Here the water level has already dropped somewhat
Then came the planting. Gardening is a steep learning curve. Love That! Plant it. O-o-oh dear! First thug was the bulrush-or-bullrush which devoured our pond. Drain half the water, find the culprit, remove convicted criminal to where he can do no harm. Repair pond. Refill with water.
Fast forward. This summer has been hot, with a week in March (Jodi's Farch reaching all the way from Nova Scotia across the Atlantic Ocean), while we were in Addo elephant hunting, when the temperature stayed around 40C/104F. We were constantly refilling the pond, a lot of expensive treated municipal drinking water. Expensive for nature too, in this dry country of ours. So we let the level drop, to see if it stabilises (quite high up please, hopefully) at a crack we can fix. Down, down, down till the kingfisher says this place is not what it was when I was a boy. I remember when the water came up to the shore, and you didn't have to take a bus to get there.
Pickerel Weed taking over the Island
The second culprit is Pontederia, Pickerel weed, an invasive North American, with beautiful blue flowers. And it is devouring our island, grows so fast that the 'island' looks like a peninsula. As an invasive alien, we are obliged to remove it, and make sure the bits are mulched into our garden, NOT allowed to wreak havoc in rivers.
And my beloved so-called 'dwarf' papyrus has devoured the waterfall. We started off with two tasteful, lady-like clumps and ended with a curtain which trapped the Kariba weed (yet another sad story, pool scoop working overtime) and muffled that lovely sound of water trickling down the waterfall and pattering into the pond. Make that solid green carpet of Kariba weed, so thick the cat considers walking on it while frog hunting.
One of my blog visitors came looking for 'an elephant named Diana'
Dwarf? It is as tall as I am!
So I spend the morning cutting back the papyrus, which I did last March too. Then the Ungardener comes to tidy up the underwater bits. Maybe cut back the roots a bit? And out the whole damn catastrophe comes. We retrieved half a dozen small bits for future replanting. Clouds of pollen everywhere, and he is sneezing his head off. OK now we can see - what is that? - open water! And blue sky sparkling in its reflection.
We have an Island again
We are now sadly at the really tacky stage. Drain the shallow part. Four legged watering system on overtime, and on strike. At least we can use the pool pump to lift and distribute the water. Wait for it to dry out. Dust off the debris and find the damage. Reseal with yucky, mucky bitumen. Let it cure. Hope it doesn't rain till we are good and ready.
We have the water-lilies, yellow Louisiana Iris and Well-Behaved potted reeds waiting in the deep water, with the frogs and dragonfly larvae. And the bits of dwarf papyrus back where they started, in the baby bath W A I T I N G!
Refill. With perfectly timed rain? When the fourth instalment will follow.
Photos by Jurg and Diana, words by Diana of Elephant's Eye