Pumpkins on front porches and cornstalks on the lampposts, these are universal signs that summer is over. For pond owners, this means that our days of getting a tan while lounging by the pond are on hiatus for the next six months. It'll be a while until we resume our evenings of outdoor dining by the water and watching the sunset after dinner.
Despite the downsides of our off-season, the dawn of winter brings new joys for a pond owner. With the night coming on before most of us are even home from work, there is new opportunity to enjoy the dancing glow of underwater lighting. If your pond isn't illuminated, you're missing out. A well-lit pond becomes the focal point of your evening landscape. Picture yourself glancing out the window as you sip from a mug of hot cocoa and you catch a glimpse of your koi's shiny scales flashing gold in the spotlights. Imagine the dancing reflections on the water ripples as the wind whispers. Add some spotlights pointing up from beneath the trees and you'll have a magical atmosphere that will warm your soul on a cold night. And with the new color-changing lights by Aquascape (coming out in early 2019), you'll be able to dress your pond in any combination of colors to suit your spirit, whether it's red and green for Christmas, orange for Thanksgiving, or Eagles Green for Philly's reigning Super-Bowl champions.
Let's not forget the fish! When the leaves are falling and it's starts getting dark outside before Jeopardy begins, you'll know it is time to switch their food to a cold-water formula. This kind of fish food is lower in protein to accommodate the slower metabolisms of a cold-blooded animal in cold weather, and higher in wheat germ to help your fish bulk up before their winter torpor. Pay attention to your pond thermometer and your fishes' feeding habits. We recommend switching to the cold-water food when the water drops below 65°F. Continue feeding them until the water descends into the low 50's, as that's when they will simply stop eating. Any uneaten food in the water after that point will just sit and rot, but if you feed up until that point you can maximize your quality time with your koi and get the pleasure of knowing they are going into winter in optimal condition.
Another fun way to enjoy your pond beyond flip-flop season is spice it up with some seasonal decorations. Jack-o-lanterns and gourds along the waterfall, mums and hay bales around the pond, maybe a spooky scarecrow in a patio chair... Whatever tickles your fancy! The fun doesn't have to stop at thanksgiving, either. Hang up strings of lights from the trees and create the perfect backdrop for a snowman. Replace the spooky scarecrow with a jolly Santa Claus or Jack Frost.
Lights and decorations are lots of fun, but we can't forget about my favorite part of winter ponds: the stunning ice formations! To get them you'll need to have falling water, preferably from a fountain. A freezing waterfall will do some cool stuff to the ice now and then, but a freezing fountain will be a continually morphing piece of art. Living art. Check out these videos to see the kinds of beauty you might discover forming on your fountains in the winter...
Landvista Aquascapes provides Pond & Water Feature Design, Installation & Maintenance -Repair services for South New Jersey Homeowners