Austin Pond Society May 2017 Meeting


As it usually does, the third Monday of the month rolled around and with it the Monthly Austin Pond Society Meeting. This one was held for the wonderful sponsors to set up a table and Meet and Greet the members. Those that had goodies for sale, brought them along and set them out to tempt the most stringent of buyers. Those that sold services greeted the many people that attended and engaged them in conversation about what they had to offer. There were about 45 members attending and they got to meet the following sponsors.

Cory Ferrier 
Bloomers – Marcos and Jody
PrivateLabel Realty – Barb Lenhardt
Water Garden Gems – Shane and Alona
Taylormade – Taylor Miller
Amber Prosceno LMT – Amber Prosceno
Hill Country Water gardens – Jeremy and Emily
Texas Land and Water Design – Paul Lawrence
Honeycomb Fish Farm – Steve and Yvonne
The Great Outdoors – Al
Environmental Survey Consulting – David and Amy 

Each, as they were introduced, gave a brief description of their business. Several brought and sold their wares while others  contributed door prizes and in the case of Hill Country Water Gardens, an entire Fairie Garden to be auctioned off for charity. It eventually went for $140.00 to one of the members who bought it as a gift for his wife’s upcoming birthday.

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The evening was a huge success as members got to meet the sponsors. Intermixed in all of the excitement were several raffles and door prizes which always garners interest.

This video is of the Sponsor Meeting.

Sponsor Night May 5-15-2016 from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

This video is of the several auctions and door prizes.

Auction at Sponsor Night May 2017 from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

The food for the evening was Pot Luck and the members didn’t disappoint as there were many hot dishes and lots of desert. most of which was consumed by the Members. The meeting ended around 8:30 pm and a quick clean and straightening up of the Meeting Room was the final act of the evening.

The next event will be the Splash Party which is a private party for the Owners and Volunteers  where they can pick up their materials that they will need on the day. This will be held on Saturday, May 20th at Zilker Botanical Gardens. Then comes the “BIG” weekend of the Pond Tour, June 3 for the North Tour and June 4 for the South. Make sure that you have purchased your wristbands. Use this link, if you haven’t.

Austin Area Garden Center, 50th Anniversary.

AAGC 50 Years Ago

AAGC 50 Years Ago

I had the pleasure of attending the Austin Area Garden Center’s (AAGC) 50th Anniversary on October 19, 2014. It was held at the Zilker Botanical Garden of which AAGC is the prime mover and shaker. In their infancy they had 5 clubs as their membership. It was through their efforts, foresight and fundraising that the idea for the current building that houses the Meeting Room and Shop was built 50 years ago.

Today, there are over 30 member clubs that make up AAGC all with their ties to Nature and things that grow.For more information about AAGC and the clubs and its  members,  click on this link.

The weather was very nice and was warm but not hot by Texas standards and even though I did a lot of walking around taking many pictures, it was not unpleasant. The different clubs were located all over the Gardens with the Flower Show being held in the Meeting Room. Pictures of some of the entries are on the slide show below. Halfway down the hill next to the Gardeners Sheds, there was a collection of booths with the garden member occupants selling their wares. They were of the gardening kind such as Bamboo, Violets and Bonsai’s and many other types of plants. The couple of times that I visited, they seemed to be doing a roaring trade. The Austin Pond Society was very prominently represented with a table at the entrance to the Meeting Room and was manned by volunteers working 2 hour shifts. Our thanks to those worthy people for giving up their time.

At 1:00 pm, Marion Alsup, President of AAGC introduced a host of different speakers at the microphone to tell stories to the attending visitors of their memories and connections to the Botanical Gardens. The legendary Japanese Gardener, Isamu Taniguchi, when he was 70 years old, began work on the Japanese gardens and worked for 18 months free gratis on this wonderful project.  He had a vision of what the Garden should look like and was willing to do the work to make it a reality. As one of his Grandsons jokingly remarked, there was a fear that he would die before the Gardens were completed so eventually he had some help to finish it off .  His story was very much in the forefront with his work to build the Japanese Gardens and he was fondly remembered with stories of his personal efforts with his pick and shovel and trusty wheelbarrow. These were the focal point of many of the stories told by his immediate family. Others spoke of their many memories of times gone past and the joy they have received over the years in supporting these wonderful gardens.

