MARION — Joshua Reznicow loves creating art — whether he’s composing music or composing a landscape.
That’s why the Linn-Mar Community School District orchestra director spends many of his free hours in his garden, specifically, the garden he planted to complement a pond he painstakingly built in the backyard of his Marion home.
“It’s a great challenge; it’s a living art form. It’s very different from my day job, but it’s similar, because it’s also art,” he said.
His pond is one of several featured on the Eastern Iowa Pond Society’s annual pond tour today. The tour features ponds of different sizes, some with koi, waterfalls, bridges and elaborate landscaping. Proceeds from the tour will benefit the Dennis and Donna Oldorf Hospice House of Mercy in Hiawatha, in honor of a society member who died recently.
Reznicow started his pond five years ago, after he and his wife moved to this new subdivision in Marion. It is the second pond he has built — the first one, at his former house in Cedar Rapids, was smaller, with “more mistakes,” he said. He’s a self-taught pond enthusiast who undertook the project with extensive help from YouTube.
He did the work himself, digging out the 15 by 25 foot space, three feet at its deepest point, by hand. He used the displaced dirt to build up berms around the perimeter, and those berms helped create two waterfalls, one of which acts as a filtration system. The other waterfall, with two flows of water diverging around a small annual garden, is just for show, but Reznicow couldn’t resist adding it last summer.
“I knew I wanted something more, to give it more action, more flow,” he said. “It’s all about line and color, like with any kind of art, and where your eye gets drawn to.”
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He’s added to the landscaping around the pond each year, shrubs, small conifers, and a mix of perennial and annual flowers, planned to bloom at different times throughout the season. They add splashes of color while serving the added purpose of hiding the pond’s plumbing from view.
“When you’re a gardener, your work is never done,” he said.
Cat mint, lilies and sedum are tucked in between stones around the pond’s border. He didn’t buy any of the many rocks he used — he collects them all himself, sometimes taking his wheelbarrow to nearby lots being cleared for new houses.
Inside the water are flowering lily pads, cattails, water iris and caladiums. Plants aren’t the only life in the pond. He stocks it with koi, and wildlife from a nearby marsh sometimes find their way in as well. He’s seen frogs, dragonflies, ducks and even snapping turtles in the pond. Those he has carefully relocated to Indian Creek. In the winter, he’s seen minx, which can be a problem as they hunt and kill his fish.
The koi hibernate at the bottom of the pond in the winter, and they’re vital to keeping the water filtered, in balance with the water plants and the filtration system.
Reznicow said the pond and garden keep him busy, something he appreciates.
“It’s quite, peaceful, it’s beautiful, and I set down to relax and enjoy it, but then I want to go work on something again,” he said. “I’m constantly tending it and tweaking things.”
If you go
• What: Eastern Iowa Pond Society Pond Tour
• When: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday
• Where: 1835 Ridgeview Court, Cedar Rapids; 1323 34th St. SE, Cedar Rapids; 1236 34th St. NE Cedar Rapids; 2265 Pebble Creek Dr., Marion; 873 Crossbow Court, Marion; 916 12th Ave., Coralville; 1692 Ridge Rd., Iowa City, 1809 Gleason Ave., Iowa City
• Cost: $5, children 15 and under free
l Comments: (319) 398-8339; email@example.com