Friday, July 8, 2011

Damage from the mighty storm

Today's intense rainfall wreaked havoc on Duke Gardens. The water rushed from the higher parts of the Gardens (including construction areas, with their mud and debris), as well as higher ground at Duke University Medical Center. It made its way into the pond in the Asiatic Arboretum and to the foot of the Terrace Gardens, including the newly renovated Fish Pool.

Not only that, this was the second time this week that we've had so intense a storm. So there is much cleaning up to be done here. The water should recede overnight, unless it rains again. But we'll be looking to find a long-term solution that will prevent such havoc in the future.

Here are a few photos from this evening.

The grassy banks at pondside are submerged,
as are the ends of our iconic Iris Bridge.
The paths were covered, too.

A submerged bench that's normally up on a bank.

(Above is a "before" shot of the same bench.
Note the grassy bank in the background,
leading up to the path that you saw
submerged in the previous photo.)
Photo by Wendell Hull

Above is where the Zig-zag Bridge would be.
It's under there somewhere.

Above is what the Zig-zag Bridge normally looks like.
(Photo by Wendell Hull)

The grassy area and path leading to the
duck-feeding rock beach is now more pond,
which makes the ducks happy.

Duck feeders will recognize this path out to
the beach and our informational sign.

The path from a different vantage point.

To the right in the background is where the
multi-level duck beach normally can be seen.

Above is what the duck-feeding beach usually looks like.

The stream on the other side of the dam.

The rushing water created ditches in our paths.

Our renovated Fish Pool,
home of giant koi, as well as water lilies and lotuses,
is a muddy mess.

The haggard water lilies in the Fish Pool.

A beautiful lotus framed by muck.

More plants with migrated dirt.

The view up the waterfall,
on the other side of the Fish Pool.

Bobby Mottern, director of horticulture,
tries to unclog the drain and filtration areas.

A "before" shot of the beautifully clear Fish Pool
on a gorgeous spring day.
Photo by Rick Fisher

Monday update: Culberson Asiatic Arboretum curator Paul Jones says the water levels have gone down, and that it's not uncommon for summer storms to raise the arboretum pond levels substantially. The water and debris flowing down to the Terraces are a greater worry, he says. Some of the paths really took a beating, as did the Fish Pool.

All the debris that builds up in the Asiatic pond from such storms will eventually have to be removed, though. Much of it settles around the Zig-zag Bridge, which has to be dug out routinely so that the bridge crosses over water, not land.

Water plants specialist Tamara Kilbane says the competition waterlilies in the Virtue Peace Pond are fine, too. The pond ended up with mulch in it from the surrounding area. But she and other staff members cleaned it and the plants were unharmed.

For those concerned about our waterfowl, Paul says the ducks, swans and other creatures love these events, which briefly expand their water world and their menu. They are all content and unharmed. But we're checking on the koi fish now. The Terrace Gardens Fish Pool will need to be drained and cleaned.

Read our update of the Fish Pool and South Lawn pond cleanup.


  1. Ugh... I hope the koi pond will recover! I was so happy that it was reopened. Makes one wonder what changes have gone on upstream to cause such damage.

  2. ugh - is this really storm damage/flooding???none of these pics look 'that' bad - talk to me when its completely submerged and you have 15 inches INSIDE your house....