An Update From My Wildlife Pond in the Drought of Summer 2022!

An Update from my Wildlife Pond in the Intense Heat of Summer & the Drought of 2022

Here’s a look back at my wildlife pond on the 29th April 2022. At this time, I was concerned about maintaining my pond’s water levels but I still had enough rainwater to run the waterfall. In this picture, you can also see some of the extra features I’ve added to provide different habitats for wildlife: log piles, my stone stack – the cairn, and plants for bees, butterflies, moths, and hoverflies. This picture also clearly shows just how narrow the border around my wildlife pond is!

Hello, and welcome to my wildlife pond during the heatwave and drought of 2022.  I’ve been anxiously watching the water level in my pond as it recedes.  I’ve invested in another water tank and I’ve been busy scouring the local area for any second-hand water butts and water tanks for sale.  I’m primed and ready to collect all the rainwater I can whenever we are next blessed with rain, but when will that be?

My wildlife pond was full of lush green foliage, (despite reduced water levels) when I took this picture on the 16th May 2022. At the front, right-hand-side of this picture, my Rhubarb ‘Livingstone’ plant is looking rather limp. Rhubarb thrive in wet summers.

I only use rainwater to fill up my pond (as tap water exacerbates algae growth), so it has been especially challenging this summer, as I actually cannot remember when it last rained.

At times like these, I am grateful that we took the time and trouble to make our wildlife pond about 80cm or 90cm (2.6-2.9ft) deep.  Many shallower ponds in my area dried out many weeks ago.  I am so thankful that there is still water left in my pond!  If you’re thinking of making a pond in your garden; it’s important to consider the depth.  Aquatic plants need different water depths for successful growth, the amount of water above the plant varies depending on the species; this is something to remember, research, and factor into your design when creating a water feature, as it would be a missed opportunity not to create the ideal water depth for your favourite aquatic plants.

I am constantly thinking about water!  I’m very organised.  I empty my water butt into my pond whenever I’ve collected sufficient rainwater – so my tank is emptied and ready to collect more water whenever it rains.  My wildlife pond holds a lot of water – so I need more than a full water butt to fill the pond.

We’ve had so much sunshine but not enough rain this spring and summer. Despite this, there are lots of lush green plants growing in and around my pond. Here’s a look at my wildlife pond on the 18th May 2022.
It was very tempting to get the net out and collect up this swirl of algae and reveal a clear pond, but there would have undoubtedly been damselfly larvae or pond life trapped in the net of algae. I decided instead to leave the algae alone and enjoy watching the damselflies flying around my wildlife pond.
He’s a look at my wildlife pond on the 27th July 2022. I have littered my garden with shallow trays of water for birds and wildlife. I’ve filled these trays with tap water, but anytime I fill up the pond, I only use rainwater collected from my roof. It would be easier to fill the pond up with tap water, but I would never recommend filling a pond with tap water, as it fuels algae growth.
Here is my wildlife pond looking very sorry on the 4th August 2022. The foxes and badgers that visit my garden usually walk through the pond and knock over the aquatic plants’ stems, pushing the plants in whichever direction they are headed! My wildlife pond has currently lost one third of its water. Thankfully, there is still water in the pond, but the water is hidden beneath these plants. Many birds and insects visit to drink from the pond and the foxes and badgers also drink from my pond.

My wildlife camera is stationed outside by my pond.  A permanent camera is a wonderful thing to have, as it allows me to observe the wildlife that visit my pond.  I’ve been watching badgers and foxes traipsing through my wildlife pond at night.  Whilst it has been just so exciting to see these lovely wild animals; it’s also very surprising, as I have a small garden in the town centre, sandwiched between two busy roads.  I feel this is an example of how our wild animals are having to travel further afield to find food and meet a mate, and this is also a demonstration of how our ever expanding towns, villages, and cities have encroached into their territories, leaving less countryside for nature.  I hope that the badgers and foxes are careful when they’re crossing the road on their way to my garden.  Please look out for badgers, hedgehogs, foxes, and other wildlife when you’re driving.

