I found this growing in my pond when I came home this evening. I love water hyacinths. I know they’re an invasive species that can cause havoc if they get into a waterway, but they’re wonderful for shading the water in a backyard pond, and they’re gorgeous when they bloom. I just love them.

It was hot today — the high was 103 — but I went out with the Fleet Feet crew for a 6 p.m. run anyway. Hill training, no less. I didn’t try to set any land-speed records … just jogged when I could, walked when I felt like it, and took full advantage of the water stop. We did a little over three miles. I was glad to get done and get back into the air conditioning, but this kind of training is like money in the bank: You log a few hard, hot, hilly miles when it’s 100 degrees out, and a November marathon with a few gentle hills seems almost easy by comparison.

Hope you’re staying cool wherever you are.



4 thoughts on “Wow.”

  1. I’ve read that, and I’m certainly cautious about it. I’m comfortable growing mine, though, for three reasons:

    1. I bought them at a 50-year-old, family-owned feed store run by some of the most knowledgeable (and law-abiding) people on earth. If they were a problem here, the government would classify them as a noxious weed, and Bill wouldn’t be able (or willing) to sell them.
    2. My pond is tiny (maybe 100 gallons), self-contained, and a good mile from the nearest waterway, so my plants aren’t likely to find their way into the river.
    3. They’re too cold-sensitive to survive our winters. Last year’s hyacinths died in December, despite the fact that we had one of our mildest winters on record. As long as a species is too weak to survive the cold, Mother Nature can keep it in check. I wouldn’t dream of growing water hyacinths in Florida, where it seldom, if ever, freezes. (I’m pretty sure they are illegal in Florida for exactly that reason.)

    In my pond, keeping the hyacinths in check is a pretty simple process — I just reach in and pull out a handful if the pond seems out of balance.

    The biggest problem they pose is reduction of oxygen in the water. However, in my pond, they are preventing exactly that problem. Algae is much worse for reducing oxygen levels, and the hyacinths are doing a beautiful job of shading the water and keeping algae growth in check.

    One of the things I like most about my pond is that it teaches me a lot about ecosystem management. If a problem pops up, I have to do a little homework to find out what’s gotten out of balance and how to fix it. It’s a great hands-on biology lesson.

  2. They are problem , this side of the globe. They sure look pretty , we try to keep their population under control. You might usually find a couple of them in a pond.

  3. What a GORGEOUS picture. I have never even heard of a water hyacinth. It looks alot like some miniature trailing african violets I have, my bloomin’ babies! I would like to post your picture on my website if I can have your permission. Let me know!

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