Water Gardens<br><i>Club opens private gardens to public tour</i>

Staff photo by Carol Keefer

Don Troutman seen in front of one of his two water gardens with Courthouse Butte in the background, one of several water gardens featured in the upcoming Water Garden Tour, Sept. 14.

All the featured garden owners on the tour are avid water garden enthusiasts, and are hopeful to build an increased awareness and interest in the hobby.

Thirteen homeowners have graciously opened their front or back yards to show off their water gardens and will gladly discuss how to get started and what is needed to put in these fun landscaping features. It's a great opportunity to talk to homeowners about the hows, care and expenses involved in this exciting hobby prospect.

You will find some of the water gardens large and complex. The Troutman's backyard in the VOC for instance includes two large ponds with a 100-foot stream. Rocks hide liners and there is a bridge and waterfall. Of particular interest is a series of stabilized rocks inside the lower pond used as stepping stones to cross the water. They also grow exotic and tropical plants and fish.

Bruce Bond, whose landscape is also featured on the tour in the Chapel area, designed and built his own water features that includes a koi pond, a water garden plant area and a separate turtle pond. He said he is passionate about his hobby of raising koi fish and will be glad to share tips on the subject.

You will find some of the gardens simplistic in nature providing fresh ideas for first-timers who would like to add small-scale water features. But beware cautions Stasha saying they started out with "just three little molded tubs. We now have 3,500 gallons and another that we just did that is 8,000 gallons."

She adds, though, that in spite of all the work, "It's like paradise in my back yard with red rocks all around."

Ali Reynolds' garden in the VOC is uncomplicated. Reynolds' garden measures only about 7 feet wide with a gorgeous backdrop of Bell Rock. She grows water-loving plants like Pennywort and dwarf cattails but in a much smaller space.

"My husband has his computer; I have my water garden," she jokes, adding that it's a great place to unwind after a long day as a therapist.

Another small garden on the tour features only a simple front-door stream.

"You'll see them in all sizes and shapes," Stasha notes. "They can be as simple as a wooden tub or as elaborate as a stream with bridges, waterfalls and pools of exotic plants, delicate petals of water lilies and beautiful koi."

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