Here’s a closer look at my wildlife pond on the 4th August 2022. The water level in my pond has dropped so low that many of the marginal plants are now growing in very shallow water and no longer have water covering the tops of their planters. In fact, many of these marginal plants are experiencing the pond water evaporating and receding away from their roots and some plants, like a number of my Marsh Marigolds have been without water around their roots since the middle of April 2022. Despite these challenging conditions, Myosotis scorpioides alba is in flower. This aquatic plant has been flowering non-stop over the past few months.

Maintaining Water Levels in my Garden Pond

When I left you in my last update, the water levels in my pond were low.  My water butt collects rainwater from my shed roof.  I keep this water butt’s water exclusively for filling up my pond.  My shed water butt was empty at my last update and it is still empty now.  At the end of April 2022, we decanted the rainwater from our ‘Brad Tank’ (a water tank we got from our friend, Brad!)  I fill up the Brad Tank whenever one of my water butts is full and I can collect extra rainwater, as I use the Brad Tank in emergencies.  Adding this extra rainwater definitely helped things along, but still left the pond’s water level far lower than I would like.

It has been a struggle to keep my wildlife pond topped up with rainwater this spring and summer. I took this picture on the 24th April 2022, when the water levels had dropped and my marginal plants were out of the water.
On the 29th April 2022, I took this picture to show you how low the water in my wildlife pond was getting. I didn’t expect that I would be posting pictures of a much reduced pond in August 2022. This black lining is usually under water.

By May 2022, I was concerned about the water level in my pond.  With my Brad Tank now empty, I decided to syphon some of the water from my main rainwater collection tank into my wildlife pond.  I use the rainwater in my main rainwater tank for watering, feeding, and misting all of my orchids and houseplants.  My main water tank is a vital water source, which I am very reluctant to use for other projects at any time, especially at the moment, as we’ve not had rain for so long and no rain is forecast for the next two weeks.  However, I was concerned about the newts and any newt eggs that might be wrapped in my aquatic plants’ leaves, which may now have risen above the water line, due to the low water levels in my wildlife pond.  I was so worried for the newts and other wildlife that I made an exception and decanted some of the rainwater from my main rainwater tank into the pond.

I miss the gentle sound of my waterfall in action and really look forward to watching birds bathing here again. We’ve not had rain in so long. I cannot wait to be able to collect enough rain to fill up my wildlife pond.
We had to turn off the waterfall for our wildlife pond by the middle of May, as we didn’t have enough water in the pond to run the waterfall. This is the last picture I took of a Dunnock bathing in the waterfall. I cannot wait to have enough rainwater to fill the pond and be able to run the waterfall again! Pictured on the 29th April 2022.

The birds delight in showering in the waterfall that runs into my wildlife pond.  To run the waterfall, I need a higher level of water in the pond, so the waterfall has been turned off since the middle of May 2022.

I took this picture on the 18th May 2022, when I was concerned about maintaining the water levels in my pond, but I had no idea as to how hot and dry this summer would be! There was lots of lush growth from the aquatic plants and the plants growing in the sandy soil in the narrow strip of soil around my wildlife pond in late spring and summer.

All of my other water butts and tanks I have are now empty.  Thankfully, I still have some rainwater left in my main tank but only enough to water my orchids for another couple of weeks at most.  This is the closest I have ever been to running out of rainwater.  I don’t have the energy to do a rain dance, but I am praying for rain!  I have decided to order another water butt to help me collect more rainwater over winter and ensure I have enough rainwater to water my orchids and houseplants all through the year, as well as maintain the water levels in my wildlife pond throughout the spring and summer, next year and in the years that follow.

Algae and Duckweed

It seems so long ago that I was able to really see the surface of my wildlife pond’s water.  The pond’s water level has now dropped so low that the aquatic plants’ now cover the water and stand proud above the water.  Here’s a picture I took when some water was visible!

I spotted this mating pair of Water Boatman (Corixidae) on the surface of the water on the 16th April 2022.

