APS April Meeting 2019

The view out of the back window looking towards Zilker Park and the City of Austin.

With frightening regularity, the calendar once more moved to the third Monday of the month bringing with it, the Austin Pond Societies Monthly Meeting held as usual in the Zilker Botanical Gardens Clubhouse. This meeting was our Annual Plant Swap when our members bring in their surplus plants both of the garden and pond variety. The one stipulation is that if by chance, anything you bring in is not taken by another eager Ponder or Gardener, then it must return home with the original owner. That turned out not to be the case this time around as the offerings were pretty slim compared to previous plant swap meetings which is surprising considering that this was our best attended meeting of the year with about forty members showing up.

Along with the Swap and at the same time, Darren Bayhi was holding a re-potting seminar for anyone interested in “How to re-pot Lilies” which included both Tropical, Hardies and also Lotus.. As the swap was drawing to a close, more and more people stopped by Darren’s table to ask questions and watch his demonstration.

Prior to the swap, many members had volunteered to help set up the tables and kiddie pools used for this event. For this, they were given the opportunity of having first dibs at whatever took their fancy before the main body was let loose. With the small number of plants on offer, this was a good decision on their part.

Prior to the actual swap and following a meal of hot dogs with all of the fixin’s topped off by various deserts brought in by the members, Barb Lenhardt, President, had some business to offer which included a discussion by Ted Paone, who talked about the upcoming Tour with the membership. He outlined the Charities that will benefit which includes Central Texas Gardner on KLRU-TV, Austin Pets Alive, and Donor Choice, a charity which funds projects for teachers and students. Prior to his presentation, Ted was awarded the Koi Person of the Year Award voted on by the Members present for his efforts with the Pond Tours.

Ted was followed by Mike Peppers, our new Treasurer who outlined the budget for the Members along with many apologies for the lateness of the report. With the budget voted on and passed by the Membership and there not being anymore business, it was time to get on with the important event of the day which of course, was the Plant Swap.

Following the aforementioned reward for volunteering, they were allowed out the door first followed after a few minutes by the rest of the Members. The plants were taken in record time and the clean up started by those same volunteers who we thank for their efforts.

The next meeting will be on May 20th. The Speaker will be Katie Boyer of the US Fish and Wildlife and she will be talking about Monarch Butterflies. As these are another of Nature’s species that are in trouble due to man’s incompetence in managing the Planet, then it would be well worth our while to see what we can do to help save this species.

Hope to see you there.

Written 4/17/2019

Austin Pond Society April Meeting 2018

The Austin Pond Society held it’s April Meeting at the same place and same time this past Monday, April 16, 6:30 pm at Zilker Botanical Gardens Clubhouse. It was attended by a little over forty members which was not surprising as this meeting was the Annual Plant Swap. This always nurtures a lot of interest as the members bring in their unwanted plants to exchange for others of a different variety. In theory, you had to bring in plants in order to be eligible to swap for other plants but in reality, there are always so many plants left over at the end of the meeting that it didn’t matter if you had plants of your own or not. The donating members didn’t care as they would have to take them back home if they didn’t exchange hands.

The food for the evening was the good old American staple, namely hot dogs with all of the fixin’s and deserts provided by the members. Yours truly made do with a bag of chips and several cookies as I don’t eat hot dogs. Following the meal, Jeannie, our President got right into announcements and the small bit of business that needed to be done. She was followed by Barb as the Special Events Organizer who explained to the group the rules of the Plant Swap. As usual, the volunteers who had arrived early and had helped with the set up all went early as they had have first dibs. They were given about five minutes to grab whatever they fancied before the rest of the ticket holders rushed out to fight over whatever remained. They were followed by those without tickets to hopefully grab all that was left to save the donators having to take them back home. Incidentally, the tickets signified that you actually had contributed something in the way of plants or fish. I opted to not donate anything this year as the few remaining plants that I have at home will be used in my own ponds. This did give me more time on taking the pictures and videos so it had some positives.

The swap went very quickly and the meeting was over by 7:30 pm with even the cleanup completed. This has to be one of the fastest meetings on record.

The next meeting will be held on May 21 at the Austin Aquadome. More details to follow. The three videos that I made are below.

The first is entitled 2018 April Business.

and the second is the Annual Plant Swap live.

The last is a slideshow to music of all of the pictures that I took

Written 4/25/2018

Austin Pond Society Meeting – April 2017

DSC_5179The Austin Pond Society held their monthly meeting this past Monday, April 17 at the usual place and time. This meeting was our Annual Plant Swap when members bring in pond or garden plants surplus to their requirements to swap out for those of a different kind that other members have brought in.