After the ceremonies were concluded, I took one more stroll around the grounds before departing. As the pictures show, I could not help but share the beauty of these gardens and the innumerable flowers that were still blooming. Watch the slideshow below for more pictures. Added to these marvelous flowers were the reminders that Halloween is not far away with the whimsical stuffed caricatures spread around the grounds. The balloon archway was sponsored by Bamboo Bistro  who also provided food for the many volunteers. Thank you Bamboo Bistro.

AAGC Slideshow 2014 from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

APS November Meeting 2013

APS Christmas Slide Show 2013 from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

The last meeting of the year for the Austin Pond society was held on November 18 at the Zilker Gardens Clubhouse. Being the last and so close to Thanksgiving and Christmas, what better excuse was needed than to turn this into a party.

All attending members were asked to bring a pot luck of some kind and were assigned one of three categories based on the first letter of the last name. Being an A, I had to bring some sort of vegetable and as I am no Julia Childs, I opted for a quick stop at HEB and grabbed a pre-prepared item that fitted the occasion.

More than 50 people showed up almost doubling the normal attendance for regular meetings. Not sure if it was the food, the party or the spirit of the season or maybe all of them but it was really nice to see all of these members. There were several first time members in the group.

Sonja, the Austin Pond Society official chef really outdid herself with the main roast meat course which was all gone by the end of the evening. That along with the assorted dishes provided by the more competent cooks among the group gave us plenty to feast on. The deserts were very tempting coming in all shapes and varieties with something to please everyone.


Jeannie presenting Linda with flowers

Jeannie presenting Linda with flowers

Following the meal, there was some business with Jeanne Ferrier, the incoming President presenting Linda Tinsley, the outgoing President with a bouquet of flowers and some kind words which we as members. all heartily condone. Thank you Linda for the past years efforts. Nice to know that you will still be on the Board in your new role as Special Events Coordinator. .

B.J. Jenkins was next up as the head chief of entertainment. She had designed the Austin Pond Societies own form of Survivor adapted to defend against the intricacies of puzzles and jumbled words, building blocks formed like the Eiffel Tower and ending by assisting three poor and helpless Koi that needed to be returned to their ponds. The last three survivors would each receive a gift certificate for $25 from Emerald Gardens with the overall winner, receiving a check for a million dollars.

Survivor winners and the $1,000,000 check

Survivor winners and the $1,000,000 check

I can hear you now saying that can’t be true but I swear to you that it is and there is a picture of it above.

The members split into three groups of about 15 players each. The game was in three segments with the preliminary game consisting of assembling four picture puzzles followed by choices of jumbled words of things that you don’t want in your pond. The final game for the teams was to identify the different breeds of Japanese Koi.

The winning group proceeded to the next part of their ordeal which was to match the building blocks each containing one letter, with the name on their sheet and to stack them one on the other with the resulting tower having to stand for three seconds. Needless to say, this was not an easy task and resulted in a lot of laughter from all who were watching especially if the tower lasted two seconds before collapsing.

Finally, three members emerged each to play in the Survivor Finals, Joanna, Barb and Tom with Joanna ending as the eventual winner. The final game consisted of tossing three rubber Koi into a “pond” from a distance of about ten feet with various hazards along the way.

The entire game from start to finish was a lot of fun and the members all joined in very enthusiastically to come up with the winner. Thinking about it as I worked on this blog, there was an awful lot of work and preparation that went in to physically making the different parts of the game not once but three times. I can only assume that B.J. was the responsible party and I personally want to thank and recognize the effort that she put into it.

Thank you B.J.

