Freddy J. Hill
  • Male
  • Oklahoma City, OK
  • United States
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Profile Information

Which category best describes you?
Recreational Gardener, Master Gardener, Garden Club
Skill level
Master Gardener Certification
What kind of gardening do you like to do?
Succulents; water gardens; butterfly
How much time do you spend a week on average in your garden when weather permits?

Moby Kat

Many ponders get great satisfaction in owning something truly unique, that would make their pond or yard really stand out. My motto has always been if no one else on the block has it, I want it. A few months ago I got an "it". I received a call at work from a friend, asking if I wanted an exotic catfish for my pond. An acquaintance of his was moving or clearing out his pond and needed a home for the fish. I said sure, just drop it in the smaller upper pond. My friend then stated that the thing was about 2 feet long; do I still want it? Knowing him to be an admitted fisherman and applying the proper scientific conversions my mind was seeing 14 inches tops.
It was dark when I arrived home from work. The wife and son had stated this fish was really too big for our place, maybe I should rethink the whole thing. In the dim light of dusk all that could be seen through the full covering of plants was a segment of smooth white skin. Reaching down to move the plants aside, the water exploded in my face as a mound of white flesh leaped over the side and onto the planting strip around the raised pond. I was barely quick enough to suck my eyeballs back in while simultaneously blocking any escape by pushing him(?) back into the pond. Little did I know this just provided a springboard effect, and with two running steps across the surface he was over the edge on the other side of the pond. Only the adrenalin charged nimbleness of my feet propelled me around the pond in time to prevent the 18 inch drop to the decking as he thrashed around on the sedum plantings surrounding the pond edges.
After a few minutes to calm down and digest what I had just seen, the next logical thing to do seemed to be to corral this critter until I could decide what to do with him. Off to Wal-Mart it was to buy a dozen sections of plastic garden fencing. Arriving home, I spent the next hour or two recalling my fence building days, in this case staking, curving and reinforcing the sections so a solid blow would not blast an escape route over the side.
Over the next few days my wife and I tried to figure out what to do, keep, or give away, or eat. I knew he (let's just call him Moby Kat for now), needed more room. This called for a radical cleaning and pruning of plants and planters in the upper and lower ponds, the lower one being over twice the size of the upper. There was also concerns about mixing small and larger fish in the same body of water, not knowing Moby's dining habits. With both ponds stripped bare, I was finally able to see that I was now the proud owner of one huge albino catfish. After the water settled somewhat I was able to suspend a yardstick over him and get a measurement of well over 24 inches. Guess I'll have to revise my conversion tables.
We gently segregated the smaller fish out of the lower pond into a temporary tub, then with much churning of water we captured Moby in a large net and moved him into his larger home.
My wife and I had frequent conversations about what to do at that point, with every third phrase from her being some form of "get him to someplace bigger". I traveled around town, even around the state looking for someone to receive him, OKC Zoo, OK Department of Wildlife Aquarium at the Muskogee mall, Bass Pro Shop, Oklahoma Aquarium in Jenks. Answers ranged from my fish guy isn't around, don't know if he fits our theme, we already have one (a mere 15 incher, no comparison at all). Only Catfish Roundup restaurant expressed a desire for him for their indoor aquarium. Then the wife decides it would be cruel to put him in something that small.
Nothing to do then but to learn how to keep a huge fish alive in a not so huge pond. We bought plenty of cold water food to fatten all the fish for the approaching winter. Globe fountains in the ponds kept the agitation going for good oxygenation, and the purchase of a floating stock tank heater kept the surface ice away. Moby seems to have adjusted well to his home, expressing his displeasure at being disturbed by cutting furrows through the water large enough to cover bystanders from waist to ankles. He seems to do well with the other life in the ponds. The only anomaly being there seems to be a multitude of snails and no string algae in the upper pond and no snails and a bumper crop of string algae in the lower one. Don't know if this is significant, but at least the algae may help oxygenate the colder winter water for the betterment of all the fish.
If he continues to thrive in our pond Moby Kat will have a welcome home for as long as he can fit into it, even though he seems to have to back up to turn around on occasion.
I've enjoyed the telling of the tale; someday I may write about "the Goldfish that Lost It's Scales" or "Man, That's a Whole Lot of Pink".
Freddy Hill

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Freddy J. Hill's Blog

Butterfy garden a busy place

Posted on June 29, 2012 at 12:44am 0 Comments

Saw several dozen catepillars on my dill and fennel.  Looked like they were trying to eat all they could before the heat, wind and dryness did them in.   I'm having to water even the ground plants every day.

Observations on a keyhole garden

Posted on May 20, 2012 at 8:54pm 4 Comments



                A couple of years ago I saw an Oklahoma Gardener Magazine article about keyhole gardens.  Always looking for new ideas and philosophies, this intrigued me.  Further research by friends found photos of active keyhole gardens and a documentary video of a charity group teaching villagers to use this growing technique in their homes. 

