My Wildlife Pond in Springtime & Early Summer
I thought I’d share with you some photographs I’ve taken of my wildlife pond this spring and early summertime. I’m not sure if you’ve seen my pond before; this pond was created last year (here’s the first article I wrote about this pond). To guide you through the season, I’ve added my photographs to this article in date order. Some aspects of my pond have been more successful than others, and as you’ll see in my pictures, I have a tremendous amount of algae!
My pond is absolutely the largest possible sized pond for its location – it really is crammed into this part of my garden, which isn’t something I’d recommend! If I was designing a garden, I would have left a much greater area around the pond for planting – to soften the pond, add extra interest and create a wider, more secluded shelter belt of plants that would enable wildlife to enter and exit the pond shielded by the plants, away from the prying eyes of predators. So, why have I not followed my own advice? Why have I squashed too large a pond into my own garden? Well, the first pond we created in this garden was smaller – I designed our earlier pond to my size specifications. So this time, we’ve gone for a larger pond – which I’ve designed to my husband’s preferred size.
Is this the finished result? No, it’s not. But, to be honest, although I can easily see my pond from my garden path, it’s incredibly difficult to actually step around my pond (the only way to move around this pond is to step from stone to stone, or onto the logs) and so it’s far from easy to tweak things or move plants around. I’d really like to give my aquatic plants some fertiliser tablets to improve their flowering, but I’m anxious to avoid anyone doing this, in case any newts or other creatures are accidentally squashed by stepping onto the stones and logs around the edge of the pond. So, for the moment, our pond is being left alone to allow the newts to breed.
Anyway, here’s a look at some of the aquatic plants that are growing in my pond….
Aponogeton distachyos is a strong growing aquatic plant from South Africa; this is not a plant to include in a pond or water garden that connects to another or to grow in a garden that backs onto the countryside – every step should be taken to prevent this non-native, aquatic plant from escaping in the wild, where it could quickly become invasive and cause problems for our native plants and wildlife. Please only consider growing Aponogeton distachyos in a very contained pond and garden. If you decide you no longer wish to grow Aponogeton distachyos any longer, please do not discard this plant. Prompt deadheading will prevent seed formation and self-seeding, which will help to contain this vigorous growing plant.
I decided to grow Aponogeton distachyos, in my pond, as this plant grows and flowers over winter and early spring, when the majority of pond plants have all but disappeared from view. I hoped Aponogeton distachyos‘s large leaves would provide leaf cover over my pond, shading the water and thereby reducing algae growth at this time of year.
I’m also interested in this aquatic plant’s scented flowers, which are apparently said to be edible. Although, it’s one thing to be edible, but being delicious is something else entirely!
When I first grew Asparagus Peas for the first time, just over twenty years ago, I was so excited to taste this delectable sounding vegetable, which the seed packet described as having a flavour that was part way between a pea and asparagus. The reality couldn’t have been more disappointing, as (in my opinion) Asparagus Peas taste absolutely revolting; they’re nothing like asparagus or peas!
Anyway, as yet I’ve still not eaten a Aponogeton Distachyos flower; if I decide to take the plunge (quite literally, as it’s not easy to reach the plant in the centre of my pond!) and retrieve one of this plant’s flowers next winter I’ll be sure to report back with a description.
My Aponogeton Distachyos has been planted in a planter, filled with a peat-free aquatic compost and topped with gravel. The planter rests submerged underwater, at the deep end of the pond.
Caltha palustris ‘Alba’
I absolutely adore Marsh Marigolds! This is a white form – Caltha palustris ‘Alba’, which I find is always an early flowerer, in my pond.
Caltha palustris ‘Honeydew’
This is a softer yellow form of Marsh Marigold – Caltha palustris ‘Honeydew’, which was the second of my Marsh Marigolds’ to come into bloom.
