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On golden pond: Local club shares a passion for backyard aquatics

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Ron Urry was attacking a dead oak tree in the backyard when inspiration struck.

“I was digging out the roots and (wife Elsie) said to me, ‘You’ve already got a six-foot hole in the ground, why don’t you build a pond?’”

And build it he did. The result is a gurgling oasis shimmering with fish and plant life that attracts birds and butterflies and Ron and Elsie.

The Sarnia couple love to sip coffee while lounging by the water.

“It’s always been a work in progress and it’s finally getting to the point that it’s done,” said Urry, who dug out the tree 15 years ago.

Urry is president of the Bluewater Pond Club, a small group that meets regularly with fellow “ponders” and fish-keepers to share their passion for things aquatic.

Many backyard ponds are small, sometimes no larger than a few feet in diameter. A rigid plastic liner can be dug into the ground for a few hundred bucks.

Larger pools with spilling waterfalls and biological filters that are able to support fish year-round can cost $10,000 or more.

Like many in the club, Henk Woudsma was an aquarium guy who took his fish outdoors. The pond in his Sarnia backyard is 23 feet long, chest-deep in the middle and teems with goldfish and ornamental koi.

Last winter’s deep freeze killed six of his prized koi, but the survivors include one he bought 20 years ago that’s nearly two feet long.

To keep his fish happy, Woudsma collects rainwater from the roof and pipes it to them underground.

“If it rains I don’t mind. It’s good for the yard and it’s good for the pond,” he said.

Anyone interested in learning more about pond culture can contact Urry at 519-542-5624.

– George Mathewson



Henk and Reina Woudsma have transformed their Sarnia backyard into peaceful nature preserve.


Vegetation in the backyard pond of Ron and Elsie Urry of Sarnia.




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