Of Creatures Orange And Black

No, it's not what you think it is: sitting on that Hemerocallis flower bud is not a miniature Alligator perched on top of wires. It's a Ladybug Larva. In their larval form, Ladybugs eat far, far more garden pests than the adult.

So, two things:

1. Don't squash these! They eat the bad guys!

2. Orange and black creatures are not always what they appear to be.

Let us consider another orange and black creature with a hearty appetite.

This orange and black lovely joined our menagerie last week.

Think of the soothing quality of watching a Koi swim. Gliding in and out of lily pad shadows, elegant and ever-so-graceful, they sail silently, rippling glassy water, casting a mesmerizing spell upon your tired eyes, creating a relaxed, meditative calm in your weary mind. Their deep jewel-like colors sparkle in the sun. So serene, so relaxing, so peaceful! You think: "I want me some of those!"

Well. As Mr. Spock said, "Having is not so pleasant a thing as wanting. It is not logical, but it is often so.". This applies to Koi, big time. Koi are not quite as soothing and serene as you'd think. You get into Koi ownership thinking about the serenity of it all. Quickly, you discover what they're really all about: sewage treatment!

Koi eat. A lot. Those beautiful thickets of water lillies they glide through? After Koi are done with the lily gliding, they eat the lillies. And all the food you give them. And the green velvet algae carpeting the walls and floor of the pond. And every insect that lands in the pond. And anything else they can get in their mouths. And of course what goes in, must eventually come out. In amazing quantities.

So you learn about filtration. Gluing pipe. Dissolved oxygen. Turbulence. Cavitation. The difference between Nitrosomonas and Nitrobacter. How many horsepower of pump you need to drive a water fall. And much, much, more. So that by the time you are one tenth of the way to properly caring for your Koi, you desperately need them to lull you into a place of serenity, because you are utterly exhausted by the ascent of a very steep learning curve. Spock was right. Doing is tougher than Dreaming.

The dream of Koi in the garden has led me into things I've never expected. I now know the name of plumbing fixtures (they are not all called "thingies"). And the adventures continue. Right now, I'm too frazzled to do anything but sit out by the Koi. Mesmerize me, kids. Glide.


  1. Life is not meant to last to the natural end... Some has to go early.., sort of forced out through the premature exit. People, plants and animals are going through all these....

    The other day, I saw two caterpillars having fun with a pak choy plant each... They intimidated me by placing their droppings in a neat pile, almost like a pyramid!!... Gardening is all about sharing I guess....

    Have a great day.
    ~ bangchik

  2. Very funny! I always wanted a koi pond too. I think I'll stick with my betta fish in a jar. (It's going on 9 months so I must be doing something right!)


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