Friday, September 2, 2011

The Montgomery County Water Garden Society 2011 Pond Tour Part I

Last Saturday, August 27th, was a day many east coast folks won't soon forget thanks to the visit of a hurricane named Irene. It is also a Saturday I won't soon forget because the day dawned with a gorgeous sun, light winds, and low humidity-a real rarity in Middle Tennessee in August! It was also the day the Montgomery County Water Garden Society chose to have its annual Pond Tour. Mr. Fix-it, much to my delight, agreed to join me on this lovely day and I must say we had a fabulous time. 

It is a little known fact that folks who love water gardens also generally love gardens. This landscape designer and passionate gardener decided a pond tour was just the thing even though I only have a very small water garden of my own (a mere 35 gallons but it still rocks as far as I am concerned). Nonetheless, even while not being big into koi and water gardening the originality and creativity of all of the gardeners on the tour was a real treat. There were a total of seven water gardens on tour and I'm sad to say Mr. Fix-it and I only made it to six of them. The day was very long and the gardens very spread out but so worth visiting. Next time we do it we'll have to plan a bit better. Today's post will be a part one of two posts on the tour.

We'll start at a wonderful garden in Ashland City Tennessee. This was the longest drive (24 miles) and took us through a low lying area near the Cumberland River in Ashland City. Unfortunately this area was one of the hardest hit areas during last May's historic flooding in Tennessee. We did not realize this until we stopped for lunch next to a Wal-mart at Don Panchos and saw pictures of the beautiful building we were dining in under water. Wow on the redo but let's head on to the garden tour. P.S. I highly recommend the Don Pancho Mexican restaurant in Ashland City-it was very reasonable (under $20) for sit down dining and the food was delicious and very generous. 

Back to the water garden. I am not a fish aficionado but I know there are many out there who are. I am told the owner of this garden travels to Japan every few years to hand pick his koi. The koi are then allowed to grow in mud ponds for a few more years then are shipped over here where they grace one of the two ponds located on this rural property that flowed by a wonderful natural stream. These koi were the largest koi I had ever seen. Absolutely gigantic! They were very pretty too but honestly I couldn't tell one from another. I know, I know, sacrilegious! I apologize for my views. Nonetheless these fish were special. Some of them are even champion koi because they've won awards in competitions. Very neat on that!  Now that you know about the koi let's look at the ponds and the site-my favorite part!
We parked about 100 feet away and had to walk across a stream that meandered down to the larger stream behind the home. As we came to the driveway we were welcomed by a nice sidewalk leading us down to the ponds. See the gorgeous Japanese maple and beautiful arbors? The two ponds were under the arbors.
This pond held the female koi. The females are actually bigger than the male koi. The ponds are spring fed though I am not sure how this all worked.
Here is another look at the beauties. If any of you reading this understand about the markings please comment on these fish if you know anything about them. They are brightly colored and unique and I am sure there are pedigrees with koi just like with dogs and cats but I just don't know anything about them. I'd love to learn though.
Here was the upper pond and I believe this small house may have housed the pond equipment and may also be the spring house to bring in the fresh water. I'm not sure. The males swam serenely in this pond.
The wonderful arbors overhead were a recent addition to the garden. Since the sun was so bright it was hard to get good shots but the one thing the sun did do was allow us to see the great shadow patterns on the ponds below. I loved these arbors for their enclosure, pattern, and the structure they added to the garden.
Once we walked past the ponds we were told we could walk around the huge deck built over the creek. We were even able to walk down to the creek and dip our feet in the crystal clear water where little minnows swam about. The site and location were idyllic.
I took many more pictures here including some of the Japanese maples, trees, and entertaining area but will show restraint and show you this last picture of part of the entry garden. Hummingbirds were buzzing us everywhere and the rudbeckias simply stopped us in our tracks with all their color.
Do you remember when I started this post that this garden was the furthest away from Clarksville? Not only was it a good distance but in order to get to the home we had to travel down a one lane road through some of Tennessee's finest backwoods. It is here that you can truly get the feel for Tennessee and its citizens. This one lane road was filled with roadside gardens of the wild type that included such things as zinnias, ironweed and even the occasional happy cedar man we spotted on our way out. Isn't he great?

in the garden.....

Come back Monday and see the other five gardens we toured.

Words and Photos Property of In the Garden Blog Team, In the Garden


  1. Those Koi are so beautiful and colorful and the setting is so serene. Thanks for the tour. :)

  2. What a beautiful place! I have always wanted a small pond here...maybe some day. Although there is a pond tour held here each year, I've never been. Sounds like the perfect kind of garden tour on hot days like these. We hit 98 yesterday and may again today--I'd like to find a pond to jump into right now:)

  3. Beautiful Koi, tina! It looks like there are several types in that pond. I don't know about the Koi well like you but the website I've found might be helpful to identify them. It is written in Japanese but the names of Koi are written in the alphabet as well. The gold shining one is probably "Ogon", literally, "Gold". I've heard that there are more than 100 types so the types you can see on both sites are only some of them. I love your photo of the arbors.

  4. Impressive. I can not even imagine how much is invested in those fish. Beautiful setting, love the arbor.

  5. About the fish...Wow! I'd love to have them. Thank you for sharing this tour. Love the patterns in the arbor and that cedar man. The most interesting things are often off the beaten path.

  6. I like that you captured the shadows on the arbor. I am not sure how many people on the tour would have appreciated that, probably having their eyes on the fish.

  7. I look forward to the rest of the tour! This has been both informative and beautiful. (Would have loved to see some of those wild flowers on the roadside!)

  8. Oh what a great tour! I love the cedar man. The fish are really so very pretty and I never really thought about before but I bet they do have different breeds. Now I am curious and will have to research it. Tom found one at Petco in S Portland one time and snd bought it real quick and got out of there. They are not leagal in Maine. I drove the get away car. LOL The arbors are to die for. The top is awesome.

  9. What a great tour. Loved the Koi. Sadly I don't know anything about them except they are pretty.
    That arbor is to die for. Throws great shadows as well as provide some relief from the sun.
    Love that cedar man. He is cute.
    Jean, why are they not legal in Maine?

  10. Thanks for the tour, Tina. Water features are always one of my favorites in public gardens. The private one you showed us is absolutely amazing. I'm in love with that arbor!

  11. Fun and relaxing tour! Speaking about koi, I had a flashback memory of eating raw slice koi meat without knowledge of it first. I must had a weird expression when our hostess told us about it.

  12. I'm so envious. I love water gardens except for the labor, time, expense and my lack of a spring to nuture it and the water fall I's want to go with. Ok I have 35 gallon plastic tank from Home Depot. I tried to raise those beautifu Koi you picture. It worked well till the racoon family showed up. :)

  13. Hi Tina.
    Fun tour. What a beautiful place too. I am learning about Koi (I have seven in my 125 gallon pond ~ three butterfly & the rest regular) but am just a beginner so not much help. I'm not even certain why the females & males are kept separately??? There must be a reason?? I bet having the arbors over the ponds probably helps protect the Koi from Herons besides providing an attractive place to view them from too.
    There was a pond tour in Denver last month ~ you've made me think about taking it next year!

  14. Carolyn @Carolyn's Shade GardensSeptember 4, 2011 at 9:56 PM

    Tina, Great photo of the arbor--loved the pattern. Thanks for the tour. Carolyn

  15. The Koi always look like big ole Goldfish or colorful catfish to me. We saw some while in the National Zoo in DC this past week. So pretty....