Taking advantage of the proximity to a wildlife sanctuary, blessed with a foundation of trees and shrubs from former owners and getting a little help from friends, Larry Redding has created a beautiful garden at 1219 W. 27th St.
A stone rimmed pond is the focal point of the back yard. Fed by a waterfall and filled with aquatic plants, the water feature sits beneath the heavy canopy of a large maple tree.
Eight koi, a couple of goldfish and four shubunkins call this spectacular pond home. A limestone bench provides the perfect sitting area at the pond's side. Two bog areas, a small brick and mortar pond and a bevy of lush plants surrounding the entire garden area complete this serene picture.
The main pond is 40 inches deep and holds 2,500 gallons of dark water that is kept clear by a bio-filter cleverly hidden in the small upper pond that provides the waterfall.
"It's really not a lot of trouble," insisted Redding about his pond, which is part of the Sunflower Water Garden Tour. "For years I drained it, but it is not really necessary. I just scoop out the leaves."
Donning a pair of waders, he also sinks tender plants, like the lotus and variegated grass, into the deeper parts of the pond in winter to keep them from freezing. He keeps the pump running all winter to prevent the water from freezing over entirely, a lesson he learned the hard way a few years ago.
Elsewhere in the garden, Siberian irises, yellow flowered cacti and larkspur thrive.
Carol Boncella is education coordinator at Lawrence Memorial Hospital and home and garden writer for the Journal-World.