EIPS Newsletter

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In This Issue: May 2008

Thursday, May 8th
Dave & Karen Frieden
2791 Jeremy Ct NW
Swisher, IA

Speaker: Becki Lynch—Ornamental Grasses

Bring Your Chairs

Directions: People from C.R. can come down 380 to exit 10 (Swisher-Shueyville exit). Turn right to 965 and go 2.7 miles to the Lake Vista development (left off 965). If you get to the bridge on Coralville Lake, you went too far. After entering the development, take the first right (Jermey) If you keep going on Jeremy, you will run into our house. We’re the last place at the end of the cul-de-sac.

Saturday, May 24th
Arrive 4:30 pm
5:00pm Dinner
Potluck - Share your favorite dish
Carl & Chic Unkel
717 28th Ave
Amana, IA

Speaker Larry Thompson
KOI is the subject of the night...

Bring Your Chairs

Directions: Take highway 151 to Amana. Head west on highway 220 (becomes 220th Trail). This will curve around the Lily Lake. Turn west on G St. This is the road between the Nursing Home and the School. Then take the second left (28th Ave.) 5th house on the right.

There is limited parking on the street. Some of you may want to park at the school. To do this, do not turn west on G St. Continue on 220 up to the school entrance and park in the back by the tennis courts. Walk out the back gate and follow the signs. Just about 1/2 block.

If you have extra time on the 24th, you might want to come down a little early and visit AJ’s Copper Garden. Owner and EIPS member Anthony Patti has a gallery just as you turn into Main Amana and a new Studio and Gallery in Homestead at 3146 Hwy 6 Trail, Homestead, IA. Former location of the Homestead café.

Thursday, April 10th

Felt like deja vu as we sat in Elena Murillo and Monica and Gil Morley’s garage listening to the tornado siren go off. Yep, we’d done that same thing before at another time, but in the same garage. Fortunately, there was no tornado and my car did not sustain $800.00 worth of hail damage like last time, too!

This was the first of our Thursday night pond meetings (36 members and 1visitor attending). A sure sign that spring is here, as we begin our “twice a month” meeting schedule. President, Monica Morley, was our hostess, although the weather prevented us from enjoying the meeting outside. The meeting began early with a complete dinner served to everyone. Yummy food; and a big thank you to anyone who brought additional sides.

After our dinner, we moved to the garage where Monica introduced our guest speaker, Chuck Porto, Retail Manager from Iowa City Landscaping & Garden Center. He gave a great talk on Gardening for the Seasons, showed a beautiful slide show. He talked about the different plants available for all season color and answered questions from all. I know my wish list of beautiful shrubs that I was scribbling in the margin of my notebook extended the full length of the page. Chuck is also giving the club 10% off pond plants and water gardening supplies (includes fountains & water bowls).

After his talk, we moved back into the house where Monica began with the regular business meeting . She began by thanking the crowd for coming and introducing new members: Doris and Richard Klopping and Tony Patti, owner of AJ’s Garden Art in Homestead.

There was no treasurer’s report, as we will only be giving it once a month during our Saturday meetings (However, if you ever have any questions, just contact me anytime.) Monica gave a update on the pond tour, she announced that they have 6 ponds signed up and are still looking for 2 or 3 more in the Cedar Rapids/Marion area. Monica explained the club benefits greatly from the funds generated from the tour.

Monica mentioned that 2008 membership dues are now due. You will not receive a May newsletter if not current with your dues.

Monica also passed out packets she put together with tons of interesting miscellaneous information. Algae Control, fish kill information, Koi types, Rosie and Herman Michel put together a extensive list the E.I.P.S. library has available to all members, and finally a questionnaire she’d like turned in on How Did Your Pond Wake Up From The Winter.

VP, Dave Bell, led our 3P’s section of the meeting (Plants, Products, & Problems). I talked about the recent winter fish losses and encouraged members to evaluate their ponds now to prevent future losses.

Numerous door prizes were given away. Be sure to mail in your pre-made thank you postcards. The Geers have made it extra easy for us to thank our very generous supporters by making preaddressed, easy to mail post cards. What a great idea!

Dennis Sindelar announced the Eastern Iowa Aquarium Assoc. annual fish and supply auction April 27th at the El Kahir Shrine Center on Blairs Ferry Rd.

Meeting was adjourned.

