, in this picture, the black fish in the upper right corner and the gold/black one in the lower left corner are the babies; the one on the lower right is an older Comet. We now have 10 fish, 3 frogs, 1 snake, and countless minnows.

In early October, we took a little trip to Timothy's Center for Gardening to see what was on sale. I wanted to get something growing in the little clump of rocks picture here. There is a bird feeder nearby, and you can see sunflower seeds scattered on the ground. Hopefully, the birds and squirrels will leave these plants alone long enough for them to take root!

And then, the Lavender growing along the border by the waterfall was getting too big. So, we relocated it and planted a Columbine, a pair of Dianthus's and an Evening Primrose up on the hill. These should all stay pretty low to the ground, and they will get plenty of sun in this location. The Candy Tuft in the lower right hand corner was planted last year; it has a lot of little white flowers throughout the Spring.

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