Outdoor OasisPublished 7:10am Thursday, May 9, 2013
The ponds are home to colorful Koi, tropical water lilies and a few potted water plants. They are surrounded by beautiful plantings. There are ferns that Bernice dug locally, “pass on plants” from her mother-in-law and mulched beds of perennials. There are yellow and orange Asiatic lilies, purple liatris, a creeping, yellow flowering sedum, blue veronica and a yellow daisy, the yellow and purple blooms accented by bright fuchsia petunias.
All around the ponds are oriental lanterns. Flat rocks arranged as stepping stones to allow one to admire the ponds at close range. Petrified wood rocks from Tim’s family farm in Southeastern North Dakota provide accents. A pair of metal herons oversee one pond and a ceramic otter spits water to keep the water flowing.
One pond is quite deep. Bernice said, “I thought Tim would never quit digging that one!” The pond is now deep enough that with a heater in the winter, the Koi and the tropical water lilies don’t have to be removed each fall. Tim says, “We used to put them in a stock tank in the garage for the winter, but lost some of the Koi that way. The Koi, are tame enough to nibble at fingers dipped in the water, almost like pets, so it hurts to lose one. Leaving them in the pond over the winter keeps them living longer.”
There is an arbor covered with ornamental grape vine that turns bright red in the fall. Pots of multi colored petunias hanging from its eves. Bernice also moves a lot of her big house plants under the arbor during the summer. “They seem to flourish outside in the natural light, and it’s nice to get them out of the house,” she says.
A bridge over the stream is a perfect spot for admiring the water features from comfortable chairs. In the background, several boulders are arranged around a fire pit for toasting marshmallows on summer nights. A humming bird feeder is hung near one pond to attract the little fliers.
Behind the ponds are huge Hostas. On one side, a row of conifers surround the ponds. A birch tree makes a beautiful accent against the blue spruces behind it. A flowering crab on the front provides beauty in the summer and winter months.
A block retaining wall has more of the small, yellow sedums flowing over the top and sneaking out of the cracks here and there. There are also more of the fuchsia wave petunias adding their color to the wall. It encloses several globe conifers providing a wind break for one side of the pond.
All this water is too much for the local Mallards, as they love the ponds for courting in the spring. The Overland’s don’t have problems with other wildlife even though the bright colored Koi look a lot like lunch to hungry herons and raccoons. Fortunately, their dog, Mieka, polices the ponds preventing wildlife from dining on live sushi.
Bernice says, “We wanted to create a beautiful oasis for family and friends to gather around during the heat of the Minnesota summers. This continues to be a labor of love for us.”
By Bev Johnson