If you watch any of the gardening programmes on TV you will be aware that we are all being encouraged to add a pond to our garden for the benefit of wildlife. Not to be outdone I decided this was a must for me. I decided to start small – well minute actually.
I picked a container for my pond that looks like half a barrel. I chose a spot in the garden which gets the sun and isn’t right under a tree, so it shouldn’t get full of leaves. I decided on 4 plants – a Miniature Bulrush, Lesser Spearwort which is a member of the buttercup family, Water ‘Forget Me Not’ and a dwarf Water Lily. At this time of the year there are no flowers in evidence, but if they survive they should look something like the labels.
This is the kind of plant pot you need to use for pond plants – one full of holes! I used it to rinse the dust off some gravel I wanted to use later. The plants all come with instructions on how deep they need to be planted. The Water Lily needed to be deepest so first I put just a small layer of soil into the basket and placed the Water Lily on it. It was then a case of layering to add the rest of the plants. The soil is a coir (coconut fibre) and loam (sand, clay & silt) mix which sinks in the water without allowing large amounts to escape and cloud the water. However I used the gravel I rinsed to add some extra weight.
It was now time to take the basket out into the garden and add to the barrel. I watered the basket gently to get the soil well soaked before adding water to the barrel – this helps reduce the amount of soil escaping into the water. It’s inevitable that some soil will escape but it will soon settle. I also added a stone to the pond. This serves 2 purposes. It provides something for birds and insects to land on but more importantly, should any small creatures find their way into the pond, they have something to climb out onto. This is more important with a pond that is sunk into the ground, but I like to be cautious – just in case there are any mountaineering mice or hedgehogs visiting the garden, or a squirrel topples in while raiding the bird feeder!
In the process of assembling the pond I found another job to do – you might be able to make out an object just behind the barrel – it’s Jeremy the frog – but he’s hardly recognisable in his thick green moss jumper! I gave him a scrub in a bubble bath so he looks a bit cleaner now.
I’m really pleased with my pond – I’m looking forward to seeing the flowers and bulrushes which all being well will appear between May and September. They should attract lots of insects – hopefully Jeremy won’t put them off – or worse still, eat them!
I expect the birds will like it too, although I hope it doesn’t attract anything too big! A duck collided with my friend’s car (that was her story anyway). She rescued the poor creature and gave him a home in her parents’ pond. They weren’t too enamoured with Marmaduke who left a terrible mess all over their lawn. In addition, their cat was very interested and so for obvious reasons it wasn’t long before Marmaduke needed to be rehomed – yes “he” was in fact a “she”. The day came when she was wrapped in a towel and driven to the home of a lady who owned a small lake on which she kept a number of ducks. With great sadness my friend released Marmaduke who was instantly ravished by a rampant resident drake – she (my friend) has never quite got over this even though she has been reassured that Marmaduke is very happy in her new home.