I definitely have an abundance of duckweed in the pond, as I’ve not taken any steps whatsoever to clear any duckweed from the pond.  Without a pond skimmer in continuous operation or frequent, regular hand removal (using a net to sweep over the water and collect the duckweed and remove it) this aquatic plant will continue to reproduce and increase in number until the duckweed entirely covers the surface of the pond.

Here’s a look across my wildlife pond on the 29th April 2022. Marsh Marigolds (Caltha Palustris) add a cheerful luminosity to this area of my garden. There were no problems with algae or duckweed in my pond in late spring or early summer.
Waterlily flowers are open in the mornings and in the middle of the day. I haven’t made it outside at these times for a while and I can’t see far enough into the centre of the pond to see any waterlily flowers, which is a shame! It was such a struggle to lean in and take this picture. My duckweed and algae look to be thriving in this image, but I’ve not had too much trouble with algae this year. The steps I took earlier this year have paid off.
Here’s a look into my wildlife pond on the 21st May 2022. I’ve got the odd patch of algae and a sprinkling of duckweed here and there, but it’s not a problem – this pond is visited by an abundance of wildlife.

A few patches of algae are sometimes visible, but are these all bad?  With many clear areas of water in my pond and the choice of plenty of aquatic plants’ leaves to rest upon, this Comma Butterfly headed straight for this patch of algae!

During my first Big Butterfly Count of the year, I observed this Comma Butterfly (Polygonia c-album) spending time visiting the flowers around my wildlife pond. After fuelling up on nectar, this Comma butterfly flew over the pond, before landing in the centre of the pond where this butterfly spent a few minutes drinking from the algae.

It has been so hot and dry and I’ve have so many essential gardening tasks that have needed doing both indoors and outside, so my weekly treatments of Ecopond Eco-friendly Barley-Bio Algae Control have gone out the window.  So far, I’m not aware of this product reducing or controlling the algae in my pond.

Aquatic Plants

Marsh Marigold plants with double flowers are available, but double flowers don’t offer pollen or nectar to bees, hoverflies, butterflies and moths – their flowers aren’t accessible – so I stick to growing Marsh Marigolds with open flowers in my wildlife pond. Pictured on the 24th April 2022.
In late spring, my wildlife pond is lit up by Marsh Marigold (Caltha palustris) flowers. Usually my Marsh Marigolds deliver smaller, later flushes of flowers after their main show, but with the low water levels this summer, the plants are currently conserving their energy for survival. Pictured on the 27th April 2022.
I will always grow Bogbean (Menyanthes trifoliata) plants in my wildlife pond, as they are one of the food plants for the Elephant Hawk Moth. My Bogbean (Menyanthes trifoliata) plants are never very generous with their flowers. These aquatic plants command a substantial area of my wildlife pond, yet provide very few blooms in return. Marsh Marigolds (Caltha palustris) are very generous with their blooms; they light up my wildlife pond in late springtime. Pictured on the 27th April 2022.
Ranunculus flammula in bud in my wildlife pond. Pictured on the 17th May 2022.
Iris pseudacorus pictured in bud in my wildlife pond on the 17th May 2022. Ranunculus flammula flowers were just opening when I took this picture.
Iris pseudacorus and Ranunculus flammula in flower in my wildlife pond at the end of May 2022.
Iris pseudacorus in flower on the 2nd June 2022. As one flower fades and recesses, so another pointed bud appears and unravels.
The sunny flowers of Iris pseudacorus, (also known as the Flag Iris) in flower in June 2022. This is one of the UK’s native aquatic plants.
My Iris pseudacorus plants have produced these large seed pods, which are surrounded by a haze of Ranunculus flammula flowers.

For more information about Ranunculus flammula, please click here.

Newts

Here’s a look at one of the newts sheltering by a waterlily leaf in my wildlife pond on the 27th April 2022.

I’ve not seen any newts for a while; the water level drop will have hidden the newts from view (if they were in the water).  Newts don’t spend all their time swimming in our ponds, they leave the water and explore our gardens, woodlands, and the local areas around the ponds where they started their lives.  In the mating season, from spring to summertime, newts visit ponds at night to mate and lay eggs.

