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Pond2013 tour presents twenty Houston-area water gardens.

While most home and garden tours in Houston are lucky to have ten or twelve homes to show, the 2013 Houston Pond and Water Garden Tour, May 4 and 5, boasts twenty private gardens held open to the public for two days. Jointly sponsored by the Houston Pond Society and the Lone Star Koi Club, HPS president Don Cook says visitors will see both water gardens and koi ponds located from inside the loop to Katy. Water garden ponds (or landscape ponds, as they are often called) focus on features like water falls and luscious landscape plants including water lilies. Sometimes goldfish are used to compliment water gardens, too. With koi ponds, the fish are the stars. While koi are available at local pet stores, many club members share details and tips for keeping show-quality koi. They even operate a koi rescue to save and place koi fish who are in need of new homes.

Houston Pond Society member Julie Young says her pond is an escape to nature right in her own yard. Even at night, thanks to underwater lights and waterfalls, the sights and sounds of a water garden can soothe the soul, according to this Montrose resident. “Most of us love nature, but seldom get a chance to get out of the city or even to Hermann or Memorial Park. Why not have a little bit of nature in your own backyard?” Julie says that while some water gardens in Houston are Zen-like, hers is perfectly suited to Montrose—“kind of kooky with birds, turtles, and Chia pets.”

Many Houston Pond Society members have Certified Wildlife Habitats, either from the State of Texas or on the national level. To qualify, a habitat must provide all things necessary to support wildlife, including shelter, food, and water. This support isn’t just for fish and toads, but also other wildlife around the pond, including squirrels, lizards, and other city-dwelling animals who benefit from a pond to drink out of. The habitat must provide a safe place to raise offspring, according to Julie Young.

She says club members’ ponds range from small DIY designs to professionally installed yard-filling ponds with ten-foot waterfalls. The Houston Pond Society meets monthly, and more information can be found at houstonpondsociety.org. The Lone Star Koi Club can be found at lonestarkoi.com.  Tour ticket prices are $10 for both days, and proceeds benefit the two clubs. –Karen Derr

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