BACKYARDS TEND TO BE PRIVATE AREAS; little oases of personal space sequestered from the bustle of society where homeowners can draw solace from arranging everything to their individual satisfaction. The Water Garden Society of Oklahoma’s members understand that impulse, but they’re also all about the flow of ideas, so dozens of aquatic gardeners are opening their gates to visitors June 15-16 for the WGSO’s annual pond tour – an event that proves even more illuminating this year than ever before.
There are 36 ponds on the 2013 tour, a nearly 30 percent increase from 2012. The ponds span the entire OKC metro, stretching from Yukon to Edmond to Choctaw to Moore, and since it’s self-guided, visitors can stop at one home, or four, or 20, in any order – there’s no wrong way to go.
Tour-goers will see a wide variety on display, from small water features to vast installations to multiple ponds, presented by new members and experienced “ponders” (as they’re called) alike. This year includes a new feature: those ponds that have lights will have special night hours on Saturday to show off a different and often unseen aspect of the watery wonders.
WGSO President Joe Hogan explains, “This year’s tour should be really special due to the night hours; in the past we have held special ‘members only’ nighttime chartered bus tours, but this will be the first time we are opening up our homes to the public after dark. It will be a real treat, as the ponds look so different at night.”
THE RIPPLE EFFECT
Hogan acknowledges that preparing a water garden to be on the tour is hard work, but says that since a great deal of time, money and effort have gone into members’ projects already, they’re generally thrilled to show off the results … and doing so often happens to be one of the WGSO’s best recruitment tools.
“Members welcome the opportunity to meet new people, answer questions and possibly help inspire someone to become a ponder. In fact, my wife and I joined the club after going on the tour four years ago and seeing the various ponds. We came away with a lot of ideas that we have incorporated into our own yard.
“I highly encourage everyone to come and see our ponds. Whether they currently have a pond or not, they will have a great time … In fact, we get a lot of people that are thinking about building a water feature in their yard but don’t know how to start. We would love to help them with tips and tricks to make their experience easier.”
The WGSO has monthly meetings, activities through the year and side projects like their current plans for building a pondless waterfall feature at the Oklahoma Veterans Center nursing home in Norman. This tour represents one of the high points of their year, and a great opportunity for inspiration. Relax, enjoy and go where the water takes you.