Carter's Water Garden

Koi – The Three Most Popular Varieties | Carters Nursery, Pond & Patio | Jackson, TN

I have been fostering and collecting Koi fish for decades now. I really LOVE these fish. They are truly special creatures. I sell Koi at my business – Carters Nursery, Pond & Patio & we take time to make sure they are healthy, happy & well fed.

I also try to learn more about Koi every chance I get! Seminars, shows, wet labs, you name it – I want to go 🙂 So with education in mind I want to share some basic information on Koi with you. I want to make Wednesdays ‘Koi Day’ on my blog here! Today I want to introduce you to the 3 most popular varieties of Koi – The ‘Big Three’ if you will – aka: The Gosanke’.


Kohaku is a variety of ornamental koi. The Kohaku has a white body, with red markings, or ‘hi’, across the body. The Kohaku is one of the gosanke; the ‘Big Three’, consisting of Kohaku, Sanke, and Showa.

#1 –  Kohaku

Kohaku is the oldest and probably the most well known of Koi varieties, A Kohaku has a solid white base with red patterns overlaid on the white. Elite, high quality Kohaku will display a bright white base, blemish free with deep red tones overlaid. The patterns should be evenly distributed along the body. There are many variations of the Kohaku, to include – Doitsu Kohaku, Gin Rin Kohaku, Maruten Kohaku & Tancho Kohaku.


In the early 1900’s, a new variety of Koi was developed by the addition of sumi (black) markings to the basic Kohaku patterns of red and white. This new variety was named Taisho Sanke and is usually referred to as simply Sanke.

#2 – Taisho Sanke

Sanke for short, have a solid white (Shiro) base that is overlaid with both red (Hi) & black (sumi) patterns. They say the best Sanke start with a solid Kohaku pattern – the black (Sumi) compliments the pattern. There are of course several variations of Sanke – Doitsu Sanke, Maruten Sanke, Tancho Sanke & Gin Rin Sanke.


Showa is a variety of ornamental koi. The Showa is also known as the Showa Sanshoku. The Showa has a black body, with red and white markings across the body. The Showa is one of the gosanke; the ‘Big Three’, consisting of Kohaku, Sanke, and Showa.

#3 – Showa Sanshoku 

Showa for short, have a black (Karasu) base color, with white (Shiro), red (Hi) &/or orange (Orenji) overlaid patterns. Showa & Sanke are easily confused… On a Showa the black (Karasu) will be consistant all the way around the body instead of just appearing on the top half only. A Showa will also have black patterns on the head and a Sanke won’t. The colors should be consistent and balanced around the body with clean edges between colors. There are many variations of Showa – Tancho Showa, Maruten Showa, Gin Rin Showa, Doitsu Showa & Kin Showa.

Well there you have it – The Gosanke’ Koi varieties 101 🙂 Until next Wednesday –

On to Spring!

Happy Pondering!

Mark Carter
Carter’s Nursery, Pond & Patio
2846 Old Medina Rd.
Jackson, Tn. 38305
Ph# 731-424-2206

Carters Nursery, Pond & Patio | Jackson, TN – Spring is Coming VIDEO!

It’s time! Give me a call to get on the schedule. With all this beautiful weather – It’s filling up FAST!



Thanks & Happy Pondering!

Mark Carter
Carter’s Nursery, Pond & Patio
2846 Old Medina Rd.
Jackson, Tn. 38305
Ph# 731-424-2206

Can my Koi outgrow my Pond? | Carters Nursery, Pond & Patio | Jackson, TN
February 26, 2018, 4:13 pm
Filed under: Koi, Outdoor Lifestyles, water garden | Tags: , , , , ,

I had a gentleman ask me this question the other day –

Question: Can my Koi outgrow my Pond?

Answer : Maybe… It depends 🙂

I have been involved in the Koi hobby for over 25 years. I have some pretty good sized Koi in my Ponds too. None that I would say were ‘Too big’. But, that’s not the answer to this question 🙂

Knowing how big a Koi can get is a good start to answering this question! 

WOW! This Koi is HUGE! Koi can grow up to 36″ in length and weigh over 20+ pounds…

  • A Koi can get up to 36″ in length and weigh over 20 lbs.!
  • For a Koi to get this size it would have to have GREAT genetics! And a great environment – water quality, proper food, etc…
  • Even with poor water quality & steady feeding they can grow to 18″-22″ within a few years.
  • The secret to success is Balance & Scale!

– IF you have a small, shallow Water Garden, it might not be suited for Koi… Some colorful fancy Comets or Shubunkins may be the better choice. I recommend a minimum 2′ depth and a minimum 1,000 gallons of volume to keep Koi.

