Friday, June 20, 2008

What is a garden without a splashing fountain?

It is still a garden. But what is a fountain without a basin into which the water should splash? It is a half-dressed guest at the wrong party. And such has been the fate of my fountain ... until now.

I bought a Japanese-style "deer-chaser" fountain, and a pump, two years ago. I had hoped to make a sort of pond out of a small cat litter tray, but it really didn't work out. I had it running anyway, but the bright blue plastic rather spoiled the effect.

Last year, I didn't try to run the fountain at all. I searched in stores and on-line for just the right bowl, but I didn't see anything I liked at a price I could justify.

Then I saw this "koi pond" on The only problem was that it's made of cast concrete and weighs about 20 lbs. Normally, concerns about global warming would stop me from having something so heavy freighted all the way across the country. But since they were offering free shipping, those qualms went out the window (or up the smoke stack) and I clicked "buy." Now it's here, and while I wish it were a little deeper, I like it a lot.

Can you see the "koi" at the bottom?

[Click on any image for a magnified view.]

Why is it called a "deer-chaser"?

The middle bamboo tube is enclosed on the end, and pivots on an axle. When the tube fills with enough water, it tips down, the water pours out, and then the tube tilts back, knocking as it hits the prop at the back. That "knock" is supposed to chase away deer. Maybe it worked with Japanese deer hundreds of years ago, but I don't think today's deer would give it a second thought.

I like the name the four-year-old boy next door has given it: "man peeing." (As in, "It looks like a man peeing.")

[Watch the video below to see and hear the fountain in action. Apologies for the airplane sound overhead.]

I've been wondering about how to keep the mosquitos from laying eggs in the water when the fountain isn't running. I thought maybe setting one of Owen's Playmobil boats adrift might do the trick.


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