Respectfully submitted, Jackie Allsup

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Our regular Saturday meeting was held at the home of Stephanie and Bob Geers of Cedar Rapids. Although a chilly evening, we still got the grand tour of his self-made ponds and waterfalls. Bob started by telling us about his pond and surrounding beautiful shady garden.

President, Monica Morley, began the meeting by introducing new members Bob and Cecilia Bisenius, speaker, Laura Krouse, and guest, Heather Adams, Washington High School teacher. She thanked the Geers for hosting the meeting and providing a huge table of appetizers and drinks for the 20 members in attendance. She reminded members that 2008 dues are due and newsletters will not be mailed to members who have not renewed. I gave a treasure’s report. Income for April was from membership dues only and totaled $140.00. Expenses are as follows: newsletter $71.98, stamps $41.00, speaker fees $100.00, Don Joggerst memorial $25.00, and Brucemore promotion $35.00 for a total of $272.98 expenses. Total treasury = $4,526.23.

Pond tour was the only other committee to report. We now have 9 ponds on the tour. Monica talked briefly about a “Garden Working PARTY” at Michel’s. In appreciation for Herman and Rosie opening up their pond and grounds for the pond tour and new art/craft event and plant sale, we would volunteers to do last minute touchup before the tour. All volunteers are appreciated. A July 5th date was announced, but that may be changed as it was realized it’s the 4th of July weekend and that’s a busy vacation time for most. More on this later. (See page 7 for additional details and new date.)

There was no old business. For new business, Monica passed a sheet from Jan and Dave Potter, who have 3 koi for sale. Call 377-4527 if interested. She also passed around a sheet offering free goldfish from the Morley pond. She also passed out various handouts including a flyer from “In the Country Garden and Gifts’ May 10th & 11th open house, catalogs from Still Pond Farm and Oakes Daylilies, and folders full of lots of ponding information. She also reminded members of the EIAA Spring Auction.

Our guest speaker was Laura Krouse. She gave a very interesting talk on our nation’s water management programs, pollutants, and rain gardens. Her expertise is overwhelming. She gave us a lot of things to consider in a very short time. Laura runs Abby Hills Farm CSA in Mt. Vernon and can be reached at 895-6924 if you need any additional information or need a real expert in soil and water conservation.

Dave, started his 3P’s section by showing and telling members about a new inexpensive timer device he recently purchased that attaches to your outside water hydrant. It automatically shuts water off at a preset time. (Great for us old timers who walk off, get busy doing other things, and forget the water is running in our ponds). The Bells also brought in numerous plants to share with members. Monica reminded members to please be sure to save some of those divided plants for our pond tour plant sale.

Heather Adams talked about a Grant Wood Elementary School project and asked the club for direction and possible plant and equipment donations. They want to install “something”, maybe not a pond that requires a lot of maintenance, but something that will be used by their grade school students to learn about butterflies, water plants, and life cycles. She is open to all ideas and would be grateful for any ideas and donations you can come up with to help her. Her conversations had the whole club laughing. Monica asked her to get a little more information for us as to what the school is willing to do. A rain garden at their site sounded like a really good idea after listening to Laura’s talk.

Camilla Bernhardt asked the club whether we felt her turtle’s would poke holes in a liner pond. Most members felt they would not because of their type and size.

I gave a call out for free goldfish. Anybody that has some they want to be rid of, please contact me, as I have a large pond to fill for a friend. 934-3665.

We again had a ton of door prizes to give away. Meeting was adjourned and Bob invited everyone back out to the back yard to see the pond at night with his night lighting. A great place for evening entertaining.

Respectfully submitted, Jackie Allsup

Hugh Albrecht found this handy website to calculate Alkalinity (KH):


By Josh Spece

Hosta ‘Blue Mouse Ears’ family

I wrote about Hosta ‘Blue Mouse Ears’ in June 2007, but I felt it was worth exploring again since it is the Hosta of the Year for 2008.

Hosta ‘Blue Mouse Ears’ forms a small mound up to 16 inches across and 8 inches tall. The blue leaves are nearly perfectly round and have a thick, leathery substance. In summer, short scapes of lavender flowers form a neat bouquet above the plant.

There is no doubt that ‘Blue Mouse Ears’ is an adorable Hosta and there are now several sports that are sure to be superstars.