If you want to have a Koi or two in your smaller Water Garden you can, just know that you may have to trade them or give them to a new home that can handle their size in future years… Many times before they “Outgrow” the pond, the water quality suffers and the toxic environment causes the Koi to become stressed, sick and even die.

Always think about the future size of your fish! Koi can get rather large, up to 36″ for a mature Koi! If you want BIG Koi, you need to build a bigger Pond designed for them. | Carters Nursery, Pond & Patio | Jackson, TN

We want our Koi to grow and flourish! And we want to ensure that they WON’T outgrow their environment! That’s the secret – Proper design, proper stocking rates, great water quality & keep it balanced!

There are some other blogs I have made on here about the subject of  Water Gardens & Koi Ponds that may help you. Blogs on Design principals, filtration specs, quality foods, aquatic plant lists, etc. If you have any other questions feel free to give me a call, I will try to help.

Thanks & Happy Pondering!

Mark Carter
Carter’s Nursery, Pond & Patio
2846 Old Medina Rd.
Jackson, Tn. 38305
Ph# 731-424-2206

Sunday Reflections…

It was really nice to see the sun this morning after the stormy night we had! Prayers for all who were struck by the tornadoes 🌪!

It was nice to see the sun this morning after all the bad storms last night!

I got out assessing damage right after first light. We had a LOT of plants knocked over and our arbor blew down, but we got off lucky.

These daffodils were planted by my grandma and always bring happy thoughts to me. Spring is almost here!

I was also blown away by all the blooming daffodils and crocus! The forsythias are starting to bloom too. SPRING is in the air 😊 It’s almost here, but not quite… This is an exciting time of year! Watching it all happen and unfold is a gift that many will never experience. Get out there & enjoy it 😊

“The sun is brilliant in the sky but its warmth does not reach my face.
The breeze stirs the trees but leaves my hair unmoved.
The cooling rain will feed the grass but will not slake my thirst.
It is all inches away but further from me than my dreams.”
~ M. Romeo LaFlamme

Have a Great Sunday afternoon!

Mark Carter
Carter’s Nursery, Pond & Patio
2846 Old Medina Rd.
Jackson, Tn. 38305
Ph# 731-424-2206

Do Koi Ponds Attract Mosquitoes? | Carters Nursery, Pond & Patio | Jackson, TN

Just yesterday I gave a report on how to reduce mosquitoes around your home & property. I almost immediately received a call asking if their Koi Ponds could be attracting  mosquitoes… That’s a relevant question! Zika & West Nile virus are in the news and we all want to be proactive and keep the mosquitoes at bay. So I wanted to answer that question right away!

GREAT news! If your Koi Pond or Water Garden was properly designed – You have nothing to worry about!

A properly designed Water Garden or Koi Pond will have good circulation & filtration, including a Skimmer and fish. All this together is cryptonite for mosquitoes. | Carters Nursery, Pond & Patio | Jackson, TN

#1 – Mosquitoes do lay their eggs in water, but they seek stagnant water. Fresh, clean, moving water like the water in your Koi Pond isn’t appealing to mosquitoes as a breeding area!

A few other reasons a proper Water Garden or Koi Pond doesn’t attract or increase mosquitoes –

  • Pond fish like Koi, Comets, Shubunkin, etc. LOVE to eat mosquito larvae.
  • A skimmer filter breaks the surface tension of your pond water & creates incredible water movement into the skimmer. If there was any mosquito larvae in your Pond that escaped the fish and frogs, etc. it would get drawn into the skimmer and drowned/destroyed.
  •   If your Pond is properly designed & maintained, you don’t have excess algae or overgrown vegetation – 2 more things that they need to grow and thrive.

I hope this information has put your mind at ease. Please feel free to call me with any questions you may have about this & I will do my best to help.

Get out there and enjoy your Pond as we head into Spring!

Happy Pondering!

Mark Carter
Carter’s Nursery, Pond & Patio
2846 Old Medina Rd.
Jackson, Tn. 38305
Ph# 731-424-2206

Friday Radio Report – Spring is in the air! So are the Mosquitoes! | Carters Nursery, Pond & Patio | Jackson, TN

TGIF! Another great Friday show today! BIG thanks to Dan Reaves & Sea Bass!

Today was a LIVE remote from Smallwoods RV and Spring was definitely in the air! EVERYONE is ready to get outside again! It’s time for Camping, fishing, hiking, gardening, etc.!

The big subject that I talked about a bit was Mosquitoes! They are ready for Spring too! The main question was – HOW do I control Mosquitoes? AND, how do I control them Organically, safely & without chemicals? There are several things we can do to dramatically reduce mosquito populations in our outdoor living spaces! Here is a small list to get started on right now –

#1 Get rid of standing water!

