Make a New Year’s Resolution You Can Keep – Build a Wildlife Pond

If you’re looking for ways to make a positive difference to the environment, why not build a pond?  Ponds support a vast range of wildlife, from the bottom to the top of the food chain.  Insects, invertebrates, amphibians, and birds, all need ponds.  These ecologically important habitats give us the chance to see dazzling dragonflies and get closer to nature.  Ponds grant us exciting opportunities to grow waterlilies and aquatic plants!  If you aspire to create a tranquil area, where you can relax and unwind, a pond could be just what you’re looking for.

Hedgehogs, frogs, toads, newts, and birds, all rely on ponds; these fascinating creatures consume immense quantities of slugs, snails, caterpillars, and aphids – the culprits that feast on our prized plants!  By creating a pond, you’re welcoming frogs, toads, and newts, into your garden, where they’ll protect your plants from slugs and snails.

Find a sunny location, where your pond won’t be overshadowed by trees and the liner won’t be damaged by roots.  Don’t site ponds near lawns, so as to avoid maiming froglets and wildlife with lawn mowers or strimmers.

Establish a gradual sloping entrance to your pond, to allow wildlife to easily enter and leave the water.  Don’t make the mistake of taking water from another pond, as this could introduce pests, diseases, and invasive plants.  Instead, fill your pond with rainwater or tap water.

Why not create a bog garden around your pond?  You could plant colourful candelabra Primulas, sweetly scented Meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria), or maybe you’d prefer hardy carnivorous plants, like Sarracena?  A small area of wet soil will help to support solitary bees and swallows, who collect mud to build their nests.

The RHS judges awarded Hampshire Carnivorous Plants a Gold Medal for this display of Sarracenia, Nepenthes, and Carnivorous Plants, at the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show.

To help our wildlife, it’s important that we all plant pollen and nectar rich plants for bees, butterflies, and insects.  Ponds are best surrounded by bushy plants that provide a safe undercover passage for frogs, newts, and wildlife, as they make their way to the water.  Avoid creating a pond in a patio or exposed area.

Ornamental fish are voracious predators that devour water dwelling wildlife.  A fish pond differs from a wildlife pond; so, decide which you’d prefer, before formulating your design.  Don’t introduce fish to a wildlife pond.

If you’re struggling with algae, ensure you’ve planted sufficient floating leaf cover and oxygenating plants.  If one side of your pond is sunnier, move the leafy plants to cover the water on the sunniest side.  Natural barley straw treatments are easy and effective; add these early in the year.

If you’ve got the space, you could construct a swimming pond, with an island!  It goes without saying – please ensure that children are always supervised near water.

Last year, my Landscaper, Andrew Charles, helped me to create a new pond.  I’ve been trialling a range of pond pumps, filters, and skimmers from Oase; if you’d like to see photographs of my new pond and read the first article I’ve written about my pond and see photographs of my aquatic plants, please click here.  To see photographs of my pond and aquatic plants in spring and early summertime, please click here.  To see all of the articles I’ve written about my pond, please click here.

This article was first published in the January 2020 edition of Vantage Point Magazine.

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