I’ve created all kinds of different environments to help newts.  I have log piles around the pond, a stone stack or cairn, plus compost heaps and other areas in my small garden.

I don’t use any slug pellets or slug or snail deterrents in my garden.  Newts are one of many predators of slugs and snails – they have a good hunting ground here in my garden!  I have ensured there are gaps under my fence, which allow the newts to access my garden and visit the pond as well as explore my neighbours’ gardens.

On the 29th April 2022, I spotted lots of newts in my wildlife pond. I get such a rush of excitement when I see a newt. I am so glad that these lovely creatures live in my wildlife pond. At the right hand side of this picture, you can see my Oase pond filter, which operates under the water.

Alder Leaf Beetles

I kept seeing Alder Leaf Beetles on the roses and plants around my wildlife pond earlier this spring. Due to the heatwave, I’ve not been outdoors as much in the daytime, but I’ve not seen any beetles for a few months. I took this picture by my pond on the 24th April 2022.
These Alder Beetles were very noticeable in my garden earlier this spring. I spotted this beetle on the ‘Wild Edric’ rose that’s growing near my wildlife pond on the 27th April 2022.
Here’s a closer look at the same Alder Beetle, a smart looking fellow that I spotted near my wildlife pond.

European Rose Chafers

I only have a couple of surviving daffodils in the border around my wildlife pond. I was delighted to spot this European Rose Chafer in amongst the leaves. I often see these beetles feeding on my rose blooms and Leucanthemum vulgare flowers. I simply adore European Rose Chafers. They are full of character and often fly in sweeping circular movements, before crash landing onto large flowers! Pictured at the end of April 2022.

Caterpillars

I love caterpillars, so I was excited to spot this Lesser Yellow Underwing Moth caterpillar hidden in the foliage of the climbing rose that’s growing by my wildlife pond. Pictured on the 24th April 2022.

Damselflies and Dragonflies

I spotted my first damselfly of the year, a Red Damselfly on the 26th April 2022.  Due to the intense heat and high temperatures this summer and the fact that my wildlife pond is in such a hot and sunny position I have spent far less time around the pond than usual and far more time indoors.  I haven’t been around very often to spot and photograph the dragonflies, damselflies, and butterflies.  I truly have missed my wildlife pond and I have missed the excitement of observing these fascinating insects, but the intensity of the heat in this area of my garden has meant that it has felt punishing to spend even a moment in this part of the garden.

I saw a lot of small damselflies from the middle of May until June 2022. Since then I’ve not spent as much time by my pond, as most of the time it has been too hot to be outside in the sunshine.
I spotted this damselfly larvae on a leaf at the side of my wildlife pond. We took his photo and popped him straight back into the pond. Pictured on the 16th May 2022.
This damselfly is pictured resting upon the Marsh Marigold (Caltha palustris) seed pods, in my wildlife pond.
Aren’t Caltha palustris leaves gorgeous? I love them. Here’s another red damselfly by my wildlife pond on the 17th May 2022.
Here’s another Large Red Damselfly resting on Bogbean (Menyanthese trifoliata) in my wildlife pond. Pictured on the 17th May 2022.
This damselfly had only recently emerged from its exuviae and is now drying out and hardening off in preparation for its first flight. This morning, the dragonfly larvae climbed up this Ranunculus flammula stem, out of the water

To find out more about Ranunculus flammula, please click here.

Can you spot the mating pair of Large Red Damselflies?
This summer, I’ve seen lots of Azure Damselflies around my wildlife pond.
There is a Large Red Damselfly behind this Azure Damselfly!
A closer look at one of the Azure Damselflies resting on a Bogbean leaf in my wildlife pond.
I was ecstatic to see this stunning male Banded Demoiselle fluttering around my wildlife pond! I’ve seen a few of these damselflies as well as the similar Beautiful Demoiselle, but I haven’t had my camera with me. Pictured on the 31st July 2022.

