The Austin Pond Society held their annual pond tour over the weekend of June 1-2 returning after missing out on having a tour last year, 2018. The size of the tour was also cut back to a more manageable number easily covered on each day, Saturday for the South Side of the Colorado River and Sunday for the north side.
The tour had a few of the spectacular favorites plus several new ponds which have never been on the tour before. All, regardless of the size, had something to offer in the way of beauty and in some cases, originality. One of the highlights included a nest of Yellow Crowned Night Herons complete with three babies that appeared to almost be ready to fly the roost. Ironic that one of the pond owners natural enemies could hold so much fascination when babies are involved.The night pond that has been on the tour several times before was just as spectacular as it has always been.
If you click on a picture, it will enlarge and you can use the side arrows to move along. Use the “escape” key to return to normal size.
I have put together two slideshows which takes about twenty minutes to view but is well worth it as it shows the spectacular beauty of ponds of different sizes and types and all of the accompanying work that has gone into the landscaping and plants and flowers that make up the whole garden. One pond even had three live donkeys which attracted as much attention as the ponds for the younger members on the tour.
All in all, the tour was a resounding success and even though smaller than previous tours, has probably set a new standard in both number of ponds and quality.
The Austin Pond Society held their May Meeting this past Monday which was attended by around 40 of its Members. This meeting was a combination of Speaker Presentation and as it is also the last meeting before the Tour, a lot of time was dedicated to wrapping up the final details which included handing out the packages to the Owners and Volunteers.
The Members were treated to fried chicken with the fixins brought in by the members as were the deserts. Incidentally, none of the chicken remained at the end of the meal.
Prior to the Speaker’s Presentation, Barb, our President, went around the room asking if we had any new members and for them to say a bit about themselves. As it happened, at least four of the people and maybe more, were not pond people but were there to listen to the Speaker, Katie Boyer who is the Monarch Conservation Coordinator for the Southeast Region of the US Fish and Wildlife Services. Monarchs, it appears, are a popular subject. Our meetings are open to all and we welcomed them with open arms.
Following Barbs introduction, Ted, our Pond Tour Director had some words of wisdom to impart about the upcoming Tour. At this point it was time for the Speaker and she kept us interested for the next hour talking about a subject which is obviously her passion. The video below is of her entire presentation.
After Katie had finished, we carried on with our normal business most of which was Pond Tour related. BJ made a brief presentation on when and how to fertilize water lilies which of course opened up a discussion on the subject. Ted had more to say about the upcoming Tour and presented the Owners and Volunteers that were in attendance with their packages.
The evening closed with the drawing for the raffle which is always a lot of fun. The next meeting will be June 17 and it will be dedicated to the Pond Owners who had put their ponds on the Tour each of whom will be given the opportunity to discuss their experiences.
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.
The third Monday of the month around 6:30 pm and it’s time for another Austin Pond Society Meeting held at the usual place, Zilker Botanical Gardens. There were around 35 members who showed up to be treated to a meal of Chinese food from one of our sponsors, Bamboo Bistro.
They were really here to listen to Reeve Hobbie from Travis County Master Gardeners and his topic was “If Plants Could Talk “ – unusual facts about native plants. His was a very interesting presentation and was well received by his audience. Lets face it, who doesn’t like flowers and the fact they were all to be found in Texas., really helped.
Following the presentation, BJ Jenkins, who was filling in for the President away on Business, opened a discussion on “My Favorite Tool”. She had brought along a couple of her own to demonstrate their uses. Ronnie Hubenthal brought along a very useful and very long handled cutter used to trim lily pads and other plants way out in the pond. This was followed by a general business meeting with updates from the Board Members and a quick run down of the current status of the Pond Tour by Ted Paone, Pond Tour Chairman.
The meeting ended with the drawing of the door prizes which is everybody’s favorite as we all waited with baited breath to see who’s number was selected next. Needless to say, mine was not one of those drawn but it was all in good fun.
The next meeting will be held April 15th and this one is our Annual Plant Swap. Members are encouraged to bring along any plants both of the pond and garden varieties that they wish to swap or give away. The one stipulation is that anything you bring that is not taken, must go home with you. Darren Bayhi will also be demonstrating “How to Replant Waterlilies” so if you have never attempted this, Darren will show you just how easy it really is.
The third Monday of the month rolled around as it always does bringing with it the Austin Pond Society monthly meeting. Although we are still missing a Hospitality Person on the Board, Barb Lenhardt, our new President, stopped by her local HEB SuperMarket and ordered a bunch of sandwiches of different varieties and flavors. This coupled with the deserts brought by the members made for an adequate meal to start off the proceedings.
There were around 32 members in attendance to hear the speaker, Cindy Cassidy talk about Night Skies and Light Pollution, a subject that not too many of us ever think about. It was a very interesting presentation as she described the way that light from various sources is wasted by poor planning and the use of the proper shading. When you consider that wasted light is wasted money, then things take on a different perspective. She also spent some time talking about the effects that lighting has on wildlife especially birds that are known to crash into buildings by the hundreds. She also discussed how plant life is affected when the proper hours of darkness are not sufficient to stimulate growth. All in all, very much food for thought.
Following her talk, we had a discussion on String Algae hosted by BJ Jenkins which the Members joined in with their opinions and questions. This is an idea that BJ has come up with to hold at every meeting based on whatever subject is important at the time. If you have something that you would like discussed, contact BJ Jenkins at this link.
The last item of the meeting was the business section when several items were covered including the upcoming 25th Annual Pond Tour. Ted Paone, the Pond Tour Chairman, outlined the plans for this event including the fact that several more ponds are still needed. This year’s event will not be as big as previous Tours and will host anywhere from 6-8 ponds on either day, the idea being that guests can spend more time at each pond and have more time to travel between the ponds. Volunteers are still needed to welcome the guests and sell the tickets. If you are interested in helping out, contact Ted Paone at this email address.
The meeting ended with the Raffle, always a popular event as three lucky Members won a gift chosen by Barb, our President. The next meeting is on March 18th, same time, same place. The scheduled Speaker is Reeve Hobbie from Travis County Master Gardeners and he will be speaking about “If Plants Could Talk “ – unusual facts about native plants. Hope to see you there. BTW, if you are interested in the Hospitality position on the Board, contact Barb at this link.
Below are the three videos of the evening. The first is the full coverage of the talk given by Cindy Cassidy.
The second video is of the Business part of the meeting and is broken into two separate videos. The first video is of half of the business discussion. The second video is of very poor quality and sound due to not using a tripod and not hooking up the microphone. This was unfortunately brought about by no break between the Speaker and her presentation and the Business section as I had no time to replace the battery and had to switch cameras. My apologies for the very poor content of the second video.