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Your First Fairy Garden

Ready for the newest trend in gardening? Here’s a hint: It involves fairies! Fairy gardening is the hottest trend in gardening and is slowly taking over the craft stores. Fairy gardens are miniature gardens, set in a container, decorating to a theme. You can create an entire world for the fairies, allowing for as much creativity and imagination as desired. Fairy gardening is also great for the wintertime, if indoors, so you can garden all year round. It’s the perfect craft for a snowy day and can ease any winter gloom. Children are given dolls and legos, allowing them to dream up ideas, storylines, and designs. Fairy gardening brings back the childhood imagination and wonder, and is attainable for any gardening skill level. Fairies have always been an alluring symbol of magic. Fairy gardens are an easy way to bring magic into the home or yard. Mini versions of everyday things things are notoriously cute and whimsical. There are few things cuter than a teacup piglet. The Japanese have a long history of creating miniature gardens to promote zen and relaxation. The theory of the allure of miniature items lies in psychology. Miniature gardens are less intimidating and give a sense of control. It is something you create and make decisions for, that doesn’t change unless you want it to, which helps reduce anxiety. A small indoor container garden is also significantly more manageable than a large yard. Step 1: Choose a theme The theme helps set the tone for the garden. Do you want it to have a rustic feel or more of a modern feel? Do you want it to be set in the woodlands or at the beach? Once you decide what theme you want, it’ll be easier to pick the decorations, plants, and even the container. Step 2: Choose a container The container can be as big or small as you like. A fairy garden can be created in anything from an old shoe, large planter, or a removed drawer. If using real plants indoors, the container needs to be able to hold water and not leak. Step 3: Choose a focal point The focal point is a decoration starting point. Many times the focal point is the fairy’s home, possibly a teacup with a door or treehouse. The focal point can be a scene, such as a dinner setting, or a fountain or stream. *we will insert more information about adding a fountain here* Step 4: Decorate Most craft stores now have entire sections dedicated to fairy gardening, as it has grown in popularity. You can find anything from tiny bridges, shovels, and farm animals, to seasonal decor. There are also great D.I.Y options, as many small items around the house and yard can be repurposed for the fairies. A big leaf can be a table spread or bedsheet, and acorn tops can be bowls or teacups. Because the containers are a smaller scale, you can go into a lot of detail with the decor. When choosing plants, be mindful of the environment they will be living in. Many plants need sunlight and will not survive indoors. Try not to add too many plants as they can overshadow the rest of the decor. Varied plants of different heights, textures, and colors look really cool. Some plants will stay tiny, others may need to be trimmed back. For fairy gardening, every detail is important and adds to the enchantment. Try to think about the fairies and the mischief they may get into when no one is looking. Show where they sleep or eat. Make pathways or a fountain for them to frolic in; it adds to the mystery and separates it from a terrarium Fairy gardening a fun hobby that allows for artistic expression and heaps of creativity. The options are limitless, it’s all up the the imagination. You can always make them bigger and add more realms or scenescapes. It’s also a great option for apartment dwellers, as they don’t need to be outside and can take up as little space as needed.
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Why Is Everyone Talking about Pond Aeration?

Aeration has become an increasingly popular topic amongst water gardening hobbyists because it is the easiest way to combat algae, mosquitoes, and keep fish healthy by circulating the water and diffusing oxygen. Standing water is rarely a beautiful sight, usually it is covered with green algae, inviting mosquitoes, and lacking healthy fish. Fish may not breathe air like we do, but they still require oxygen, which they absorb in the water using their gills. Wind naturally circulates the water but only at the surface, so the deeper parts remain stagnate. Today, people use different types of aeration to add oxygen and circulate the water in their ponds. Ponds need to have circulation to oxygenate the water and release the gases created by the breakdown of organic waste. Typically in a pond lacking aeration, the water at the top is slightly circulated by the wind periodically, but the bottom of the pond never is circulated (and can not receive sunlight for photosynthesis) so it slowly loses oxygen and becomes uninhabitable to pond life. The oxygen devoid part of the pond grows and during a storm, heavy rain or wind can churn the water, and the surface water mixes with the deeper water, the overall oxygen levels drop, making it harder for fish to breathe. smartpond suggests using fountains, waterfalls, and aerators to add oxygen to your pond. Fountains and Waterfalls Fountains and waterfalls are a common way to add aeration, as they are functional and decorative. Fountains pull water from below the surface and spray it into the air. Waterfalls pull water from the base of the pond through a pump and splash it over the surface of the water. Mosquitoes and algae flourish in calm water. Mosquitoes prefer to lay their eggs on still water. They will avoid the areas of the pond where the surface is agitated. Goldfish and guppies will help eat any mosquito larvae that do make it into the water. Algae requires sunlight to bloom. In a still pond, they can sit at the surface and receive maximum sunlight. In a circulating pond, algae is forced to move around and spend less time at the surface photosynthesizing. Aerators An aerator diffuses oxygen directly into the bottom of the pond. As the bubbles rise and pop, they diffuse oxygen and circulate the water. An aerator can provide a beautiful effect with its LED light ring to illuminate the bubbles at night. Aerators directly combat anaerobic bacteria that can thrive at the base of ponds with low levels of oxygen releasing harmful gases and nutrients. Phosphorus is one of the nutrients made available by anaerobic bacteria which feeds algae blooms. An aerator will help increase the good bacteria and therefore combat algae and increase water clarity. Beneficial bacteria decomposes organic waste efficiently and more quickly than the anaerobic bacteria, helping water clarity. Fish need adequate levels of dissolved oxygen to maintain overall good health in a pond. In the wintertime, fish become at-risk as the surface freezes over. Once the surface is completely frozen, there is no way for the water to oxygenate and release harmful gases. An aerator keeps a section of the pond open by circulating the water, and allows for the gases to release and the water to stay oxygenated. Fountains can be problematic in the winter if the water freezes, the pumps can burn out quickly if the water is unable to circulate and should be stored inside. Aeration is a year-round need. Summer months are typically when ponds have lower levels of oxygen in the water. Warm water in general is able to hold less oxygen than cold water. Fish are more active in the summer, requiring more oxygen. Overcrowding becomes another issue, especially if the bottom of the pond is uninhabitable, the fish fight for oxygen closest to the surface. An aerator works at the bottom, where the oxygen is often most needed. Aeration is a necessity for a healthy and beautiful pond. An aerator can be used along with a fountain to add decor and keep the water flowing. Aeration will keep fish healthy and help with nutrient build up, mosquitoes, and algae. Water treatments may still be necessary to assist with certain issues, aeration is the best way to keep the water clear and the fish happy all year round.
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Plants that Flower in Winter

Spring and summer gardens are known for their bright colors and vivacity.  Fall has the beautiful changing leaves.  Winter has bare trees...and snow?  There are many plants that prefer actually prefer the cold weather and will bloom beautiful flowers amidst the falling snowflakes.  There are even a few that will die off in the warm weather and reappear every fall or winter, with very little maintenance.  Plants help bring a pond to life, adding color and fun.  In the fall, before the ground freezes, plant some winter blooming plants around the pond and as the temperatures drop, wait for the flowers to peek under the blanket of snow.  Your pond will look extra beautiful even if it’s shut down until spring.

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Live Well

“Water is the driving force of nature”- Leonardo Da Vinci Here at smartpond the theme for 2017 is “Live Well.”  We want to promote well rounded lifestyles balanced by work and play.  Water gardening is a great way to destress and enjoy nature.  There a few things more calming than watching koi swim around a crystal clear pond with the sound of a fountain flowing.  Water is such an important part of our daily lives.     (more…)
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