‘Cat and Mouse’ has round, chartreuse leaves edged with a blue margin.
‘Frosted Mouse Ears’ is blue-green with a wide white edge.
‘Holy Mouse Ears’ has white centered leaves edged in blue-green.
‘Royal Mouse Ears’ is randomly streaked and splashed with gold and blue.
‘Snow Mouse’ is a white edged sport that originated in Europe.
‘Green Mouse Ears’ has been around for a few years and is the least glamorous of the family. It has rounded, green leaves.

These Hostas are still a little hard to find, but be watching for them – the ‘Blue Mouse Ears’ sports are going to be the next big thing!

Tip - To increase pH and total Alkalinity you can also use baking soda, limestone, oyster shells, or coral sand.

Chicken Soup for your pond...Salt can be used to reduce stress, minimize algae, temporarily detoxify nitrite, destroy pond parasites, and topically treat fish wounds. Never use iodized salt. Always dissolve salt in a bucket of pond water before adding to pond to avoid gill injury.

Spring Tip - Your pond and fish will be happier and healthier if you resist cleaning your pond and feeding your fish until water warms enough for lilies pads to turn green.

Rather than treating the symptoms of poor water with ever increasing doses of chemicals, find the source of the problems that prevent you from enjoying the pond as you intend and correct just these.


What a great evening spent at our home for the meeting Thursday the 10th. Despite the tornado siren going off we ponders toughed it out. I would like to give a special thank you to Janice and Dave Bell for bringing the Sloppy Joe’s. And also to Jeff Garner, Stephanie Geers, Dorothy Helms, Jackie Allsup, and Maria Hamilton for adding tasty dishes to a wonderful buffet. E.I.P.S members are without a doubt the best to eat, drink, and be merry with. YOU ROCK!!!!!


From A Members View

Last winter I lost all four of my goldfish. I had a foot of snow on top of the ice and did not remove it. I did not make any water changes and have not tested my water at this time. If winter was around the corner I might move to Arizona and take my fish buddies with me. I’ll get my pond running again in the spring (could be September). My plan this spring is to clean everything, perhaps add a little plant material and get new goldfish from a kind friend.
-Joe Hall

The think I would do differently is, I would take my fish inside. Last winter claimed all but 3 of my fish. Due to poor aeration when we had the ice storm in January. We lost electricity for four days and our pond was completely iced over. I did remove the snow. I did not do any water changes during the winter. After I do a cleaning and water change as it gets warmer, I’ll start up the pump and filtering system running.

I don’t have to much algae although I use Ultra Violet lights and organic filter to control the algae. I have yet to test my water. This spring I am looking forward to just getting out there and enjoying the weather and garden work. Can’t wait until the spring bulbs bloom. I’ve only had some early crocus and small daffodils so far.
-Bec Lynch

When we started the pond 2 years ago last Fall, we added 3 dozen pet-store variety goldfish. The mortality rate has been dropping off ever since. I spotted 8 alive in March and one earlier than that entombed in 4”of ice. I’m down to my lucky seven (I think), since one more kicked the bucket a couple weeks ago. Never even crossed my mind to remove the snow off my pond or to do the water changes. My response, Are you serious? If another winter were around the corner, I’d be packing- up and migrating to Tucson! With a series of valves, I only shut down my waterfall/upflow filter circuit. During the winter I recirculate the pond's water from it’s under gravel intake pipe network at the bottom, through the underground pump house’s external pump, and then back into the pond through the below-surface outlet. This keeps the water’s surface active enough to stay open most of the winter. I don’t have to much algae. For two years I’ve been using a 5-in-1 test strip (ph, alkaline, harness, nitrates. All I ever did was add salt until “hard” when the fish go sores the same color and were, thus , on the same side of the scale. I thought they were inverses of one another. I used a wide range pH tester and it read the opposite of the 5-in-1 tester. That test read pH=9.0. I added muriatic acid to get it down to 7.5. We’ll see what happens now. My plans for this spring is to lay a brick patio next to the pond, finish the pond’s edge’s rock work, figure how to cover the liner in the waterfall, and try again with some plants an a few more fish. I’m on the 5-year pond establishment plan.
-Robert Meikle

We lost fish this winter. We did remove the snow every time and did no water changes. If winter was around the corner I would set my pvc pipe with heater plugs higher so snow wouldn’t get to plugs and kick out ground fault while we are gone. We’ll start up our pond early April. We have a little more algae that usual, we’ll treat it using a chemical. This spring our plan is to look for new plants, new brand of food, keep our eye open to new products, possibly adding lights and landscaping.
-Karen & Dave Frieden