Border Plants

Here’s a look at my wildlife pond on the 30th April 2022. The Rhubarb at the front of this picture is Rhubarb ‘Raspberry Red’. Most of the plants that are growing in the narrow border around my pond had yet to flower when I took this picture.
Initially, I was growing nettles in a large container by my wildlife pond, but I was unable to lift the planter and remove any creeping roots; therefore it was no surprise when a couple of years later, the nettles had escaped. Nettles are now romping around happily in the back and side border near my wildlife pond. I was hoping to spot some caterpillars, but I’ve only seen the holes made by snails and caterpillars, so far. Pictured on 24th April 2022.
These pretty violets are growing in the dry, shaded crevices around my wildlife pond. I adore these dainty plants. Pictured on the 29th April 2022.
Geum avens is growing in the narrow border that surrounds my wildlife pond. This dainty looking plant is a vigorous grower that’s popular with bees and butterflies.
I don’t like the rough, bristly feel of Green Alkanet’s (Pentaglottis sempervirens) stems, but this plant is still in place around my wildlife pond, because it produces so many flowers that are adored by many species of bee and hoverfly in late spring and early summertime.
This Allium cristophii flower bud is about to pop open! I’m growing this easy-to-grow, drought tolerant Allium in the narrow border that surrounds my wildlife pond. I planted these bulbs about five years ago. Pictured on the 7th May 2022.
I didn’t plant this Green Alkanet (Pentaglottis sempervirens) plant in the narrow border around my wildlife pond, but this plant has earned its place by producing so many flowers that are so popular with bees and other pollinating insects.
Buttercup flowers blooming in the end of the narrow border that surrounds my wildlife pond. Pictured on the 16th May 2022.
A closer look at one of the buttercup flower buds as it begins to open.
I’ve got a few Erigeron karvinskianus dotted around the narrow border that surrounds my wildlife pond. I planted these perennials were here about four or five years ago. I like to allow my plants to self seed where they are happiest.

For more information about Erigeron karvinskianus, please click here.

I adore Herb Robert or Stinky Bob (also known by its botanical name, Geranium robertianum). This pretty wildflower self-seeds itself sporadically around my wildlife pond. Pictured on the 7th May 2022.
Here’s a closer look at a Herb Robert or Stinky Bob flower (also known by its botanical name, Geranium robertianum). Often taken for granted, I think Stinky Bob is exquisite. This pretty wildflower self-seeds itself sporadically around in the border around my wildlife pond. Pictured on the 16th May 2022.
I’m growing a later fruiting Rhubarb called ‘Livingstone’ at this end of my wildlife pond. I’ve not harvested any stems from this particular plant, as it is growing in very free-draining, sandy soil and needs all the help it can to make it through this hot, dry summer. This rhubarb plant has spent most of the summer looking very limp in the heat of the day, but often perks up in the morning and evening. I have only watered my rhubarb a few times this summer, as I don’t want the borders around my pond to need watering and so I’ve only watered the rhubarb on a few rare occasions; I also don’t want to risk accidentally pouring tap water to my pond. Pictured on the 16th May 2022.
I adore this rose. This is Rosa ‘Wild Edric’, a gorgeous rose with beautifully scented, vibrant flowers that attract bees and other pollinators. I took this picture by my wildlife pond on the 16th May 2022.

For more information about Rosa ‘Wild Edric’, please click here.

My Inula hookeri flowers are fading more rapidly than usual, due to the harsh growing conditions – the heatwaves and lack of rain this summer. Pictured on the 27th July 2022.

For more information about Inula hookeri, please click here.

The scent from my Rosa ‘Wild Edric’ flowers is so up-lifting! I feel rejuvenated after just a few minutes with these flowers. I find gorgeous scented flowers brighten up my life and add another dimension to my wildlife garden. Pictured on the 17th May 2022.
A lovely furry bumble bee enjoying the nectar of Knautia averansis flowers in the narrow border that surrounds my wildlife pond. Pictured on the 8th July 2022.

For more information about Knautia averansis, please click here.

