If you’re feeling stressed out, overworked, or uninspired, these could be signs of depression. Maybe you’re not in need of pills, but of a little Nature! It has been scientifically proven that interacting with Nature supports the healing process, lifts the spirits, and can even help you live longer! Nature experiences and interactions help alleviate brain fog, stress, anxiety, depression, and a whole host of other psychological disorders.
Women Who Live with Nature Live Longer
According to a new study, when women live in nature they live longer. We assume this goes for men, too. ;-) Various National Geographic studies on people who live the longest have confirmed this hypothesis. Granted, most are living in natural environments, growing their own food, chopping wood, and using their bodies in some way every day. However, all natural environments help reduce stress and increase physical and social activity, which keeps people healthier. Cities are full of pollution, as well as crime, and not conducive to peace of mind.
Residential “Greenness” and Mortality
The main purpose of this most recent study was to get insights on the relationship between “residential greenness and mortality.” The research was conducted on 108,630 women between 2000 and 2008. Of those women, 8,604 died during the study. Factors such as age, race, smoking, and socioeconomic status were taken into consideration during the study, and they found that women living with the most greenery in the 250m area near their homes “had a 12% lower rate of all-cause-non-accidental mortality.”
Green is More Social
The conclusion of the research was that high levels of green vegetation have a contribution in decreasing mortality rates for women. These results are quite important in modern times since more and more people are living in urban areas. However, there is a question that still arises: why less greenery means less social activity? One answer would be that nowadays people spend a lot of time in their car or behind a computer monitor. Less physical and social activity could potentially lead to depression. From now on, just think about this: how much time do you spend outside every day? If you wish to live a healthy and happy life, try to surround yourself with nature every day.
How Can I Get More Nature in my Life?
Glad you asked! Most of us don’t have time every day to take a walk in the woods, or go hiking. But what if you didn’t have to go anywhere? What if it was right there. At your home. In your backyard. Just waiting for you. Could it be any easier? Okay, so this might not be the ONE secret to living longer, but why take the chance?
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Design of an indoor pond
The type of filtration will depend on what kind of aquatic life you’ll host. Goldfish would likely be the easiest to deal with. Turtles would add the most maintenance.
You’ll need a controlled overflow to the outdoors or the sewer system so that you don’t flood the house.
Plants for an indoor pond
Aquatic life for an indoor pond
Servicing an indoor pond
Here’s a great video of an indoor pond created for a unique pet store:
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You Don't Like Fish
Don’t get a pond if you don’t like fish. Fish are an integral part of an ecosystem life cycle. Some people think that having fish requires extra maintenance, when the opposite is the case. They eat bugs and dead plant material, and poop fertilizer for the aquatic plants. And as long as you don’t confine those plants to buckets, this works beautifully – we’ve never been able to teach our fish to back up and poop into the plant pots. So, if you don’t want to relax and watch colorful fish swim lazily around, don’t get a pond.
You Don’t Like Plants
Don’t get a pond if you don’t like seeing lush aquatic plants in your yard. Granted, there’s some gardening that needs to be done occasionally, but what better place to garden when it’s 110 outside than in your pond? Or there are services that do that for you. By the way, when your terrestrial plants are looking their worst (in the hottest part of summer), aquatic plants are rockin’ it. But, if seeing lush aquatic plants in your yard all summer long doesn’t interest you, then don’t get a pond.
You Don’t Like Butterflies
Don’t get a pond or water feature if you don’t like butterflies floating around your yard. There are several great aquatic plants that attract butterflies. In fact, if they weren’t so cute, it could be considered an infestation! They flit around the yard, all colorful and perty, and they are actually pollinators for certain plants. They’re definite mood uplifters. But, hey, if you don’t particularly like butterflies, then don’t get a pond.
You Don’t Like Dragonflies & Damselflies
Don’t get a pond or water feature if you don’t like dragonflies and damselflies. They are highly attracted to water. It’s where their food hangs out, and it’s also where they lay their eggs. They eat their weight in mosquitoes and gnats every single day, so they’re an important part of integrated pest management practices. But, if that’s not important to you, then don’t get a pond.
You Don’t Like Birds
Don’t get a pond or water feature if you don’t like birds in your yard. They do poop up the place a bit, which requires someone to go around with a hose once in a while and hose things off. We’ve seen all kinds of birds in our yard, both native and migratory, from Cactus Wren to Northern Cardinals to Orioles to hummingbirds, etc. Many people enjoy being able to sit in their livingroom or favorite lawn chair and watch and/or photograph the feathered visitors. But, if you don’t like birds in your yard, don’t get a pond or water feature.
You Don’t Like Wildlife
Don’t get a pond or water feature if you don’t want wildlife in your yard. All creatures need water to live. Putting an ecosystem pond or water feature in your yard will absolutely attract all kinds of critters. We happen to take great delight in seeing them in our yard, and photographing them when the opportunity presents itself. However, if you’re a veggie gardener or are afraid of wildlife, then in all seriousness, don’t get a pond.
You Don’t Like the Sound of Water
Don’t get a pond or water feature if you don’t like the sound of water. A water feature will permeate your outdoor living space with the sound of water, tricking your mind into thinking that it’s at least 10 degrees cooler in summer. The sound of a waterfall or babbling brook has been proven to enhance sleep – during those times of year when we can have the windows open at night. But if the sound of water just makes you want to go to the restroom more often, then don’t get a pond.