I’ve added the picture of Caltha palustris ‘Honeydew’ below, to help you compare the tone of yellow to that of the regular wild species – Caltha palustris – our native Marsh Marigold. ‘Honeydew’ is just a couple of shades softer; both are beautiful plants.
I absolutely adore Marsh Marigolds (Caltha palustris); they’re one of my favourite flowers. This beautiful Marsh Marigold plant was a gift from two of our best friends, which makes it even more special. Whenever I see this Marsh Marigold I think of how much I love this superb plant and how much I love my friends, too.
Water Crowfoot (Ranunculus aquatilis) is one of life’s true joys; this is a truly superb aquatic plant!
I adore Bogbean (Menyanthes trifoliata) flowers; they’re so lacy and intricate. A thing of beauty, Menyanthes trifoliata is a UK native plant.
These Menyanthes trifoliata plants haven’t flowered anywhere near as well this year, as they did last year. These plants have only produced a couple of blooms this spring. I suspect this plant’s lack of flowers is connected to the fact that the aquatic plant fertiliser tablets I’ve purchased haven’t been added to the plant’s aquatic planter. This is just purely a logistical problem – I wanted to avoid any creatures being crushed as the aquatic plant fertiliser tablets were added to the compost.
Next year, these Menyanthes trifoliata plants will be more substantial in size and with fertiliser tablets added to their compost, I’m sure they’ll produce an improved floral display.
Usually referred to as the Flag Iris, Iris pseudacorus is a cheerful yellow, UK native plant. This is a naturally strong growing plant. My Iris pseudacorus plant is growing in an aquatic planter that’s sitting on the marginal shelf of the pond; so it’s growing along the outer edge of the pond, with water just covering over the top of the plant’s aquatic planter.
Algae or Blanket Weed
The other ponds I’ve created in the past have never really suffered with algae in the same way that my current pond has. Although, the smaller pond that I created a few years ago (this pond was installed in the same spot where my current pond stands) did have an algae bloom in late spring it was not comparable to the algae that’s threatening to strangle my pond, now. If you’re interested in this topic, I’ve written a longer article all about algae, with information on the products I’ve trialled to treat the algae my pond and tips to help you avoid the problems I’m experiencing with algae – here’s a link.
Planting around my pond
My pond is really crammed into this small area of my garden. There’s just a very narrow border around the pond, and a few boggy pockets we created when the pond was constructed; so there’s not as much planting room as I would like.
This is Narcissus ‘Lancaster’, a really lovely daffodil that’s growing in the thin strip of regular soil around the pond.
I love daffodils; so I’ve also planted Narcissus poeticus var. recurvus – a gorgeous scented daffodil, in the narrow border around my pond. These daffodils aren’t growing in a bog garden or under water – they’re just planted in the soil. The soil in this border around the pond is very free-draining, sandy soil.
I love growing fruit and vegetables, I plant them wherever I can! I’ve got quite a few Rhubarb plants growing in the border and areas around my pond. The rhubarb really fits in to the look and style of pond planting.
NB. Please only eat plants that you’re 100% sure are edible – if you’ve not grown something before, label it and grow your edible plant separately from your other garden plants, as many garden plants are poisonous.
Erigeron karvinskianus is such a happy little plant, it’s a great choice for free-draining soils and containers. My Erigeron karvinskianus plants are all growing in the sandy soil around my pond – this isn’t a bog garden plant – nor is it a plant to try and grow underwater!
Another pretty daisy that’s growing in this area is Leucanthemum vulgare – the Ox-Eye Daisy. This plant has been in bloom for a while. Jostling for position is Verbena bonariensis, which has just one modest flower in bloom, at the moment – there are so many more flowers to come!
To see photographs of the wildlife I’ve spotted around my pond, please click here.
Other articles that may interest you………….
To see all of the articles I’ve written about my wildlife pond, please click here.
For tips on super plants to grow for bees and butterflies, please click here.
For information on why I recommend using peat-free compost and to find out about my Compost Trials, please click here.
For advice on how to create a successful meadow, please click here.