Mabelle Bowers sits in a carved crab chair next to her indoor koi pond, located in the corner of her stained glass studio at 1113 LaFontaine Ave. in Ocean Springs. Never far from her side are long-haired chihuahuas Rosita and Louisa. The pond features the calming sound of water from a marble dolphin fountain. Her koi ponds, as well as 18 others across the coast, will be open to the public from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday during the Gulf Coast Koi Society Pond Tour. (The Mississippi Press/Susan Ruddiman)
OCEAN SPRINGS, Mississippi — The Gulf Coast Koi Society appeals to two loves of Mabelle Bowers — water and nature.
Her various ponds at her home, 1113 LaFontaine Ave. near the harbor in Ocean Springs, will be open to the public on Saturday and Sunday during the 2011 Pond Tour.
Bowers said she embraced the Gulf Coast Koi Society last year when she and her husband of 50 years, Bob Bowers, went on the 2010 tour. Fifteen ponds were open to the public for one day in September.
“I always wanted to see other ponds. Bob didn’t want to go, but I said, ‘Well, you are going,’” Mabelle Bowers said.
They ran out of time to visit all the places, and she said she particularly wanted to see the ponds at the D’Iberville home of Jon Floden, president of the Gulf Coast Koi Society. He breeds and sells the popular, ornamental fish.
This outdoor koi pond at Mabelle Bowers’ Ocean Springs home features a waterfall made from rip-rap from a friend’s home that was destroyed in Hurricane Katrina. Bowers’ creativity in using discarded items is evident throughout her home. Her koi ponds are part of the Gulf Coast Koi Society Pond Tour this Saturday and Sunday. (The Mississippi Press/Susan Ruddiman)
“I called him after the tour and asked if I could come over. Jon showed me everything he had. After seeing his place, I went nuts over the past year with koi,” she said.
Koi are varieties of domestic carp kept in ponds for decorative purposes, according to Wikipedia. Koi are distinguished by various colors, patterns and scales. Some of the major colors are white, black, red, yellow, blue, and cream.
The Bowers’ ponds contain a great variation of koi sizes and colors. Mabelle Bowers’ outdoor koi ponds are at the entrance to her house and off a side porch at the rear of her house. Those two ponds, combined with her indoor one, have fountains, because koi need running water.
“What I like about water features are they are in harmony with nature. The sound is very relaxing, very calming, music to the ear,” Bowers said. “I want solace within the home.”
She is a stained glass artist whose creativity in glass, woodworking, tile, “found” items and more is seen throughout her home. She has been commissioned to do stained glass windows in churches, and has a contract with the Anderson family to interpret the linoleum block prints carved by Walter Anderson into stained glass.
Her large, well-lit studio across the rear of her home used to be a back porch that slowly evolved into an enclosed room. The indoor pond, with its white marble dolphin fountain, is surrounded by plants and decorative touches, and is a haven for koi.
This metal tree with sea life ornaments is at one end of the indoor swimming pool at Mabelle Bowers’ home in Ocean Springs. A fountain in the center of the pool will greet visitors during the Gulf Coast Koi Society Pond Tour from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. (The Mississippi Press/Susan Ruddiman)
The bricks around the indoor pond, as well as her waterfall pond in the backyard, are from her parent’s home nearby that was demolished. The wall that forms the waterfall was constructed of rip-rap from a friend’s home destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.
Bowers also will have her indoor swimming pool open for the tour. The 45-foot long saltwater lap pool is in a vaulted room next to her studio.
The Bowers home is just one of nineteen open to the public over the weekend.
“Some are not members of the koi society, but they have some fantastic ponds and wanted to show them to people,” Floden said.
Bill and Micha Gryder, who live in the unique “Cat House” in Cherokee Glen in Ocean Springs, will have their pond open, as will Stacey Perry and Shawn Parker, who live in a Caroll Ishee home on the Tchoutacabouffa River in Biloxi.
Koi require a good filtration system, and members of the society can share their expertise on water gardening and ornamental fish, Bowers said.
Admission to the Pond Tour is $5, with youths under 16 free. Guests can start at any one pond to pay the admission and pick up a booklet containing directions to all of the ponds.
The funds will be donated to the American Cancer Society and the South Mississippi Humane Society. Bowers said she supports both of those organizations because she is a cancer survivor and animal lover.
IF YOU GO
WHAT: Gulf Coast Koi Society Pond Tour
WHEN: Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 22-23, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
WHERE: 19 homes from Diamondhead to Ocean Springs
ADMISSION: $5 donation
PONDS ON THE TOUR
The 19 ponds open to the public Saturday and Sunday include:
• Richard and Irene Mills, 6416 Apelehama Place, Diamondhead
• Pine Hills Nursery, 7434 Cuevas Road, Delisle
• Giao Tran, 22226 Derrick Road, Pass Christian
• Robert and Cassie Homes, 1811 22nd Ave., Gulfport
• Leon Sootin, 14950 Loveless Drive, Gulfport
• Bill Angie Angle, 15450 Ewing St., Gulfport (Saturday only)
• Ben Bui, 17094 Excalibur Circle, Gulfport (Sunday only)
• Karen Saffle, 14121 Keebler Road, Gulfport (Saturday only)
• Teresa Hamilton and Pete Curry, 18244 Longwood Drive, Saucier
• Linda Engler, 18541 Longwood Circle, Saucier (Saturday only)
• Stacy Perry and Shawn Parker, 3573 Brandon James Drive, Biloxi
• Sandy and Judith Steckler, 12148 Skeet Hunt Road, Biloxi
• Jon and Debbie Floden, 687 Meadow Drive, D’Iberville
• Ronald Landry, 437 Marigold Drive, D’Iberville
• Lynne Sandifar, 753 Waters View Drive, Biloxi (Sunday only)
• Frasier’s Nursery, 14708 LeMoyne Blvd., Biloxi (Saturday only)
• Jeff and KC Harrold, 4016 Dunsinane St., Ocean Springs
• Bob and Mabelle Bowers, 1113 LaFontaine Ave., Ocean Springs
• Bill and Micha Gryder, 1212 Iola Road, Ocean Springs