Believe it or not, how the Koi Pond came to IBG started with a garage sale……….
Here’s the story, mostly in the words of donors Tom (and Jane) Allen:
We started with 6 little fish about 10 years ago. Our young daughter, now a junior in college, named them and trained them like puppies to come to her. They loved our pond. We found that if we stomped our feet on the big rocks surrounding our pond that they would come over to see us!
It created quite a frenzy at feeding time. Every couple of years we would have hundreds of new fish. We donated some of them to nursing homes and friends with new ponds. Every summer night at dusk we would feed them and sit by the pond, watching them swim. They learned to be wary of Great Blue Heron and would disappear when one landed on the edge of the pond.
Last year, we were moving away from Boise and we fretted most about what to do with the fish. They were like extensions of our family and it was hard finding a good home for them. We were having a Garage Sale to clean out the last of our stuff when one of the shoppers asked us about our fish. She had been to our home for the annual Garden Tour and had remembered the fish.
She said her husband worked for the Idaho Botanical Garden and that he wanted to build a pond. That “he” happened to be long-time IBG horticulturalist Rod Burke, who came by later the same day to talk about donating the Koi to IBG.
One thing lead to another, and in June, ground was broken at IBG.
The new pond was a real project with excavation, lining, rock work, pump installation, and landscaping. On the day we transported the fish, Rod had arranged for a water truck to pump our pond water out of the pond and use it at the new pond. So, the family of fish were transported - with their own water- to the Gardens. It took seven of us all day to drain the pond, catch the fish, and transport them to the Garden. Members of the Idaho Water Garden and Koi Society examined each fish before letting them loose in the new pond. Only two fish were quarantined and held for a couple of days before joining the rest of their family.
We've visited the IBG pond (opened in July 2011) several times since and can easily tell how happy the Koi are. They swim to the edge to see us (at least that's how we feel) and have already produced baby fish. We've learned that Koi can live up to 200 years and are usually passed down from generation to generation. We are delighted with the effort, kindness and generosity of the Idaho Botanical Garden and are so pleased with the new Koi pond.
We hope many generations of people and fish continue to enjoy the Koi pond. It is a “hopping” place to be, especially at feeding time!
We can’t thank the Allen Family enough for helping make it happen.