They say that the single biggest change you can make to your garden to attract and benefit nature is to ensure the presence of water. It can be small, dishes of water or bird baths are a good place to start, but the bigger the water feature the more beneficial it is for nature.
I had always had a nagging sense of doubt regarding the legitimacy of my nature project as apart from the bird bath there were no water features in the garden. Nothing for Dragon flies or frogs to use, and I have found frogs in my water less garden in the past, perhaps looking for a suitable place.
So with shovel in hand I have taken the plunge and over the last week, and with a fair bit of effort, I’m very happy to say that a pond has been installed.
I read quite widely before installing it as I wanted a nature pond, and there are a few rules to follow. Firstly no fish, they eat everything, particularly insect larvae and I’ll be needing insects. Secondly it is good to have areas of different depths in the pond, so that it is suitable for a variety of plants. Also there should be a sloped area, for animals such as hedgehogs to get out should they fall in. These are a few of the basic rules but for those that are interested I would very much recommend the books of Kate Bradbury, a really good writer on nature gardening.
My garden is not large so neither is the pond, it measures about 2m in diameter and at its deepest is only around 30cm. But this is enough. Another rule is that it doesn’t need to be massive or deep to provide a fabulous resource for nature.
I took several pictures to show the phases of the construction and the various features explained above can be clearly seen, especially in the 3rd photo.
Another tip was to fill the pond with rain water rather than tap water, which contains various chemicals. I think the chemicals dissipate over time so it is not necessarily disastrous for the pond but it will take a little longer for nature to take a hold. In my case I filled the pond around 2/3rd full from my water butts but it did need a top up from the tap, in total around 450litres of water.
I wanted to leave the edges of the pond as natural as possible, no paving, but unfortunately growing grass has never been easy in my garden. So I’ve edged the pond, for now at least, with lots of small stones. I rather regret that I didn’t wash the stones before I placed them as lots of sediment washed off them and into the pond during some heavy rain showers during the week. This is why the water is mirky in the last photo of the construction sequence. The sediment is already sinking to the bottom so hopefully no lasting damage has been done.
The last step was to put in a few plants and I had to take advice on this as I know absolutely nothing about the subject. I mixed up some fully submerged plants, for the centre, with a few round the edges, which should mature into something resembling the pictures below.
So now it is time to wait. For the pond to mature, for the plants to establish themselves, and for nature to find my new garden habitat. I have set up a trail camera to film any nightime visitors but I’ll also be watching the water closely to see what turns up.