Inland Valley Daily Bulletin (Ontario, CA)

by Liset Marquez, Staff Writer

May 29, 2008
Section: Local

After a hectic day, Gene Maingot goes to his backyard "oasis" to relax. From the cobblestone patio is the koi pond, with a view overlooking Corona. That wasn't always the case for Maingot.

"I had built a small and very poorly built Koi pond," he said.

Then he heard about the Inland Koi Society. In 2002, Maingot joined the society where he said he learned all the techniques to building a good pond. Now, Maingot's source of serenity will be part of the 10th annual Pond and Garden tour for the Inland Koi Society.

"People can get some ideas for backyard designs. There's also a lot of people very interested in building a koi pond," said Maingot, the president of the society. "Then we get a lot of people who are just looky-loos."

Larry Leverett has been a member of the Inland Koi Society since 1995, the year he was first introduced to the hobby.

 "It was actually a small organization with only 30 members," Leverett said.

Leverett came up with the idea of putting together the pond and garden tour as a means to raise funds for the group. But by the end of the tour, the group had signed up 15 new members. It was then that Leverett realized the tour would be a good opportunity to introduce the public to the idea of keeping koi ponds and getting new members.

"One of our goals is to introduce the koi hobby to the community and let them know koi ponds are not just a hole in the ground," Leverett said. Koi fish are exotic fish indigenous to Japan and can be very pricy to own. The fish require special pond construction, filtration, water quality and food to keep them thriving, he said.

Maingot said the purpose of the tour is to make it appealing for everyone.

"Every pond on the tour is doable for the working guy," Maingot said. "Like mine." Maingot said the main feature in his backyard is the cement koi pond which has a double waterfall. "The first thing that catches people's eye is the pond," he said.

The tour is self-guided and participants can start their tour at any of the six tour gardens. For the past 10 years, the Inland Koi Society - which has more than 200 members - has been offering up their backyards and gardens for the tour. "This is about giving back to the community," he said.

Aside from the educational aspect of the tour, participants will be helping raise funds for two local animal shelters in the area. Maingot said the society has decided to donate all their proceeds to the animal shelters in Norco and Corona. This is the first time the organization has selected to donate their proceeds to the shelters.

"We've heard about the conditions of the animal shelters and we wanted to help," Maingot said.

Maingot said last year, the society held an auction which was highly successful and there was no need for the funds typically raised in the garden tour. In the past the society has made donations to the Koi Herpes virus foundation in South Carolina.

Tickets can be purchased at Mystic Koi, 1250 W. Arrow Highway, Upland, and Inland Koi, 4337 Ardsley Court, Riverside. Tickets can also be purchased the day of the tour at any pond featured on the tour.

"Just come into a yard very relaxed look around and see what you might like for your home."

 - (909) 483-8556
2008 Inland Valley Daily Bulletin. All rights reserved.

*Reproduced with the permission of Media NewsGroup, Inc. by NewsBank, Inc.



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