Gardening is not a static thing but always evolving and changing. Sometimes aspects of the garden present themselves as challenges when least expected. Often planning and planting go hand in hand but situations change and the plan needs to be improved upon.

My Koi Pond is one of those.

The urgency to build the pond and get the Koi moved dictated a position out of the way of possible remodel (planning for the future). It also needed to be close to the house because the Koi are actually pets that need to be related to, fed and even touched. They would not like to be tucked into an out of way place (relational site location). They must also be protected from predators so close monitoring is also essential (practical site location).

One thing that has become important is the need for controlling the algae in the pond. The sun is intense in this open location so the water temperature is warm and the algae love the light and the warm water. There are several ways to handle the algae problem in any pond such as bacterial filters (called bead filters), UV light treatments, and chemical treatments. However, one of the easiest and most effective is shade. By shading the water the light is blocked and water is cooler thus helping to control the growth of algae. The bead filter, UV Filter and chemical treatments are in use but right now the pond is still the color of pea soup and suspended algae is obscuring the fish!

My recent visit to the new garden of Little and Lewis on Bainbridge Island confirmed that shade was probably best solution. They have a small pond with fragrant water lily and pitcher plants (get Botanical name) located in the courtyard with overhanging bamboo, Tasmanian Tree Fern and Abutilon. Crazy non – natives that required protection and a heater in the pond but that also create shade that keeps algae at bay.

The challenge now is how to create lush shade near the Koi Pond without blocking the view to the water. Granted there is a certain aesthetic that can be used in creating the necessary shade and also shaping a more focused view instead of wide-open view. The same principal is seen in tree pruning called ‘limbing up’ in which the gardener trims off lower branches so the focal point is cast between the tree trunks. This gives you a more interesting view by framing it and focusing the eye towards it.

Plantings at the end of the pond will help eventually but will take a while to grow into the actual shade needed to be effective. Here is a first photo of a Japanese maple in position towards the southeast.

This is located in front of the view so it will block some view, and provide shade from the morning sun.

I would love to hear the thoughts of other Gardeners out there. Share your ideas and insights on the Challenge.     Here is a layout of the space.   Let me know what you think!!

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