It is always a fun event and usually, there is always someone who brings in something different or exotic just as a change from the usual pond and garden plants. The meeting was well attended with around 55 members showing up. Not everyone brought in plants to swap out but as usual, there were so many that if they wanted to, everyone went home with something new and different.

Prior to the start of the swap, Steven Monfrini, our Hospitality person, treated us to hot dogs with all of the fixin’s with desserts of different kinds brought in by the members. As I am not a big hot dog fan, I made up for it with extra helpings of desserts especially those of the chocolate kind. While the members were enjoying the food, they were able to watch a video made by yours truly of the APS Website and some of the things available on it.

15 Minute Video from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

Following the food and the video, Jeannie brought the meeting to order and went around the room for reports from the various Board Members. Nancy Hall talked about the upcoming Garden Tour and Ted Paone, Chairman of the Pond Tour, outlined the progress to date which he states, is is falling into place quite nicely.

At 7:15 pm, the swap started and although it didn’t appear so, there was some method to the madness with those that helped to set up going first to get the first dibs, followed by those others who had brought things into swap and finally by everyone else whether they had donated or not. It went pretty smoothly thanks to Barb and Darren who kind of kept an eye on everything. One of the rules of the swap is that if you bring it in and it doesn’t move, it goes back home with you. Not sure how much of that happened or whether everything found new homes.

Austin Pond Society Meeting April 2017 from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

The meeting was over early around 8:00 pm as members lugged their new goodies out to their cars. The clean up crew tidied up the back porch and the Swap was over for another year.

Austin Pond Society April, 2017 Business from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

The next meeting is on May 15 and this one is our Sponsor Night when many of our Sponsors will set up a table and share their wares with the members. This is always a popular event and is well attended. We are having a potluck dinner which is always fun as we taste other people’s cooking. Hope someone brings an apple pie…See you there.

Pond Society Meeting – 7-16-2012

Red Rose Bud

Red Rose Bud

After all of the excitement with first the Plant Swap meeting followed by the Pond Tour meeting, it was hard to come up with something to keep the membership’s interest. After all, both of those are the highlights of the Pond  Societies year.

Consequently, last evenings numbers were down considerably from  the previous two meetings. It’s a shame really as those that were not there missed out on first a great spread of sandwiches and veggies and to finish it all up, a wonderful Angel cake all covered in thick creamy icing. I hate to think how many calories but whoever cut it up must have been thinking along those lines as the pieces were about 2 inches square. There was nothing to prevent a person from taking more or going back more than once but I think that the small pieces sent out their own message.

Even I could not resist and ended up with two very small pieces and it was absolutely delicious. I told myself that it would be rude and bad mannered not to at least try such a delicious looking (and tasting) cake so I forced myself to eat it. Yeah, right…So much for Weightwatchers at least for last evening.

Bill Brister opened the proceedings with general comments about the upcoming meeting and some of the thoughts and ideas he had for future meetings. One of the things he discussed was the new website and the section that allows members to upload pictures. The idea being that we could develop our own gallery of pictures for all to see and enjoy.

Darren Bayhi making his presentation

Darren Bayhi making his presentation

The first speaker of the evening was Darren Bayhi who’s topic could best be described as Plant Fertilization. I guess that is probably the wrong use of the word as it brings up pictures of plants in some sort of harmonic relationship. Not what I meant at all. No, Darren was talking about the types of fertilizer to use on water lily’s and pond plants in general. He was very knowledgeable and talked for about an hour on the subject. He was able to get a lot of questions and comments from the floor including many from a gentleman whose name I did not get, who in a previous life had a lot of experience in this particular field. Anyone who has additional questions should e-mail Darren direct at http://www.austinpondsociety.org/index.php?option=com_contact&Itemid=3 and click on Membership.

This short video is just the opening couple of minutes of Darren’s presentation.

Following Darren, Karl Tinsley stepped up to show a couple of interesting gadgets that he had purchased.  He gave a brief explanation of each one.

Karl Tinsley with his "show and tell"

Karl Tinsley with his “show and tell”

Long Handled Pruners full view

Long Handled Trimmers full view

Basically he talked about four different gadgets the first two almost

Pond Trimmers

Heads on the Trimmers

identical. They were pond trimmers real  name, Long Handled Pruners for reaching in and cutting water-lily leaves  and anything else that needed trimming without having to get in the pond.  Both have handles that can be extended  although one is longer than the other. These can be purchased from www.harborfreight.com item #66779 and cost about $25.00. There are also various other models on Amazon.com.

