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Welcome to Meilie's Secret Garden!

A view of the backyard and pond

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Last updated: 01/26/2000

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Hawaii Vacation / Back To The Islands

Hawaiian Leis/Fresh Flowers: Direct from Hawaii!

You are invited to tour my garden and koi pond where one can lose themselves amongst a mini paradise of flora and fauna and finned friends.

I garden organically, meaning I don't use any of those highly toxic and permanent chemicals that can leach into our water system after it has paralized and destroyed everything in it's path while getting there, and biodiverse by having a wide assortment of plants, some even known as "weeds", as many of them are beneficial and even edible such as: chickweed, dandelion, purslane and wild violet.

A weed is a plant that is growing where it was not purposefully placed by human hands.

I have planted some 12 flower/herb/vegetable beds of assorted sizes and shapes each with their own mini-environment, as some are in total sun, partial sun/shade and total shade. If you select plants that can survive the environment you currently have you have a better chance of survival than trying to alter the conditions too much to cater to less adapted varieties. You can amend the soil and cut down tree limbs for more light, but you you can alter the conditions only to a degree and even then you will be working more against nature than with it.

Among the variety of plants I have are: 9 roses (species, heirloom & modern), 5 clematis (ranging from silver/lavender to deep blue), a dozen assorted ferns and hosta, azaleas, lilies (daylilies, asiatic & oriental), herbs (angelica, basils, chives, French tarragon, garlic, mints: apple, lemon, orange, spearmint, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage, tansy & thyme), foxglove, Japanese anemone, hollyhock, 6 dwarf fruit trees (cherry, 5-in-1 apple, 2 plums, apricot, plumcot), highbush cranberry, blueberry, a grapevine and strawberries.

Each bed consists of a biodiverse planting. For instance the Fern Bed contains 7-8 varieties of ferns along with hostas, violets, cyclamen, clematis, wild ginger, daffodil, narcissus and impatient. Note that I have grouped shade loving plants together as this bed sits under a mature tree giving it a lot more shade than sun. The spring blooming bulbs are planted deep enough to not compete with the perennials and annuals and give a nice boost of color after a dreary winter. The impatients readily reseed themselves and by late summer have filled in all gaps with sprays of white, pink & lavender flowers. A bed that is planted in full sun has an assortment of roses, iris and daylilies bordered with wild violets and chameleon plant while another has an array of asiatic & oriental lilies, roses, strawberry, marigold, poppy, peony, foxglove, conifer, fig, applemint and other herbs.

The soil is originally heavy clay with chunks of broken quartz. I have been amending the soil from Day One with leaves, grass clippings and kitchen scraps that I have composted in one of my compost piles. My theories and practices in my garden are to create and maintain a natural balance of life, allowing me to enjoy the wonders of nature around me mainly because I have taken care to not be coerced in the poisoning of my environment with "quick fix" man-made chemicals such as herbicides, pesticides, salt based fertilizers. If you take time to learn more about the source of pest, disease, virus or other growth inhibitors you can usually solve or deter the problem with a less harmful application of an organic source.

Compost is one of those "miracle workers" in organic gardening.

Homemade compost is best, as it has the live bacteria that make plant matter break down allowing nutrients to be absorbed by the plants, promoting a healthy plant and allowing increased growth and flower and fruit production. Beware of buying chemically treated products and make sure you have an "organic" label. Even then store bought compost may have been heat treated or altered at some point making the live, beneficial bacteria inactive plus you never know what ingredients they use to make this compost. (This is also true of commercial quality mulch.) I highly suggest you learn to make your own, it only takes a few cubic square feet of yard space and can be contained and disguised with a little inginuity so not to be an eyesore.

A healthy soil creates a healthy plant.

It is thought that healthy, nutritionally balanced plants can ward off pests and diseases, just like a healthy person has a better chance of warding off minor illnesses. One's environment is everything! Gardening is a healthy way to relieve your excess stress, get some fresh air and exercise, establish a sense of self-worth and well-being and benefit from the pure beauty of what nature provides, be it an expansive garden of heirloom roses, a humble patch of fresh herbs and vegetables, a field of wildflowers or a windowsill garden. You too can create your own organic paradise to enjoy!

Click for more phish photos:

The pond is the latest addition to our little paradise. It has created a new sense of relaxation and well-being in the garden. The wonderful sound of the waterfall cascading from the upper pond with the lotus leaves swaying above give a sense of serenity and invite the wildlife to visit more readily. Our garden is a daily witness to the birds, squirrels, butterflies, dragonflies and other creatures that come to drink, bathe and enjoy the water's life sustaining qualities. The lower pond has waterlilies and arrowhead plants and is home to an assortment of fish including a 17" Showa Koi named (by my husband), Dogan Zenshi who I've trained to eat from my hand and will follow you around the pond begging for food whenever you venture near it.

The other fish consist of smaller koi ranging from 6-14", several butterfly (long-finned) koi, and ryukin. These are all hardy to winter temperatures as long as the water and air quality are life supporting.

Owning a pond is a whole new experience in mastering an ecosystem that is dependant on your knowledge of keeping the environment free from contaminants. The water pH has to be within a safe range, free from chlorine and other life killing chemicals. The ammonia level, the waste that is eliminated from the fish, needs to be processed by ammonia eating bacteria and mirco-organisms to keep the water non-toxic. The oxygen content of the water needs to be kept in a safe range to prevent suffocation along with the temperature and amount of direct sunlight need to be monitored and moderated so they aren't over heated in the summer or frozen in the winter.

Click here for my Pond Information: Maintenance and Emergency Page

There's such a thrill in having a pond of healthy fish especially when they become accustom to you and feed from your hand! These guys are constantly begging whenever I walk near the pond.

There is so much more to know about having a pond and keeping the water quality high. Before constructing one, I would highly recommend doing some research and even getting involved with a koi or pond society that can help educate you in your interest of being a responsible pond keeper. The largest koi society in the US is the Mid-Atlantic Koi Society (MAKC). They have several chapters within the area and consist of members who have a wide knowledge of keeping koi/ponds and are always eager to share their expertise with fellow members.

For those of you who are looking for koi I can direct ship to you some nice, healthy Japanese imported koi, check out:

For the real koi enthusiasts I am also able to get direct to you
High Quality/Show Koi.

Check them out and contact: Meilie


More Info On Pond Construction

I also had a chance to visit a Koi Farm in Hawaii and thought you may enjoy these photos too.

Hawaii Koi Farm

I hope I have sparked an interest in helping to keep our earth a healthy place to live. All of us must participate if we wish to reside on Planet Earth and we must start at home, in our own backyard, at work and at play. We are responsible for the damage that is done to our environment and it may be an irreversible tragedy if we continue to move forward blindly. Be aware of the poisons that we use daily and discontinue their use. There are usually alternatives to the harsh chemicals we use that can and will make a difference for our current and future generations. Click here for my Resources Page for non-toxic garden and household products and Live Koi for sale.

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Pond Tours

Be sure to check out my photos of:
Dick and Betty Roemer's Pond

Ray Abell's Pond

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