I always try and grow at least one teasel (also known by their botanical name, Dipsacus fullonum) near my wildlife pond. These fabulous plants produce spiked stems, topped with cone-shaped flowers that produce their lilac flowers in rings around the bristly cone. The flowers are beloved by bees and the seed heads that follow are adored by Goldfinches over the autumn and winter months. Pictured on the 10th July 2022.
A brand new Inula hookeri flower! Pictured by my wildlife pond on the 15th July 2022.
The first Inula hookeri flowers were starting to open when I took this picture, but I wanted to make sure you saw this perennial’s incredible flower buds! Inula hookeri buds and leaves are all very soft and tactile – their silky fabric-like feel is such a nice surprise it’s like a soft caress whenever I touch them. Pictured on the 14th July 2022.
This tall teasel towers above my wildlife pond. These flowers seemed to go over much faster than usual this year, probably due to the drought and challenging growing conditions this summer. This is another fabulous plant for bees and butterflies. Pictured in July 2022.
I adore my ‘Wild Edric’ rose. This is one of the most drought tolerant roses I grow. This plant has continued to produce new flower buds, despite the fact that I haven’t given this rose any extra watering this summer.
Betonica officinalis ‘Hummelo’ pictured in bloom, in the narrow border that surrounds my wildlife pond, at the end of July 2022.
Filipendula ulmaria in flower by my wildlife pond in late July 2022. There are a number of Knautia arvensis plants growing in amongst this rather lovely collection of softly-scented flowers.
These Betonica officinalis ‘Hummelo’ flowers grow taller as they age. I have a few of these perennials dotted around the narrowest part of the border that surrounds my wildlife pond. Pictured on the 10th August 2022.
Knautia arvensis is another plant that self-seeds itself around in my garden. This is another of our native wildflowers. Knautia arvensis blooms delight bees, butterflies, moths, hoverflies, and all manner of insects. Pictured on the 10th August 2022.

For more information about Knautia arvensis, please click here.

Bees

This happy bee spent time tending to almost all of the Marsh Marigold (Caltha palustris) flowers in bloom around my wildlife pond. Pictured on the 29th April 2022.

I was so happy to see this whiskery, bearded bee visiting the Green Alkanet (Pentaglottis sempervirens) flowers around my wildlife pond.
I was so happy to see this cute Leaf-cutter bee visiting the Allium cristophii flowers by my wildlife pond on the 8th June 2022.

For more information about Allium cristophii, please click here.

Here’s a leaf-cutter bee that I spotted on one of the first Inula hookeri flowers to open this summer. Pictured on the 14th July 2022.

For more information about Inula hookeri, please click here.

There aren’t many flowers left on this tatty Viper’s Bugloss (Echium vulgare) flowering stem, but this Comma Butterfly (Polygonia c-album) and bee were both drawn to feed from Echium vulgare’s fading flowers.

For more information about Echium vulgare, please click here.

Iris pseudacorus is a fabulous plant for bees! I’ve observed many bee species, including bees of all shapes and sizes visiting the Iris pseudacorus flowers in my wildlife pond.
A bee arrives at the Iris pseudacorus flower and uses the signal markings and nectar guides on the flower’s fall petals to begin to navigate its way to the nectar.
The bee pushes itself under the Iris pseudacorus flower’s style arm, where the bee crawls through to access the flower’s nectar. The bee will be brushed with pollen as it passes through the cramped tunnel to access the flower’s nectar.
Hurrah, the bee reaches its reward and enjoys this Iris pseudacorus flower’s nectar.
I love finding plants that are beneficial to bees, hoverflies, and other pollinating insects. If you’re looking for an easy-to-grow, aquatic plant for a sunny area of your pond that will help bees, Iris pseudacorus is a great choice. This plant is suited to growing in the margins or outer edges of a pond, where there is 0-20cm of water over the top of the planter.
Even old and faded Iris pseudacorus flowers attract pollinating insects. In a day or two, this lovely pointed bud will unravel and reveal a brand new bloom, just as this open and now pollinated flower fades.
The sense of delight from the bees when the Inula hookeri flowers started to open was palatable. Many species of solitary bee need access to mud to create chambers for their eggs and offspring, so as well as pollen and nectar, these insects also need an area of wet soil.

For more information on Inula hookeri, please click here.