His next item was an interesting gadget called a Pond Shark. This consisted of an extending handle with an extra strong fish net that was held together

Pond Shark

Pond Shark for cleaning bottom of pond

by a much stronger yoke than on normal nets that had rake tines on one side and a heavy-duty scraper on the other. It is used to clean the bottom of the ponds with the scraper pulling the muck into the net. For those of you clean water idealists, this looks like a good buy. It can be purchased from www.amazon.com and cost a little over $40.00

Full View of Pond Shark

Full View of Pond Shark

The last item was very unusual. It consisted of a large sphere about 2 feet in diameter that sat with the opening just under the water and by some clever magic, gets filled with water. The idea is to get the fish to swim up into it and be seen inside this sphere. This can be purchased from www.addasphere.comand comes in two sizes 10 inch and 22 inch. The cost is $69.00 for the small one and $169.00 for the bigger one. If you log in to the website at http://www.austinpondsociety.comyou can see a larger picture of this sphere set up in Karl and Linda’s pond.

Glass Sphere

Glass Sphere

The evening ended with the usual ceremonial drawing to see who had won any of the small prizes that Bill and others bring every month. Our thanks to them for providing this gesture to add to the fun.

Next meeting is scheduled for August 20, 2012. If you have friends who are interested in “Ponding“, bring them along.

Peace and Quiet

Doctor's Pond One of several ponds in the Lang...

Doctor's Pond One of several ponds in the Langdon Nature Reserve (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am sitting in the garden listening to the sound of water as the waterfalls and fountains splash gently into the ponds. The birds are singing and the sun is shining and it is a wonderful and beautiful day to be alive. My Neighbour is having a bunch of tree work done and the air is filled with the sounds of industry in the shape of buzzing chain saws. Strangely enough, it is not irritating I guess because of the association of the sound to Nature and my Neighbour doing his bit to help beautify the area.

I started the day with good intentions although to be truthful, I am pretty much caught up in the garden. I do need to literally get in the ponds and clear out some of the plant growth as it is sort of taking over and the amount of surface water grows less and less. I plan on doing that tomorrow and will have a bunch of plants to give away at the plant swap scheduled for the next Pond meeting. I am going to put the water lilies back in and see just how much the big Koi tear them up. If they do start on them, I will need to get them back out and put them back into their containers to bloom.

Yesterday, I stopped at my favorite store, one of two that is, and purchased several wood ferns that I have planted in the “wild area” of the garden. I got the idea from the last pond meeting when I noticed that the Zilker Garden Center has an entire area devoted to ferns. I have tried to grow them in the past but with not too much luck and of course, last years intense and continuous heat and drought was not good for growing anything and not a fair test.

My other Neighbour holds a plant swap every year and has told me to come over on Sunday to take a look at what is left “just in case I see something that I like”. The truth is, I really don’t have much room to plant anything else unless I start out the front which could use a lot of work. I had managed to get a lot of ground cover established under the trees and it was looking very nice until last year and guess what, most of it died in the heat and drought.

I went to the Wiener dog races at Buda this past weekend on both Saturday and Sunday and took a bunch of video which I plan on making a separate post. While there, I wandered around the various stalls and discover one that had a lot of welded steel made into signs, stands, Welcome signs and a whole bunch more. On Saturday, I purchase a small four-wheeled cart to display flowers and then on Sunday, I went back and as I was almost the last customer, was offered a deal on two small steel wheelbarrows which I snapped up in a hurry. More stuff to add to the garden. I already have them setup complete with mixed flower displays in each of them.

Yesterday, I took time out from my schedule to watch my favorite team lose to their rivals from across the city. So sad as this will probably cost them the Premier League title, darn it.

Today is May 1. The year is just flying by as usual. I swear that as we grow older, not only do our biological clocks speed up, time in general goes twice as fast as it used to. In England as a kid, I remember going around and chanting, “first of May,pinch bum day” followed by a hefty squeeze on another kids buttocks or being on the receiving end myself. In modern day America, such customs are considered quaint and something the Brit’s would do. Wonder if the younger kids still follow it or if this modern-day and age has made those ancient customs obsolete?

Funny, when you are at peace with the world and just sitting around, it’s amazing the things that pop into your head. I’ll bet that if I sit here long enough, I could think of a whole bunch of weird or different things. I know that the commentator at the Man U game noted that the players were wearing gloves because it was very cold and they had just had a week of miserable weather with a lot of rain. We could use the rain but not the rest of it. Maybe that is why I am so happy that I live in Austin, Texas.