Unfortunately we lost all 5 of our koi but all of our goldfish survived. The water testing was fine on ammonia and we kept an opening with a heater. We did not remove the snow or water changes during the winter. If winter was around the corner we would shut the pump and waterfall down since, so far, the water has frozen and shut down the pump on it’s own the past couple of winters. And add an aerator. We just bought a pump that came with a diffuser and we are investigating better diffusers than the simple 9 hole on that came with the Pond Master AP-60 air pump. 3 weeks ago we started everything running, soon we will get the waterfall up and running also. We have some algae on the bottom (river rock bottom), but the water is crystal clear. I’ll remove the algae by hand ,try adding air diffuser, last resort is Algae fix. Our pond tested 0 levels of ammonia and nitrates, low salt level and high PH-9.0 we added salt. We are looking forward to enhancing the landscape around the edge of the pond and adding some new plant material in the pond. We would like to try growing a lotus plant. I would like advice on what is the best way to lower PH, any suggestions on air diffusers or airstones for an appox. 6000 gal. pond. What is the best way to handle flag plants, do I cut them down before winter? What do you think about the self-sinking tubing? The pump I just got uses 3/4 inside diameter tube and I just bought a 10’ length to put together to see what it looks like in the pond. It’s clear that the default diffuser that came with the pump (with 9 big holes) needs to be replaced with an air diffuser that has finer bubbles.
-Joan Folkman & Paul Wise

We did not lose any fish last winter. Added water during the winter but never removed the snow or tested our water. If winter was around the corner we would give some thought to moving to AZ. We don’t have to much algae but the water is slightly brown from the leaves that spent the winter in the pond. This spring since our pond is still quite new, we are looking forward to the gradual adjustments to a new pond. I would like to add underwater lights, but don’t have specific plans. We already have flood lights on the waterfall.
-Carol & Mark Sanderson

10% Discounts

see April’s Newsletter or the Commercial Supporters page.

In the Country Garden & Gifts
Iowa City Landscaping & Garden Center
Earl May, NE side only
Home & Garden Metal Art by A.J.

Great Job...Bob & Stephanie Geers For getting some great gifts for the give aways at the meetings. Your time and hard work contacting the vendors and handling the giveaways at the meetings is very much appreciated, not to mention you make it fun...Thanks for “Kicking It Up A Notch”

'Spring In The Country' Open House
May 10 & 11
9am to 5pm

Hostas & Water Plants
Companion Perennials, Annuals, Veggies

400+ Hosta varieties for sale
800+ varieties on display

The largest selection of pond plants in Northeast Iowa!

Win a shopping spree!
For every $10 spent during our Spring Open House, your name will be entered in a drawing to win a $50 shopping spree at In The Country!

See website for special coupons:

In The Country Garden & Gifts
2392 240th ST

Open Tues-Sun 9-6

Directions: W35 (Quasq. Diag. Blvd.) to Nelson. Right on 240th St. Watch for signs.

May Birthdays

Curt Moore - 6th
Rosie Michel - 10th
Jim Milden - 10th
Roy Gaddis - 27th
David Frieden - 27th

If you would like your birthday printed in the newsletter, email us at mespringcove@aol.com or sign in with the Hospitality Committee: Elena Murillo or Gil Morley.

Working Garden Day Saturday, June 21

In appreciation of Rosie and Heman Michel for offering their home to be the Pond Tour main location for the plant sale and the craft/art event that is new this year, I am asking for members to volunteer to do a last minute touch-up before the tour. The Michel’s have a large beautiful area. Let’s pull together as a club and help get the area ready for the Biggest Event the club is sponsoring. A Sign up board will be at the meetings...Monica

Are you ready for a Club road trip?

On Sunday, June 1 @ 2:00 pm we will be visiting Dry Creek Hostas.

Get your wish list for hostas and perennials and join us for an afternoon strolling the quaint paths among 900 varieties of hostas.

Get out your comfortable shoes and join us.

Due to parking availability, we will meet at Monica’s house and possibly car pooling for the 10 min. ride to the garden.

Email Monica if you are in interested and a sign-up sheet will be available at the next meetings.

