Skip navigation.

New pond excitement

Posted by Miranda Hodgson on 28 May 2013 at 12:19 PM

During the slow process of renovating the garden at home, we found a tiny overgrown pond tucked away in an especially shabby corner. It was so overgrown that you could easily miss it – with Cerastium tomentosum and herb Robert (Geum urbanum) taking over at the edges and ringed in by thick stands of invasive Solidago canadensis (Golden rod). In a larger garden, I’d have left it as it was, but in an average sized garden like this one, it didn’t work and, since we are told that wildlife gardens do not have to be overgrown wildernesses, I decided to give it some attention having the idea that, whilst it’s good to know that it’s there, we would also like to actually see it.

The pond at the beginning

 

The Cerastium was reduced, which revealed a path around the pond that we hadn’t known was there. After that we went to work on the herb Robert and the Solidago. Removing those revealed dozens of small, woody Cotoneaster horizontalis seedlings and a lot of dandelions. There are no doubt thousands of seeds in the ground, all ready to germinate at a moment’s notice.

The pond itself is about the size of a tin bath, the sort you see in old Western films. The water was black and smelly and if you put a stick into it, bubbles came up and popped on the surface. Thinking that nothing could be living in it, I bailed some out and removed a layer of rotting leaves. With about two thirds of the water removed, I was surprised to find a frog, immediately felt a crush of remorse for disturbing the habitat, set about refilling it straight away and then went out to find some suitable plants. Myosotis scorpioides (water forget-me-not) for the edges, along with supermarket-bought watercress tucked under stones. Something with reedy stems will be added for insect larvae such as damsel larvae to climb up when they hatch out, should damselflies decide to lay eggs here.

 

 

 The frog, with a garland of watercress roots

 

The next morning, I was due to see someone who has an established pond in her garden a short distance away, so begged some weed and water from her to add to our pond. Back at home, I went straight out to see how it was looking. The frog was still there, thank goodness. Peering into the water, I saw something move – a newt! It looked like a smooth newt (Lissotriton vulgaris). The following morning’s check showed two newts in the water. Where did they pop up from all of a sudden? The walls around the garden are over 2m high and there are no gaps. I can only think that they must have already been in the garden, having climbed over via the ivy on next door’s side and the shrubs on this side.

 

 

 One of the newts seen through water

 

The area around the pond has now been planted with Primulas, Irises, Astilbe and Sisyrinchium 'California Skies'. Stones and some pieces of cherry wood have been put around the edges for hiding places. While I knew it was the wrong time to be sorting out a pond, I hadn't thought it was being used. It was and this time it's worked out okay and both newts and the frog are still there, but I shall never do it again – updates will follow.

Comments

Phot's-Moll said:

How nice to find unexpected wildlife in your pond. I'm sure the improvements you've made to theor home will make up for the small amount of disturbance.

on 28 May 2013 at 04:22 PM

Miranda Hodgson said:

I hope so, Phot's! They do seem to have re-settled themselves quickly, which is a relief.

on 28 May 2013 at 05:08 PM

richardpeeej said:

What an interesting read Miranda. A pond in the garden gives a real interest especially when you have wildlife in there. I soon had two frogs when I made a little pond from some old bowls. A little later another one came and joined them.

on 29 May 2013 at 01:06 PM

Miranda Hodgson said:

That must have been exciting, Richard. It really does show how much difference water makes and I'm sure you'll appreciate their help in eating up your garden pests.

on 30 May 2013 at 12:59 PM

TrackBack said:

on 31 May 2013 at 09:11 AM

EvaInNL said:

Brilliant and inspiring read Miranda!

on 11 Jun 2013 at 08:09 AM