  • Make sure your gutters are clean and completely draining
  • Clean/flush birdbaths – every few days
  • Clean/flush plant saucers – every few days
  • Dump water from tire swings! OR better yet – drill a few holes in the bottom…
  • Turn over empty cans, buckets, wheelbarrows, etc.
  • Clean up! Old bags, tarps or bottles are a GREAT habitat for mosquitoes! 1 bottle cap can be the breading ground for thousands of mosquitoes this season!

    Mosquitoes are a pest! But with a little work, you can really reduce their population around your living area without the use of chemicals | Carters Nursery, Pond & Patio | Jackson, TN

Putting up a couple of Purple Martin houses in late Winter (Now) is a great way to invite mosquito eating birds into your landscape.

Even better mosquito eaters are bats! A few well placed bat houses will do wonders for your mosquito problems!

ALSO – Many people use Mosquito Dunks in standing water areas. Mosquito Dunks are a larvacide that kills mosquitoes! Otherwise known as BT (Bacillus thuringensis). They are great for containers, rain gardens, rain barrels, etc. There is no unpleasant smell and they aren’t harmful to pets!

There you have it! A few things you can do right NOW to cut down on mosquitoes safely! Try these things and you will see a HUGE decrease in mosquitoes and a HUGE increase in your Garden enjoyment!


Have a GREAT Weekend!

Mark Carter
Carter’s Nursery, Pond & Patio
2846 Old Medina Rd.
Jackson, Tn. 38305
Ph# 731-424-2206


How deep should my Water Garden/Koi Pond be? | Carters Nursery, Pond & Patio | Jackson, TN

Question : How deep should my Water Garden/Koi Pond be? | Carters Nursery, Pond & Patio | Jackson, TN

Thats a very important question to ask before you design and construct your Water Garden or Koi Pond! There is a LOT of differing information out there on what the proper depth should be in a Koi Pond or a Water Garden too… I will try to give you a few good, simple rules to help with your design.

For small Water Gardens that will have some small pond fish (goldfish, comets, shubunkins, etc.), but not Koi – 18” deep will be adequate. Of course proper filtration & aeration are a given on any Ornamental Water Feature – but 18” depth is fine.

If your just going to have turtles and frogs I still try to always keep an 18” depth. Mainly because I know you will later want to add a few fish & the 18” depth would be a costly V-8 moment 😊

Design your new Water Garden/Pond with graduated depths to allow for differing types of Aquatic Plants & to allow easy access for maintenance. Always have a deeper area for the fish based on the minimum depth rule! | Carters Nursery, Pond & Patio | Jackson, TN

Now, if you want to keep Koi, it’s a bit different. Koi get much larger than goldfish. Up to 3’ in length is not uncommon after Several years. That’s why as a rule, Koi Ponds are a minimum of 2’ deep. That’s 2’ Minimum! You can go deeper if you want – I put many 3’+ deep Ponds in. BUT, there are tens of thousands of two-foot deep ponds around this country that are full of beautiful, healthy koi. It’s kind of a ‘Magic Number’ if you will. We rarely freeze here in West Tn. & when we do it’s not for an extended period of time. In fact, over the last 29 years of running my business- Carters Nursery, Pond & Patio, I dont think I have lost a fish to cold or freezing! Pretty good record..

A 2’ deep Pond is also easy to get in and out of for doing Pond Maintenance – very important to keep in mind! 90%+ of the Water Gardens that I install are 2’ deep

So to wrap up my minimum depth recommendations –

• 18” minimum depth on a Water Garden for goldfish or turtles & frogs.

• 24” minimum depth on a Water Garden or Pond with Koi.

If you stick to these minimums along with the other recommended parameters for filtration & stocking quantities for fish – you will be on your way to success with your New Water Garden/Pond of your dreams 😊

Happy Pondering!

Mark Carter
Carter’s Nursery, Pond & Patio
2846 Old Medina Rd.
Jackson, Tn. 38305
Ph# 731-424-2206




Can I have a Koi Pond in a shady yard? | Carters Nursery, Pond & Patio | Jackson, TN

Question : Can I have a Koi Pond in a shady yard?

I know you have read in many places that you just can’t have a Pond in a shady yard with trees. Plants won’t do well and it will be full of leafs… BUT – good news! You CAN!

Imagine a lazy Summer day,’kicked back in the cool shade by your waterfall, feeding your Koi, the grill smoking on the patio… Sound good? It’s a daily reality for many lucky Pond lovers!

This Pond is in Full shade! So many beautiful plants are in this picture with this Waterfall. Many people don’t know that Impatients are also an aquatic plant. These pictures are all in the water and as you see are Beautiful!!