By Josh Spece

My favorite part of gardening is finding new and exciting plants to grow. Sometimes they are new to the gardening world and other times the plant is just something I have not grown before. What follows are some new water plants that you may want to be on the lookout for this spring.

Giant Leather Fern (Acrostichum danaeifolium) is a native of Florida marshes and is the largest fern in North America. The bright green, arching fronds can grow up to 5 feet long and look as if they are plastic. The Giant Leather Fern grows best in wet soil or shallow water in part shade, though it can probably tolerate full Iowa sun.

Hibiscus 'Summer Snow' is a white flowering selection of the Swamp Hibiscus (Hibiscus coccinea). The green leaves look like a Japanese maple and the stems grow 3 to 6 feet tall. In late summer snow white, 8” flowers bloom toward the top of the plant. Hibiscus 'Summer Snow' prefers full sun with moist soil or up to 4” of standing water.

The Red Shield Hibiscus (Hibiscus acetosella) is a tropical hibiscus that grows 3 to 6 feet tall. The small flowers open in late summer, but our season may not be long enough for the plant to bloom. Never the less, the main attraction for this plant is the foliage. The leaves are intense, brick red and will add color to you pond all summer long. The Red Shield Hibiscus grows easily in full to part sun, with moist soil or up to 1” of standing water.

Taro 'Black Beauty' is being touted as the best of the black-leafed taros. The bold leaves are charcoal-purple with just a few green veins showing through. Taro 'Black Beauty' will grow 3-4 feet tall in sun or light shade. It needs moist soil or shallow water up to 4” deep.

Sarracenia 'Love Bug' or Pitcher Plant as they are commonly called, is a fun little bog plant that grows 8” tall and 8-10” across. The leaves are actually formed into a tube, complete with a bright red hood. Pitcher Plants are carnivorous – bugs fall into the pitchers where they drown and are digested by the plant. Sarracenia 'Love Bug' grows best in full sun with wet soil and is hardy to zone 5.

The Pink Hardy Hibiscus (Hibiscus laevis) grows up to 6 feet tall and has showy large, pale pink flowers in mid-late summer. It grows best in full sun in moist soil to 4” of standing water. Winter hardy to zone 5.

‘Avalanche’ is the tropical water lily that was selected as ‘Best New Lily' for 2006 in the International Water Garden Symposium’s new water lily competition. The flowers have light, lavender-blue petals and a white ‘pom-pom' center. The pads are heavily mottled with maroon on this day blooming lily.

Tropical water lily ‘Charlie's Pride’ was developed in Australia. It is a day blooming lily with vivid magenta-pink flowers with a high petal count. This is probably as close to “red” as you will find in a tropical day blooming water lily.

Hardy water lily ‘Pink Ribbon’ was hybridized in Thailand and named in honor and support of those affected by breast cancer. The large, open flowers are rich pink. ‘Pink Ribbon’ is being sold exclusively by Lilypons Water Gardens in 2008, but should be more widely available next year.

Now that spring is here, it is time to think about sprucing up the pond with some new plants. Be adventurous and have fun with these new water plants!

Thanks to Lilypons Water Gardens, Bluebird Nursery, Shady Oaks Nursery, Florida Aquatic Nursery, and Craig Presnell for the use of their photos. (download the May 2008 Newsletter for photos)

Eastern Iowa Pond Society Membership Application

All locations and topics are subject to change. Read your monthly newsletter for details and updates.

Times determined by the Host/Hostess

Programs will be updated as available along with the times of the meetings.

May 8th - Dave & Karen Frieden
Becki Lynch/Ornamental Grasses

May 24th - Carl Unkel 5:00pm

June 12th - Jeff Garner & Kerry Shaner 6:30pm
Rich Patterson/Indian Creek Nature Center 7:00

June 28th - Pre Pond Tour

July 13th - Pond Tour

July 26th - Roberta & Robert Ward
Photo Contest

August 14th - Jo & Gary Hunerdosse 7:00pm

August 23rd - Hugh & Kathi Albrecht 7:00pm

August 30th - Social Picnic Event/Noelridge Park Pavillion
Jamie Beyer 5:00 pm

September 11th - Becki Lynch

September 27th - Bob & Deb Kontz
Jamie Beyer

October 25th - Herman & Rosie Michel
Jim Durbin/ Bird Feeding

TBD Recognition Night

EIPS Newsletter Archives