Add a pond to your garden to please all of your senses
Debra and Phil Barta sit on their backyard patio, their
feet propped up, frosty glasses of cool beverages close at hand.
The Hampton pond of Phil and Debra Barta will be featured on Parade of Ponds July 14-15.
Debra staples plant labels to the inside of the door of her gardening barn, a simple task
that keeps her informed about whats growing in her gardens.
Sang Jib Min/Daily Press photos
All is quiet, except for the sound of water trickling down
a waterfall and the occasional splash of a fish surfacing to snag an insect.
Life doesnt get much better than this, especially
when a water garden turns your back yard into a restful retreat.
All of a sudden you dont want to leave home. Friends
and family cant get you on the telephone. Work is a passing thought. You just sit
and gaze at your water garden.
"We just enjoy every minute of it," says Debra.
The Bartas water garden 11-by-16-feet with a
waterfall and tons of accenting rock went in last fall. Its one of 23 water
gardens featured on the Parade of Ponds self-guided tour July 14-15.
Debra and Phil are not new to water gardening. Their first
pond a small pre-formed shape now trickles soothing sounds in their sunroom.
That experience told them they wanted a bigger, better water garden outdoors.
Gardening, too, is not new to them. They come from a family
of gardeners people who enjoy a spring progressive dinner just to share good food
and each others emerging plants.
The Bartas Hampton garden grows with all sorts of
shrubs mixed with perennials and tropical vines. They like firecracker vine climbing
across their trellis, spiderwort and four oclocks blooming everywhere, dwarf
pomegranate sporting tiny orange flowers and tickseed, evergreen clematis and Confederate
jasmine strutting their stunning stuff. Miss Huff lantana is their butterfly magnet,
bringing in clouds of flying flowers. Hummingbirds adore the red crocosmia.
All eyes and ears, however, linger with the water garden.
"The first thunderstorm we had the biggest bullfrog
weve ever seen jump in," says Phil, laughing.
And theyve enjoyed giving their exotic koi some
creative names Black Jack and Buttercup.
"You kind of evolve with gardening," says Debra.
"As you mature with gardening, you start looking past the flowers to textures and
"Were just a gardening family."
WATER GARDEN SOCIETY
Join the International Waterlily and Water Gardening
Society for $30 and get the quarterly Water Garden Journal. The journal includes articles
by authors of water gardening books and lists upcoming workshops. Write IWGS, Suite
328-G12, 1401 Johnson Ferry Road, Marietta, GA 30062-8115; e-mail email@example.com; fax (770) 517-5746 or see www.iwgs.org.
TAKE THE TOUR
WHAT: Parade of Ponds
WHEN: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. July 14-15; some ponds open for night
viewing with dramatic lighting 8-9 p.m. July 14 (see brochure for listing); rain or shine.
SPONSORS: Custom Gardens and Custom Water Gardens
co-sponsored by Kwick Kopy Printing and Pembroke Stone Mart
DETAILS: See 23 water gardens of all sizes and shapes
during two-day, self-guided tour that stretches from Williamsburg, Newport News and
Hampton to Virginia Beach. Tour booklet lists addresses and directions.
POND CENTRAL: Shop "sidewalk sale" of discounted
new gardening books and tools, donated by Hampton Roads Gardening & Home magazine to
benefit Christopher Newport University and the Virginia Living Museum; also see Aquascape
products; 337 Redoubt Road, York County, home of Custom Gardens and its own water-garden
COST: $10, children 12 and under free. Tickets available at
Virginia Living Museum, also site of a water garden, 524 J. Clyde Morris Blvd., Newport
News; Ponds and Plants, 3821 Campbell Road, Chesapeake (421-POND); and Custom Gardens by
phone/credit card ($1 fee for postage and handling), 833-8110.
ONLINE: Visit www.customgardens.com and www.valivingmuseum.org
For information about the Mid-Atlantic Koi Club's
membership, magazine and events, see www.makc.com or contact Wendy Maris (703) 497-0817,