To have success there are a few things to know!

– First, shade trees drop leaves – so you MUST have a skimmer. If you design your Pond right, the skimmer will do 90% of the work all season! A leaf net for a few weeks in the fall will do the rest!

– Secondly, lacking full sun you will have to choose shade loving plants. You can definitely have some color and bloom, but you will also need to depend on plants with good foliage color and texture. Water lilies will not be your friend in a shady pond, but lots of other great plants will! Here’s a list of a few Shade Loving Aquatic Plants –

  •  Water Lettuce
  • Parrots Feather
  • Frog Bit
  • Aquatic 4-leaf Clover
  • Marsh Marigolds
  • Creeping Jenny
  • Varigatef Water Celery
  • Aquatic Forget Me Not
  • Taro (several varieties)
  • Impatients (annuals – AWESOME color!)
  • Lizards Tail
  • Aquatic Iris

A Full Shade Pond under a canopy of leaves. As you see – crystal clear water, thriving plants & healthy fish!! | Carters Nursery, Pond & Patio | Jackson, TN

I hope this puts your mind at ease. With a properly designed Pond, you can enjoy a Low Maintenance Pond of your dreams 😊

Happy Pondering!

Mark Carter
Carter’s Nursery, Pond & Patio
2846 Old Medina Rd.
Jackson, Tn. 38305
Ph# 731-424-2206

Carters Nursery, Pond & Patios 20th. Annual Spring Fest.


Bring the family and come help us usher in Spring!

Jackson, Tn. – Come join us at Carter’s Nursery, Pond & Patio for our 20th. Annual Spring Fest. & Customer Appreciation Day! We will have lots of fun, food and informative things to take part in!

Bring the kids and let them pet the animals at the ‘Petting Zoo’ & they can even ride the Pony 🙂

Kids LOVE the Petting Zoo & Pony Rides! Come help us celebrate 20 years of Spring Fest.! This event is FREE!

For the Adults – We will have several opportunities for you to learn all about Water Gardening and Aquatic Plants. You can get all the information you will need to Design, Build and Maintain a Beautiful Water Feature of your own. We will also have a Maintenance Workshop to teach attendees how to clean and maintain a Water Garden

We have maintenance classes & a great Q&A for attendees! Everyone loves to learn more about their Water Features. Even the kids have fun.

Get here early to take part in the class. We are going to perform a full cleanout and build a waterfall. Classes will start around 9am. and will go all the way through till 2pm. We will perform a ‘Hands on’ cleanout of a pond on site & we will rework & rebuild a waterfall! You can actually see all the work being done, learn and ask questions right there on the spot! We will also have a discussion on Water Garden Design and “How To” Implement one in YOUR Landscape!
We will cover the basics of Aquatic Plants and discuss how you can introduce more Aquatic Plants in your Waterscape AND your Landscape.

Mark will be cooking lunch at Carters Nursery, Pond & Patio’s ‘Outdoor Kitchen’! “I’m firing up the Saffire Grill & The big AOG Grill too. Y’all come on out and have a great time with us on this 20th. Year Anniversary of Spring Fest.  

I’m fixing Hot Dogs and Smoked Sausage with ALL the fixings! We will also be firing up the Saffire Grill to cook some special things. We will have chips and cookies and more! This is my favorite part of the event because I get to grill & cook – & I am gonna cook up some good food for everyone that comes!


What: Carters Nursery, Pond & Patios 20th. Annual Spring Festival & Aquatic Workshop

Where: Carters Nursery, Pond & Patio – 2846 Old Medina Rd. in Jackson, Tn.

When: Saturday, April 21st. from 9am till 2pm.

WHY should I come? It’s going to be a FUN filled day for the whole family! AND it’s FREE! Petting Zoo & Pony Rides for the kids! BIG Specials for the Spring Season and “How To” Classes taught by the best in the Biz.!

For more information give us a call : # 731-424-2206 or Y’all Come!

~ Mark Carter

President’s Day 2018
February 19, 2018, 8:19 am
Filed under: General Blog Entry's | Tags:

Happy Presidents Day!

I know that this was originally a day to celebrate George Washington’s Birth Day (actually on the 22nd…). But it has morphed into a day to  honor the current president and all those Presidents that have gone before him.

Happy Presidents Day!

Today is a federal holiday! Schools & Banks are closed. + NO mail!

There are parades & parties all over  & this is one of the BIGGEST sale days of the year! Go buy something 🙂

I hope everyone can put party politics aside and just enjoy the day 😊

Pray for our President & our Country.

Happy Presidents Day!

God Bless America!

Mark Carter