You Don’t Want to be Entertained
Don’t get a pond if you want your entertainment to consist solely of movies and television. A pond will draw you, and your family, outside at every opportunity. Some people enjoy the simple act of feeding their fish. Others just want to sit and decompress outside of this techo-crazy world we live in today. Children can be taught all kinds of lessons at the water’s edge (art, philosophy, biology, chemistry, English, math, etc.). You and your spouse can sit and talk to each other at the end of a day instead of plopping down in front of the boob-tube and zoning out. Guests will be drawn to the pond, as it will naturally be the focal point of your yard, and there’s always something to spark a conversation. But if that doesn’t interest you, then don’t get a pond.
Yes, this has been a shameless, sarcastic way of telling you a bunch of cool benefits to having an ecosystem pond or water feature in your yard. It was written with humor, and we hope you appreciated that aspect. All our best clients have a great sense of humor!
Ready to take advantage of these benefits yourself?
We Love our Wet Pets!
Pond owners love their colorful Koi. And they also tend to love their pond plants. Yet many people struggle to keep their Koi from making a feast of their favorite waterlilies. What’s a water gardener to do? No worries, it really is possible for Koi and aquatic plants to live in harmony in the same pond.
Stocking is Key
One of the keys to the plant-eating Koi dilemma is to make sure you have the correct Koi-stocking density for your water garden. Put too many Koi in a pond and they’ll compete for everything – especially food. Your ravaged waterlilies are simply evidence of hungry Koi!
A good general rule of thumb for Koi stocking is to have no more than one inch of fish per 10 gallons of water. For example, you can have 150 inches of fish in 1,500 gallons of water, which is about five Koi. Remember, when buying small fish, they’re going to get bigger! So, choose fish based on how large they’re going to grow. If you don’t provide Koi with enough room, you risk plant health, water clarity, and the fish will suffer from stressful living conditions.
Another key is to have the pond well planted with mature plants BEFORE adding large Koi to the mix. Start with small Koi, less than 3” in length, and they won’t have the strength to disrupt your aquatic plants. Not only will this save your plants, but the Koi will adapt to pond life much easier.
The final key is to make sure those aquatic plants are planted securely in the rock substrate of the pond. Once the plants are established with a good root system, the Koi may nibble and root around, but won’t be able to uproot them completely.
Understanding and Feeding Koi
Keep in mind that Koi are inquisitive fish and explore their surroundings with their mouths. If you catch them rooting around the base of your waterlilies, simply use larger rocks around the base of the plant so the fish can’t move them and destroy the planting.
If your Koi are well fed, they won’t eat many plants. Although they love dining on your favorite waterlily, they actually prefer Koi food. Given the choice between a pelleted food and green vegetation, they’ll opt for the taste and high-energy of a pelleted food. Feed your fish once or twice a day all they can gobble in about two minutes, and they’ll be satisfied enough to steer clear of your plants.
When choosing fish food, the pellet size should be close to the size of the fish’s pupil (the black part of the eye). Toss in a few pellets for starters to get them going, and then throw in more food over the course of approximately 2 minutes. Excess food is caught in the skimmer and will decay, which isn’t ideal for the water quality of your pond. This is why it’s preferably to toss in a few food pellets at a time, as opposed to a large handful.
Can’t We All Just Get Along?
The truth is that aquatic plants and fish complement one another. Combining the two creates a healthier, cleaner pond that’s easier to maintain. Pond plants offer coverage from predators and our Arizona sun, reduce nitrates, and oxygenate the water during the day. Just remember not to overstock the pond and to feed your Koi a quality fish food on a regular basis. You’ll find that Koi and aquatic plants can live in peace and harmony, providing you with hours of water gardening enjoyment.
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Yerba mansa (Anemopsis californica) is native to Arizona!
Yerba mansa is a fabulous plant to have in your living ecosystem Phoenix pond, waterfall, or stream. It's actually an Arizona native.
This plant displays showy white flowers which rise from a dense growth of dark green leaf clusters. The compact conic flower spike is very distinctive. Similar to the sunflower family, what appears to be a single bloom is really a dense cluster of individual small flowers when observed closely.
In nature, Yerba mansa is found in wet, usually alkaline, soils along streams and in wet meadows, often growing in large colonies, typically from 1,000-6,000 ft elevations.
Yerba typically flowers April-October.
Yerba mansa is well known for its medicinal uses, including external use on sores and burns, as disinfectant for cuts and scrapes, and as a wash for sore feet and muscles. It’s also used internally for stomach ulcers, colds, coughs, menstrual cramps, diabetes, gonorrhea, tuberculosis, and syphilis. It's been used as a laxative and an emetic, and the seeds are made into mush and eaten by Native Americans. It’s quite versatile!
The only caveat to cultivating Yerba mansa in your back yard pond or water feature is that you’ll have to keep it under control. It reproduces rapidly via red runners (rhizomes) that shoot out across the ground and the water, and can be quite prolific in the warmer months. It’s easy to thin, though, by just yanking some out, and having a serious talk with it about slowing it’s roll.
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