Monday, 18 March 2013

"It won't take much digging ..."

Meanwhile back at the wildlife pond ...

I thought you might like to see a slideshow of the making of said pond. And I said ,blithely, that I didn't think it would take too much digging... I think I lasted for an hour before handing the spade to prime-of-life son !



video


We sited the pond in a natural hollow, in sun for most of the day, but shaded at some points by a big Sycamore tree (hmm ... didn't think that one through!). The pond has gently sloping sides all the way round so that wildlife can easily access the water to drink, bathe and find food. The depth at the centre is only about 70cm, which is actually more than it needs to be. It has a 'Reservoir strength' underlay and you can't get anything that sounds tougher than that ! Before laying it we removed all stones from the soil and added a layer of sand, to stop anything sharp puncturing the underlay or liner over time and the weight of water. The liner went on top of the underlay, then we spent hours putting BACK most of the soil we had dug out. We tried to use sub-soil rather than top soil as the nutrients in top soil would be too rich for the water.We filled it with cold water from the garden hose and, as you can see, we had only just got started before our first inhabitant arrived ! A newt which headed straight for the water !

Friends had given us all the marginal plants and pond weed, which were excess from their own well-established ponds, so we were confident that they (plants not friends!) would contain all manner of flora and fauna to populate our newbie and set up a well balanced micro-community.

We planted directly into the soil and edged with turves we had cut out to dig the pond, This gave a very natural edge to the pond. I wanted the planting to 'walk out' of the pond as it would in a 'real' pond. It certainly did that and within a couple of months  it was walking far too quickly and we were having to cut it back ! We also used some large cobbles which we used to form small 'beaches' into the shallow water.

From the same friends we got a precious cargo of sticklebacks and snails. The sticklebacks began to breed almost immediately and it was a real pleasure to watch the male, in his 'Prince Charming' breeding colours, making a nest, then courting the female and driving her through it, to lay her eggs.

The next Spring we had oodles of frogs, followed naturally by frogspawn; hundreds of baby sticklebacks and lots of fragile little Newtlets with  their oversized feathery gills.



Autumn - we mainly fished out Sycamore leaves before we got ourselves a great big net to cover the whole pond area.

And now, the pond is just beginning to wake again for it's second Spring. There are frogs and frogspawn so far but nothing else is in evidence.

I shall be down there with my camera ... waiting ...

2 comments:

  1. I've enjoyed looking through your blog and seeing the progress you have made in your garden.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi and thankyou for your comments. I have popped along to have a look around yours and really enjoyed it !

    ReplyDelete

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