Amongst the many different styles of Japanese gardens is the Japanese koi fish garden. Find out how the Japanese bring together these elements to form a beautiful garden…
The Japanese concept of gardening takes on many forms. Amongst the many popular Japanese style gardens is the Japanese koi garden. Koi is a special breed of fish that actually originates from China but over the years it has become deeply embedded in Japanese culture. The Japanese koi garden aims to bring together this breed of fish with the art of garden crafting.
There is a common misconception regarding putting up plants with koi fish and that is the rumour that the koi fish will end up eating all the plants. On the contrary koi fish quite enjoy the plantations around them in a Japanese koi garden. They provide the fish with shelter and shade in the pond when they receive some sort of threat. Furthermore the plants add to the clarity of the water. It is merely a question of selecting the right plants for your pond.
The essence of the Japanese koi garden is of course this wonderful breed of fish. The koi is considered by many to be the ideal fish for an outdoor water garden. In Japan the breeding of koi fish is taken as an art form even more so than a hobby and that too since ages.
Feeding Koi Fish
Koi fish have very distinctive pond behavior. Basically they feed off the bottom of the ponds. They are often seen rooting around the rubble on the bed of their natural environment. The special whiskers on the koi fish help them to hunt for edibles amongst the rock and rubble on the floor.
For this reason the water body in a Japanese koi garden should have a bed of gravel. This gives the koi fish ample opportunity to home in on their daily nutrition plus it adds to the visual appearance of the biological environment.
In addition to the gravel you can put up actual plants with their roots set in the gravel inside the water body. This works out best for the fish as well as the plants and the general aesthetics of the surroundings. One must however make sure to rinse the plants prior to placing them in the pond.
Koi Fish & Pond Plants
As for the koi fish eating the plants dilemma, well it is true. In fact when summer comes they go on a wild feeding frenzy. This is the reason why the selection of plants in a Japanese koi garden must be done very carefully. You will need to get help from the experts who will be able to guide you about plants that can both be eaten by the koi fish yet remain alive and add to the aesthetics of the environment.
The marsh betony and watercress are two great examples of such plants that can co-exist with these plant eating machines. Furthermore plants such as those mentioned above act as a natural filter for the pond water keeping it crystal clear and clean.
The koi fish garden needs a considerable amount of maintenance and upkeep. The koi fish need to be kept in check and the plantations need to be changed according to the season. Other than that the Japanese koi garden is a beautiful addition to any home, hotel or restaurant.