With the Koi safely in their ponds and the winner declared, it was time for the last two actions of the evening. The first would be the prize drawing which every member present’s name would be drawn out of the hat and they could come up and select any one of the myriad of prizes, that is unless you were on the tail end and then the pickins got a little slim.

The final act of the evening was the drawing for the Pond-o-Vac  that Gail O’Connor had given to the Society. With much fanfare and drum roles from the members in the audience, Linda drew the name out of the hat and came up with John O’Sullivan.  John respectfully “declined the nomination” a reference to his role as the APS Parliamentarian and asked that it be drawn again stating that his pond was so small, he could not do it justice. The next name out of the hat belonged to Glen Hubenthal who does have a large pond. Glen gratefully accepted as most of us would have done. Thank you Gail for your wonderful gift to the Pond Society that we were able to pass along to a very grateful (and lucky) member.

This brought the proceedings to a close and also ended the year as far as the Austin Pond Society meetings go as we don’t hold one in December due to our meeting date only a week before Christmas. Next up for APS will be the first meeting in 2014 due to be held at Zilker Gardens Clubhouse on January 19, 2014 starting at 6:30. All are welcome whether  you have a pond or not.

More to follow on that.

Austin Pond Society, October Meeting 10-21-2013

Austin Pond Society

Austin Pond Society

Talking Business

Talking Business

As is customary, the Austin Pond Society held their monthly meeting on the third Monday of the month at Zilker Gardens Clubhouse.  Altogether, about 40 people showed up and started off the evening by enjoying a delicious stew that Sonja, our official hospitality person had prepared followed by a cake that was absolutely covered in a thick creamy topping. I think Sonja called it her Goblin Stew in honor of Halloween. Whatever it was named, it was very good and was served along with a green salad.I should mention that our format regarding start times has changed a little. The meetings now start at 6:30 pm with 30 minutes allowed for meal enjoyment and conversation with the meeting itself starting at 7:00 pm. This gives the full two hours for the speakers and for the Society to get their business out-of-the-way as we have to clear the room by 9:00 pm. I took a video of the meeting while the meal session was ongoing but in the end, only include a couple of minutes as the noise from all of the conversation was quite unbelievable.

The Speaker for this meeting is one of our own members, Steve Blackson, who is also our representative on the Austin Area Garden Center (AAGC) of which is made up of 31 different gardening associations who between them assist with the management of the Zilker Botanical Gardens. This is a link to their website  His subject was an outline of what the different groups are working on especially in the area of fund-raising and the future design of the Botanical Gardens. Below is a video of his presentation.

AAGC Steve 10-21-2013 from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

Following Steve’s presentation, the business part of the meeting got underway. Members on the Board had long realized that our bye-laws were woefully out of date and needed to be brought into the 21st Century and spent considerable time in drafting a new set to be brought before the membership for general discussion and adoption. Copies had been made available on the website and via one of the missing items in the original set, e-mail, for members to review prior to the meeting.

John O’Sullivan acting in his official capacity as Parliamentarian chaired the meeting and I have to say, was extremely knowledgeable in Roberts Rules of Order and conducted the meeting in a very professional manner. The current Board had previously discussed the new bye laws prior to their publication and the current posting was the end result of their work. The membership quickly got into the swing of

Waiting to start the meeting

Waiting to start the meeting

things and began offering items for discussion and eventual adoption (or not). The item that had the most discussion referred to members of the Board serving a 2 year term instead of the current 1 year. This particular discussion went on for some time and eventually ended up with current 1 year of service remaining in place. No other item garnered as much interest as this one. The new bye laws were finally approved and written into the minutes. Below is a video of this part of the meeting.

APS Bye Laws Revisions Meeting 10-21-2013 from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

Following the bye laws came a nomination session for membership to the Board for the upcoming year starting January 1. John again took charge of the proceedings and moved things smoothly along. The rules that applied were pretty clear for the evening. If there was a single nomination, then the vote to approve could happen there and then. If there was more than a single nomination OR if there were no nominations, then the vote to elect would happen at the next meeting in November.

