Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Winter Koi Show

A little break from our usual plants and gardening posts with a feature on our other hobby, which is still related to the garden, our favourite 'garden pets' Koi :)

Last Saturday we attended the 2011 Winter Koi Show, the only winter Koi show in the UK organised annually by the East Midlands Koi Club (EMKC).

Koi painting, from one of the stands in the show
As our blog is mainly about plants and most of our readers are particularly interested in horticulture, I'd like to take this opportunity to showcase and give an insight, on a 'gardener's' point of view (i.e. rather than a professional Koi hobbyist), as to what typically happens at a Koi Show.

Many garden owners and gardeners regard Koi as just those big, colourful pond fish which can be fun and relaxing to watch as they swim around, and if tame enough can be fed by hand. Or a nuisance altogether with their tendency to rip apart your precious waterlilies in their never ending quest for food, and their demand for often complicated filtration systems. With adequate pond size and filtration, you can keep these wonderful fish and leave it as they are, pond pets. But there's a large group of people who get so enamoured by them (us included) that they take them to the next level and become hobbyists. And the Koi industry is a thriving one, with a large following here and all over the world, and companies popping up and vying for every hobbyists attention.

As soon as you enter, you're greeted with the sight of vats and vats of Koi on show. Each vat is allocated to participating individuals and all of their Koi, irregardless of size are placed within their allocated vats. The judges will later on go through all of the vats to select the winners. This is the highlight of the event and is great fun looking at all of the beautiful Koi.

The fish in each vat is individually photographed and measured prior to the show, categorised depending on the size and markings for judging purposes, and is posted on the board for ease of identification

One of the exhibitors is Adam, a member of Kangei Koi Club which we also belong to, gamely posing beside his allocated vat. We wished him goodluck as the judging was just about to take place when we arrived.

Apart from the fish, there are also plenty of stands related to the hobby including filtration companies, koi dealers, fish food and medication, food stalls for the hungry human attendees........

And some plants too, especially Bonsai and Japanese Acers, and garden ornaments. Japanese style of gardening is also popular amongst enthusiasts as Koi is mostly associated with the Japanese culture.

The judges hard at work, scrutinising every individual fish entered into the competition. A difficult task as the entries are nearly all of the highest quality.

The fish are once again re-measured individually in front of the judges, also giving them the chance to inspect the fish much closer for clarity of the skin, quality of the markings, etc.

And some of the participants will be lucky enough to bring home one of these...

And then one participant will bring home the top prize of Grand Champion for bringing the most outstanding fish of the show.

But the main attraction of course are the beautiful and outstanding Koi entered into the show, here are some of them:

I hope you enjoyed my feature on what can be seen inside a Koi show. The biggest event in the UK Koi calendar is the annual BKKS (British Koi Keepers Society) National, which is usually held at the last weekend of June, and we're hoping to attend that too. Now I'm looking forward to that as it's a much bigger event, with plenty more fish to look at, and stands related to the hobby :-)



  1. Really gorgeous bonsai and koi. I would have loved to visit this show in person.

  2. Love this post, really wish we could have a Koi pond too.

  3. Thanks everyone :)

    Libby, worth considering adding one or two Ghost Koi in your pond. It has a net so herons shouldn't be a problem and they're not demanding with the filtration.

  4. I like looking at tropical plants. Those pictures from the Oriental garden are absolutely inspiring. Thank for sharing.

  5. Thanks Sue, my pleasure to share! :)


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