Friday, August 31, 2012

Les and Rhonda's Ponds and Gardens

Welcome to Rhonda and Les' ponds! This was the final pond on the 2012 MCWGS Pond Tour but not our final pond tour on In the Garden's pond tours. I have skipped both my pond and my friend Naomi's pond but will at some point come back to them. After this post there is one more pond tour that was actually a bonus for Mr. Fix-it and I as it was not on this year's pond tour. 

The Shank's pond had to have been the largest pond on the tour. Rhonda told me it was 5500 gallons; which is enormous! The depth of this pond was over three feet and the koi were about three feet long themselves. It is a pretty spectacular pond. This pond also has the distinction of being the only pond  on this tour that had a bottom drain installed. The filtering system on this pond was quite incredible, but I won't go into details because I don't understand any of it myself. The picture above is of the covered bridge that crosses the large pond. This pond was surrounded by bright and cheery gardens. The hard work of the gardeners is evident everywhere you look in this garden.
Elephant ears seemed to be a mainstay of most of the ponds on the tour. They are beautiful next to a pond because of their large tropical looking leaves.
This stunner is 'Golden Spirit' smoketree. Smoketrees are native to North America and are one of my favorite small trees. I too have 'Golden Spirit' and can vouch for its toughness and attractiveness in the garden. All of the new chartreuse growth you see on this tree is due to the recent rains we have had. Normally only new growth shows the vivid coloring many smoketree hybrids display. This one is no exception. Do you see how the lower leaves are more green than chartreuse? The two toned effect is actually quite nice but if you expect your smoketrees to show bright colors all season you will be disappointed.
Here we are looking under the bridge and toward the waterfall. Behind the waterfall area there was a huge stock tank full of beautiful baby koi. Rhonda's male and female koi are all in the same tank and it seems the babies have lots of places to hide once spawned. Normally pond owners won't see many babies from their koi because the small fry are quickly eaten. That changes if you have plants and safe spots for the baby to hide. A pond owner can quickly get inundated with baby koi and this has happened to Rhonda and Les. I told Rhonda she should sell them but another pond society member kind of laughed and said you can't hardly give baby koi away let alone sell them. That is sometimes true of the regular looking koi but the baby koi in Rhonda's stock tanks are beautiful. I would think she could sell them easily.
Rhonda told me she is from Missouri and near where her mother lives is a factory that makes gazing balls for the garden. Leftover glass is melted down and sold to the public. Some of the pieces Rhonda has collected are displayed on a nearby table. Aren't they beautiful?
On one end of the covered bridge crossing the pond is a beautiful vine cascading down the structure. I remarked that the Sweet Autumn Clematis was lovely there but it was so invasive in my garden that I removed all of mine. Invasiveness did not seem to be a problem for Rhonda and many others in our area that grow Sweet Autumn Clematis.
I took a lot of pictures of this pond for some reason. It was simply gorgeous.
Here we are peeking through the trees and gardens toward one of the two stock tanks. I think everyone liked looking at the baby koi as much as at the large koi.
This two acre property in a subdivision in town contained several fruit trees. I thought this patio peach was stunning. It was SO big and healthy. I just added one to my garden this spring and hope mine is as happy. The tree behind the patio peach is a Mimosa tree. This is not a tree that I am impressed by because it is rather weedy, but it is a pretty tree both in and out of flower.
Mr. Fix-it was interested in this garden art. He was not sure what it was so he asked Les and the two of them wound up talking during the whole tour. It seems they were both in the same field in the Army. It's a small world I tell you. I seem to remember Mr. Fix-it finally telling me this art object was perhaps a cotton gin. I am not certain though.
More tropical like plants in this very sunny garden.
And here is my dear husband. He had a great time on this tour as we do each year. Here he is enviously looking at one of the many fig trees on the property. The fig trees were LOADED with figs. I think Rhonda perhaps started with one fig tree and has split off many offshoots to transplant in her garden. She must now have about a dozen. There were several Asian pear trees loaded with fruit as well, and probably more fruit trees though I did not explore all of the plants. Rhonda was gracious enough to allow me to pick a fruit to bring home to eat. It is sitting and softening up but I plan to try it soon. 

Rhonda's garden had been on the tour a few years ago when I did the tour with my friend Vonna. Everyone was quite impressed with not only the pond and gardens, but also with Rhonda's generosity. She is a sharing person who packaged seeds from her garden free for the taking. This was a wonderful large pond and garden....

in the garden....

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


  1. Such a great post, Tina. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I'm always drawn to water gardens.

  2. Very impressive indeed. I kept thinking now she needs some banana trees along with the elephant ears and the cannas for a more tropical feel.

  3. That is a marvelous garden tour Tina, I am amazed how our very common and 'not-so-loved plants' are impressing people in that garden. Those big elephant ears I am trying and having difficulty erradicating from the property, because even just a very, very small part of the tuber will develop into a plant. And that Mimosa tree is also a very common tree here, which i dont like too because it sheds so much small leaflets very difficult to clean, haha!

  4. ooo..I would love those glass rocks!

  5. How exciting to have baby Koi and protected in a holding tank by loving owners! This is a beautiful pond and just when I think I have picked a favorite, well there you go showing me another beauty! LOL, I think each of the ponds you have shown are wonderful and such care by all the garden lovers. How nice for everyone to open up their gardens and ponds for this tour.... I so wish I had been there to see them in person with you but no such luck. I should just plan a trip up for the next one! I love water and plants and the two together is just splended.... Thanks for the wonderful postings on this Pond Tour....

  6. There was a lot to look at in this garden. I can't imagine a pond that large!! Did I tell you that Smoke Trees are in the same family as cashews, mangoes, and poison ivy?? Yup, if you have one be careful when pruning.

  7. what an amazing garden and those ponds and bridges...just lovely and big

  8. well I thought I'd made a favorite choice but this one is something else. I love the bridges. Baby Koi, what an exciting thing. Thanks for the tours.

  9. I can't get over how huge these gardens are... They must be a massive amount of work to maintain.

  10. I can't get over how huge these gardens are... They must be a massive amount of work to maintain.

  11. Thanks for sharing all of these places with us, Tina. A local pond installer does hold a pond tour every year, but I've never had the chance to attend one yet. I can't believe how huge some of these ponds are! I didn't know that impatiens can grow in water, so I would have been checking that out like your friend Naomi in the last post. I also realized from looking at these photos why my elephant ears look rather forlorn--they need a pond!

  12. Breath-taking pictures! I loved the mix of wild and rustic. Many thanks. I just came back from Italy.

    Greetings from London.

  13. Wonderful. I love the idea of a pond but then think it must be an awful lot of work.... :)

  14. I'm enjoying your garden tours Tina. Snooping around other peoples gardens is one of my favourite pastimes.