Guest Posts, Ponds, Victoria

“Pond”erings

Water Lily just openingAs I am a novice at water gardening, I’d like to hear from anyone with a pond.

In a moment of creativity I made a mini bog garden out of an inverted plastic dustbin lid that had been kicking around for years. I dug out just enough turf and soil from a corner of the lawn and pierced the lid with an awl, feeling sure there was a better way to do it, but it was a thing of the moment – it had to be done! The lid was placed in the hole so that the edges wouldn’t be visible or damage the mower. The soil and upturned turfs were put back in the lid and left to break down.

Soon after, I was given an old pre-formed pond liner from a neighbour who had graduated from goldfish to koi! I didn’t feel up to digging a hole myself, so sat it on a gravel bed surrounded by containers of different heights – giving access to anyone who might care to live in it. The ‘bog-garden’ is near-by.

Frogs came – and went! I think because I’d had trouble getting the water right. It became so pungent that any amphibian would turn its warty nose up at it.

The water was actually the melted snow that had settled in it after the winter of 2010. I topped it up from other rainwater containers and from the mains and installed a selection of oxygenating plants and barley straw. I had received so much conflicting advice: from using assorted chemicals to just allowing the water to ‘right’ itself. I wanted it to be as natural as possible. I ‘de-sludged’ it twice, bailing the bilge, and scooping out as much gunge as possible– a horrible smelly job – so this year I have installed a proper pond pump/filter and used an organic compound intended to break down decayed matter. The water is lovely now and I can see to the bottom!
Water Lily in Pond
The reward is my water lily open for the first time today. I’d almost forgotten it was there and I had to look twice at the tight pointy-egg of a bud, and visit it several times a day as it slowly opened – a beautiful diving nymph showing her set-albumen tutu and egg-yolk underskirt.

When a new plant flowers for the first time I just have to greet it (a sign of madness?). Like little children, new blooms deserve praise and encouragement for good behaviour. Well done Lily!

I’ve added half a dozen shubunkins to the pond as company for the only one to survive the winter. They are such pretty fish: deep red-orange, silver and black. They already wait around eight AM in the same spot for me – or maybe for their food!

And, although I was talking to my ‘man-who-can’ about a scheme for inserting the pond into the ground and extending the bog garden, we both agreed that this part of the garden looks just as if it was planned.

Victoria

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