John kept things moving along and we soon had a vote in place for all of the officers with the lone exception, the post of Librarian. As with most organizations like the Pond Society, some members remained in place, others changed places and a couple are no longer involved. We did have at least one new board member Nancy Reinhart who took over the position of Programs and yours truly is now the Editor. Many thanks to the retiring members for the work they have done this past year for the Pond Society. Without such volunteers, it would be very difficult to accomplish all of the things that we set out to do. Below is a video of the actual nomination and voting that went on.

APS Elections 10-21-2013 from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

The final act of a very busy evening was the fun drawing for the gifts provided and as usual was met with moans and groans, or cheers depending on who won.

The next meeting will be held on Monday, November 17, 2013 and will be the last of the year as we do not hold one in December. Same time and same place. Hope to see you there…

Below is a list of next years, 2014 Board Members and their positions.

President: Jeannie Ferrier —
Treasurer: Rollie Sidla —
Secretary: Julienne Smith —
Membership: Darren Bayhi —
Special Events: Linda Tinsley —
Pond Tour/Webmaster: Karl Tinsley —
Parliamentarian: John O’Sullivan —
Programs: Nancy Reinhart —
Newsletter Editor: Francis Allcorn —
Publicity: BJ Jenkins —
Hospitality: Sonja O’Sullivan—
Photographer: Glen Hubenthal —
Historian: Glen Hubenthal—
Austin Area Garden Center Rep.:  SteveBlackson
Librarian:  OPEN            

Current board members may perform the duties of any positions with no elected member.



Notice the last position as Librarian is OPEN just waiting for one of you to step up and fill it. Contact the current President, Linda Tinsley at if you are interested.

Please Note: In order to see the video controls after the video has been started, RIGHT click on the picture and then on “video controls”.

Austin Pond Society February Meeting – 2-18-2013

APS Logo

APS Logo

The Austin Pond Society held its second meeting of the year on February 18th  at the usual place at Zilker Gardens Clubhouse.

As usual, we were treated to a wonderful spread of Pulled pork sliders and other delights. Everything always tastes so good it requires so much effort to not totally pig out or at the very least, go back at least a couple of times for refills.

The meeting opened with the various Chairs giving reports of the activity they had  through the past month. This was followed by Steve from the Hill Country Gardens talking to us about pond preparation for the upcoming Spring. He especially emphasized the need to clean out the ponds of all accumulated leaves and debris or there is a good chance that come the warmer weather, the muck in the bottom of the ponds will start to give off ammonia which is definitely not good for the fish.

He also talked about potting lilies and lotus plants and went into some detail on how to do it. Steve took time to answer a whole bunch of questions on various subjects including string algae. He gave several recommendations on how to treat it.

For everyone’s information, The Hill Country Gardens will be holding its Annual Plant sale March 16 starting at 9:00 am. This will be followed on April 27 with the Lilly Blossom Festival which is always a lot of fun.

The next meeting will be held at the same place, Zilker Gardens on March 18. St Patrick’s Day is Sunday, March 17 so the theme for the food will be Irish, Loaded Baked Potatoes, Green Salad, Irish Soda Bread and Irish Cake. Sounds absolutely DELICIOUS. The speaker for the evening will be Erin Cord, Park Ranger with Wildlife Austin and her theme will be, “How to turn your garden into a wildlife habitat“.

FYI, the clocks change on March 10. Remember “Spring forward – Fall back” and you can’t go wrong.

March 30th is the APS membership drive. Jeanne is still looking for volunteers to man the tables and solicit volunteers at a couple of different pond supply houses around town.

Watch the video of the entire presentation for the evening. The first is the Austin Pond Society meeting.

The second is the talk by Steve of Hill Country Gardens.

Apologies for the quality of the video. That guy behind the camera needs a lot of work…