                What is a keyhole garden?  Google this and…


Keeping Up with Tools

Posted on January 21, 2012 at 11:56pm 0 Comments

I try to be organized but it sometimes seems little gremlins are shuffeling stuff in the garage.  I had to buy a new Florian folding limb saw because my old one has gone missing.  A vinyl shoe organizer is mounted to the wall near the exit door.  It holds most of my garden hand tools: not nearly enough room for…



Posted on December 19, 2011 at 3:41am 0 Comments



1.  Site specific or general purpose?

 Planning for a special staging location?  Be sure of viewing angles, light availability, elevation of shelf.  If  the dish garden is for general purpose (sale, judging, gifts) these are not as critical, though plan for good viewing from all angles if you can.


2. Dish properties.

Dish should be small, 6 to 12” or less in width, shallow, and have a drainage hole.  It must be of a…


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At 6:05pm on July 17, 2015, Julianne Chatfield Clark said…

thanks freddie

At 9:05pm on November 14, 2014, Jenny Lee Cash said…

Thank you Freddy for your response about my apple tree problem and for the nice welcome!

At 5:15pm on February 4, 2014, Tammie M McInnis said…

Thank you Fred!

At 11:51am on December 08, 2013, tina gave Freddy J. Hill a gift
You deserve a smile and a hug for all the damage you have had in your garden! I can't imagine that happening to me. I would be devastated.
At 6:21pm on March 29, 2012, mo puff said…

Abalone in Oklahoma??!!!  How in the world do you get Abalone in Oklahoma?

At 2:00pm on March 25, 2012, Tiff Calamusa said…
Hey there love those succulents and I collect cacti 
At 1:54pm on March 25, 2012, Sharon Howell z7NC said…

Thanks for being a friend, helps me remember those that have same interest as me, I don't know if it is the Fibromyalgia or the pain meds I take that messes with my memory.

If I may ask, what is your handicap?

What gardening I can do is my mental therapy. Thanks for the garden tips, I'll have to look into a dandelion puller. I just happened to pick up one of those things to reach high places, I'll try it out side.

At 6:08pm on February 17, 2012, Diana Gonzalez said…

I too am disabled, back problems! I have to watch what I do or I'll be in bed a couple of days.  I try to have a low-maintenance son helps alot. He has green-thumb and together we do great. He plants a  garden every year. A small garden but large enough for us. I have an associates degree in horticulture and I get lots of questions from my son. I enjoy gardening sooo much. I try to plant lots of perrinials and evergreens. Love hostas, 

At 8:38pm on February 2, 2012, Lisa Denise Fraley said…

Hi Freddy! :)

At 10:23pm on December 25, 2011, Community Manager said…

I suspect that when the software platform was upgraded recently it made your image wider.  if you have the image somewhere you can reupload it and it will probably fix.  best I can do

At 11:18pm on December 18, 2011, Trae Governatori said…

Greetings back! Succulents are my main interest. Thanks for the head's up. I'm just getting started and looking for ideas for my apartment. 


At 8:18am on November 11, 2011, Vicki Lancaster Wagner said…

yucca rostrata sapphire skies? cool. that gives me hope that mine will survive the winter. thx freddie! :D

At 12:56am on November 6, 2011, Vishi Ramani said…
Hi Freddy!  I'm a succulent lover, but don't really collect them.  I'm working on a vertical succulent garden, so I'll post pics when I complete it.  Thanks for the greetings!
At 9:48pm on October 26, 2011, Barb Z-7b Okla said…

Thanks for the welcome Freddy!! I did answer U on succulent group too! IF I was any closer to U, I would have come and helped U out! It is hard to do anything with disabilities. I know. I am figureing out this forum/site as I type. Just saw my page messages. LOL.. U  take care. Barb in Ada.


At 7:47pm on October 24, 2011, Susan Blaydes said…

Hi Freddy,

I have been enjoying Master Gardener's for 6 years now.  I love that it is still a learning experience - have made terrific friends!  We are creating a botanical garden for our town.  It is really coming along nicely!  I will post some photos when the flowers are blooming again.  Take care.

At 1:06pm on October 23, 2011, Teresa Jansen said…
Thanks, Freddy. I used to have the succulents all in containers but I have started putting some in the ground in protected areas.
At 11:20pm on October 19, 2011, Yvonne Johnson said…

I didn't realize Oklahoma gets that cold.  We are having our beautiful fall right now although mixed with a rain here and there. fortunate temperatures are nice. I'm sorry you can't keep up with your collection but someone will be happy I'm sure.  :)


At 9:11pm on October 19, 2011, Tina M Tellin said…
Thank you and I will
At 8:53pm on October 19, 2011, Robin said…
Greetings from Warr Acres. Love your pics, nice to see something grow in the heat we have here. do I take care of a potted aloe plant during the winter?
At 11:52pm on October 18, 2011, Yvonne Johnson said…

I just looked at some of your photos. I asked a silly question.  Your collections are awesome.



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