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The Woodlands Waterway Koi Garden

The recently added Millenium Mew Park Koi Garden, aka Koi Pond, opened November 13, 2009 adding to the growing list of attractions the community has to offer. This Asian-inspired garden on the Waterway is just across from the Waterway Marriott Hotel and directly in front of The Waterway Lofts. The garden area, totaling approximately ½ acre in size features a 60,000 gallon koi pond as well as a unique wall and screen design that leads through tropical gardens built on two “tear-drop” shaped islands. The thirty-three (33) Waterway koi, considered to be living artwork, were hand selected and imported from Japan to include a variety of styles which all relate back to their Japanese culture. Feeding the fish is not allowed however, visitors are welcome to come and watch them being fed by the caretakers most Saturdays at 1:00pm.
Woodlands Koi Gardens
An array of distinctive materials and exotic plantings enhance the Koi Garden, along with the 2,400 square-foot, 60,000-gallon koi pond that is separated from The Waterway by dams. The Waterway Koi Pond is one of the largest of its kind outside of public arboreta or other water-gardens. The koi pond was designed in collaboration with Laguna Koi Ponds of Laguna Beach, California, using bio-filtration methods for maintaining fish health and water clarity. Designed by SLA Studio Land and constructed by Millis Construction, the Koi Garden is secluded from the pedestrian walkway by walls, fences and towering timber bamboo native to Asia.

This seclusion allows the Woodlands Koi Pond to be a quiet place for meditation, but could also make it difficult for some to find. The entry to the Koi Garden from Waterway Court is marked by a two-sided galvanized steel arbor. The arbor features two ancient proverbs – “The Journey is the Reward” on the north side, and “Enough Pails of Water...A River” on the south side. From The Waterway, the paths along the south shore offer pedestrian access and there is a Waterway Taxi stop in close proximity to the Koi Pond. Limited parking along Waterway Court is the closest, followed by the lot on Waterway Avenue. The Waterway Koi Pond is open to the public daily from dawn until dusk.


Waterway Koi Garden

A pedestrian walkway with three new pedestrian bridges connects the islands to the mainland along the southern edge of The Waterway. Two additional bridges within the garden provide scenic connectors between the land and water elements. The Koi Garden also includes a pedestrian corridor linking it to Waterway Court and Timberloch Place.

By spring of 2010, "Waterway Square and the Koi Garden should literally be exploding with the excitng fountains of Waterway Square, colorful fish swimming in the Koi Pond and flowers blooming in the Garden," said Alex Sutton, president of The Woodlands Development Company. "It will be a magical place to be, and a unique testament to The Woodlands’ founding principle of designing with nature." According to David Smith, principal of SLA Studio Land, there are "common elements in the Garden’s design that represent several Asian cultures. Those elements include water, which is typically 'Yin,' or female, rock which is typically 'Yang,' or male, and plant materials expressive of the seasonal changes and the cycle of life." Common to many gardens is the inclusion of islands and bridges designed to emphasize the act of "crossing over between states of consciousness or ‘worlds’."

It is the careful positioning of these elements that provides different visual emphasis from various points in The Garden. This experience is enhanced by a wide variety of hardscape materials, including granite, limestone, metal, pebbles and slate in a selection of interesting colors and textures. Flowering plants such as Formosa azaleas, camellia Japonica and Sasanqua, lotus, canna and blue, yellow and white irises add to the seasonal color within the garden. Dwarf and timber bamboo, sweet olive, needlepoint holly, ginger and other plants provide a rich greenscape. In Smith's words, "The Garden is intended to be a place of retreat for rest and contemplation; an opportunity to momentarily escape the demands of our daily lives and reconnect with nature and life’s purpose, whatever that may be to the garden visitor."
woodlands waterway koi pond

Woodlands Koi Garden

Koi (鯉?, pronounced [koꜜi]) (English: /ˈkɔɪ/), or more specifically nishikigoi (錦鯉?, [niɕi̥kiꜜɡo.i], literally "brocaded carp"), (aka Japanese Carp) are an ornamental domesticated variety of the common carp (Cyprinus carpio) that are kept for decorative purposes in outdoor ponds and water gardens.

  • "Kohaku" (紅白 (kōhaku, "red and white"?) white with red pattern. It is said koi begin and end with Kohaku.
  • "Sanke" or Taishō Sanshoku (or Taisho Sanke) (大正三色?) koi that has a white body with red and black markings.
  • Shōwa Sanshoku (or Showa Sanke) (昭和三色?) Black with white and red pattern. A more modern breed similar to the Sanke with more black.
  • The above three constitute what is known as the “Gosanke” or “Big Three” highly refined breeds. “Gosanke” refers to the three families of the Japanese Shogunate.
  • Kinginrin (金銀鱗?) A koi with metallic scales. The name translates into English as "gold and silver scales." Often abbreviated to Ginrin. One can tell the ginrin types by the sparkle their scales have in the sunlight.
  • Goshiki (五色?) A black koi with red, white, brown, and blue accents.
  • "Yamabuki Ōgon (黄金?) Solid yellow with burnished metallic (shiny) skin. The fins are reflectively shiny as well.
  • "Doitsu-goi" (ドイツ鯉?) A German mirror carp that has a single line of large mirror-like scales along the top.


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