The more than 100 guests at the tour of pond gardens in Carson City and Minden-Gradnerville were rewarded with visions of oases in the midst of the Nevada high desert.
The tour is an annual event sponsored by Carson's Greenhouse Garden Center, Reno's Oasis Garden Center, Garden Shop Nursery, Weekend Gardener, Northern Nevada Nursery on Highway 395 and Carson Valley Garden and Ranch Center south of Gardnerville. And, of course, the Northern Nevada Pond Club.
The No. 1 stop for almost all guests was the two-falls pond at 1857 Wellington West in Carson City. This was a professionally built oasis, created by High Sierra Trees of Reno.
"We had a big dirt patch in our side lawn," recalls Betty Bensinger, who along with husband, Joe, moved into the property 10 years ago. "I wanted something to give a nicer look to that corner of our yard."
Betty tore a picture of a garden pond out of a magazine and told High Sierra, "This is what I want.
"I wanted a forest pond, a natural look. No lawns, just nature."
That was six years ago, and now the pond has weathered as if it had been there back before anyone lived there.
"We've got goldfish in the pond and frogs that come out at night," said Joe. "It's nice to just sit down and listen to the water flow. Restful. A good place to slow down."
The Bensingers moved into their home after retirement. They have lived in Carson City for 40 years, and he is retired from the aerospace industry, where he helped design missiles.
Do they have any advice to those considering building a pond?
"Yes, do it!" they chorused.
There were 12 ponds on the tour this year, about half professionally built, the rest by owners. Some go back 15 years, others from last year. Reactions on the tour were mostly, "Gee, can we do that?" to "That's what I want."