Peaceful Ponds

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A pond full of koi fish in your backyard can provide a soothing therapy for all kinds of worries. If you watch them for a few minutes, you tend to forget why you came in the backyard.

Silkily orbiting about in their 17-foot-long pond in Phoenix, the 14 koi belonging to Barbara and Jack Eckhardt seem the picture of mental health and calmness. You want to open a bottle of wine and sit there, joining them in their mellifluous reverie — and that’s exactly what the Eckhardts say they love to do on summer evenings.

If you go

What: Fifth annual tour of the Siskiyou Koi Pond Club, called “Peaceful Ponds and Water Gardens.”

Where: Self-guided tour to eight local koi ponds

When: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 10

Cost: Tickets cost $10 to $15 per couple and $20 for a family. They are available at In Thee Garden, 2972 S. Pacific Highway, Medford, and at Pet Country, 2833 N. Pacific Highway, Medford.

“It’s mesmerizing, sitting out back, watching them,” says Barbara. “It’s our sanctuary.”

Their pond will be one of eight featured next weekend on the fifth annual tour of the Siskiyou Koi Pond Club, which has about 75 members and devotes funds to education for members and the public about the sometimes complex tasks of koi-pond upkeep, says member Linda Johnson.

The self-guided tour, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 10, is called “Peaceful Ponds and Water Gardens.”

Jack got his gentle push toward the world of koi when he bought the house 11 years ago and noticed the big hole left in the sloping backyard from a plastic pool. It was a perfect spot for a koi pond and the all-important garden that should surround and adorn one. The site allows water to flow down from the hill above, which is tapped for a charming waterfall that trickles into the pond.

When you have koi, you soon notice they have personalities, as well as captivating patterns of coloration, says Barbara, who has named hers with such monikers as Chubby Checkers (fat), Angel (seems to have wings), Gemini I and II (twins), Midas (gold), Mr. Blue (he’s blue) — and so on.

As you might suspect, Herbie the Hog goes in the reeds and finds all the food that got missed by the other koi — and can be heard sucking the algae off the side of the pond, she says.

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