Photo courtesy of SLWGS.org.

SAINT LOUIS - The 24th annual Water Garden Pond Tour, also known as Pond-O-Rama, is once again in the works, and the St. Louis Water Garden Society is looking for local hosts to showcase their ponds.

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The event invites attendees to tour water gardens in the Greater St. Louis area. St. Louis Water Garden Society members have volunteered to show their gardens over the weekend of June 22 and 23, 2024. Ginny Mueller, who chairs the event, hopes to find more hosts in the Riverbend region.

“I’d love to have some hosts over in Alton. That would be fantastic,” she said. “It’s really a nice community event. You have people from all walks of life, and I think that’s what makes it so interesting. It’s for everybody, the young and the old as well as everybody in between.”

Mueller explained that Pond-O-Rama invites hosts to display their hard work while educating people about how to build and sustain a water garden. She remembers a couple who traveled to every host pond last year so they could learn more about creating their own garden in memory of their son. Pond-O-Rama promotes this networking and education while also displaying the gardens.

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“The public can learn about water gardening,” she explained. “We all love our gardens, whether they’re small or some of them are pretty massive. But we all just enjoy the hobby. We have fish, we have waterfalls…If they’re thinking of having a water feature in their own private space, they can see that you don’t have to have acres of land to have a pond. You can have a small garden in the city or just even a small area in the backyard.”

The St. Louis Water Garden Society meets once a month to learn about different aspects of water gardening. The organization also plants and maintains the water lilies outside of the Jewel Box in St. Louis, which Mueller describes as a “pretty spectacular” sight.

Pond-O-Rama allows members to share the hobby they love while raising money for the Jewel Box water lilies. Tickets cost $20 for the whole weekend, and you can visit as many gardens as you want. Proceeds will go toward the maintenance of the water lilies.

Mueller hopes to see more people in the Riverbend region volunteer to show their ponds. She noted that it’s a great experience and welcomes many people to the area to learn more about water gardening.

“It’s really a wonderful tour. Whether they’re interested, whether they have a pond or they’re not even thinking about it, it’s just a really wonderful day to come and enjoy the peacefulness that any type of water feature can provide,” she added. “You meet some nice people. In all the years I’ve been on tour, I’ve just enjoyed talking to the people and they’re so interesting and you just never know who’s going to show up in your garden.”

For more information about Pond-O-Rama, visit the official St. Louis Water Garden Society website at SLWGS.org. To find out more about being a host and showing off your water garden during Pond-O-Rama, you can apply here.

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