CREATE YOUR GARDEN PATCH FROM SCRATCH
The spade work’s done - now to make your pond a home for wildlife...
DIGGING OUT OUR small wildlife pond was a couple of hours’ hard work, but once it was out of the way, and some warm spring weather arrived, I was able to get on with the fun part of the job – planning what to put in there, and then landscaping the edges and starting to add vegetable (and, with luck, invertebrate) life.
It’s a great idea to get a start by cadging a few plants from someone who already has a thriving pond, so I turned to our own Mike Weedon, and he came up trumps with a bucket full of sedges, Water Soldier, Water Mint and Water Forget-me-not. His pond, in turn, had originally been seeded from our photographer Tom Bailey’s, so it’s nice to think of all that aquatic life making its way from Lincolnshire into Warwickshire, via Peterborough. So much for the plants. But what about insects and amphibians? Well, you have to think like Kevin Costner in 1980s baseball movie Field of Dreams, “if you build it, they will come”. Just sit back and wait, patiently. So far, our only problem has been the keen interest taken in the pond by Harry and Pepper, two of our poodle/chihuahua crosses – the poodle part of their genetic make-up compels them to paddle around, pawing at plant life (‘poodle’ comes from the Low German ‘pudel’, meaning to splash about). But Bird Watching’s Nikki Manning may have the solution – a small dog paddling pool on the yard, with a few toys in it, should distract them from any ideas of pool vandalism, and Harry already seems to be losing interest. Pond in place, we spent the first few days of spring getting the rest of the garden in order. Nat pruned the rather out-of-control Buddleia back hard, plus the Honeysuckle, and both should now come back stronger and thicker than ever. We’ve also added a Dogwood, Lavender, Clematis, ferns, Ivy, poppies and Foxgloves, plus rhubarb in a planter. At the edges of the pond, we’ve sown a wild flower mix, great for insects and birds, planted some primulas, and we’ve also created a little rocky area with some saxifrage and stonecrop. The back edge is shaded for large parts of the day by the various shrubs and the fence, so plant, insect and amphibian life has both warm and cool areas to suit their needs.
If you build it, they will come. Just sit back and wait, patiently