This leaf-cutter bee has such fast-moving wings that you can barely see them in this picture!
Teasels (also known by their botanical name, Dipsacus fullonum) are biennial, so if you want to grow teasels in your garden, sow seeds autumn, winter, spring, or summer. When sowing seeds, remember that teasels have really spiky stems and they lean and move about in the wind – this is not a plant to grow near a path, passageway or seating area. My teasel is growing at the back of my pond, which I can’t manage to get to myself – so it’s the perfect spot! I find teasels will grow in almost any soil, but they thrive in full sunshine. Pictured on the 10th July 2022.
Inula hookeri is a great plant for bees and butterflies, as its flowers are so popular with these insects. I was so happy to spot this lovely bumble bee on the 22nd July 2022.
I got a good view of this sweet bee’s face on my fleeting visit to my wildlife pond, on the 23rd July 2022.

Butterflies

I’ve seen many white butterflies in my garden this summer. This is a Small White Butterfly. Pictured on the 17th May 2022.
I was so excited to spot this male Orange-tip butterfly feeding from Geranium robertianum flowers near my wildlife pond. Pictured on the 17th May 2022.
There aren’t many flowers left on this tatty Viper’s Bugloss (Echium vulgare) flowering stem and there are plenty of other flowers all around, but this Comma Butterfly (Polygonia c-album) was drawn to feed from one of this Viper’s Bugloss’ fading flowers.

For more information about Echium vulgare, please click here.

A Comma Butterfly feeding on a lone Verbena bonariensis flower behind my wildlife pond, on the 26th June 2022.

For more information about Verbena bonariensis, please click here.

Climbing Plants

There is no need to panic if you see aphids on your roses and garden plants. These little creatures will be devoured by any Blue Tits and wildlife nearby.
Aphids are a vital part of the food chain. Without aphids many of the species of Ladybirds we know and love would die out and become extinct. Our gardens are alive. We need to protect nature by making our gardens a functioning habitat, with food and shelter for wildlife.
Here’s a closer look at the aphids on my ‘Strawberry Hill’ rose’s leaves. I don’t spray my roses; there is absolutely no need to do anything about these tiny insects. Aphids are a vital source of food for birds like Blue Tits and they also sustain Ladybirds, hoverfly larvae, dragonflies, and other insects.
The next time I glanced at my rose’s leaves I saw the aphids had gone and a Ladybird was in their place! Pictured on the 29th April 2022.
Here are a later flush of aphids on the roses that are growing in the border around my wildlife pond. Pictured on the 7th May 2022.
Rosa ‘Strawberry Hill’ in bloom, next to my wildlife pond on the 16th May 2022.

For more information about Rosa ‘Strawberry Hill’, please click here.

This male Large Red Damselfly has helped to control the aphids on the roses that are growing alongside my wildlife pond. Pictured on the 15th June 2022.

The first flowers my ‘Strawberry Hill’ roses produce are a deeper strawberry-pink colour and the blooms are fully double.  However, later blooms are far softer in colour and the blooms are only semi-double, with accessible pollen for bees and other insects.  I can’t say that this rose is the number one choice for pollinating insects, but I am glad that my rose offers some sustenance to our hard-working bees and other pollinating insects.

Rosa ‘Strawberry Hill’ in flower on the arch alongside my wildlife pond on the 15th July 2022. This rose has been flowering in cycles from May. The first roses are fully double, but the later flowers have fewer petals and become semi-double blooms with accessible pollen for bees and other pollinating insects – which is something I love!
I often see Blackbirds and Sparrows on the fence and in amongst the climbing plants I’m growing. These two clematis are Clematis ‘Paul Farges’ and Clematis ‘Kaiu’. In this picture, you can also see nettles and meadowsweet – Filipendula ulmaria. Pictured on the 23rd July 2022.
My ‘Strawberry Hill’ roses have had a tough time this spring and summer, due to the drought, which is compounded by my garden’s free-draining, sandy soil. I’ve not managed to water my roses very often.
This is Clematis ‘Paul Farges’; I’m growing this clematis up the fence behind my wildlife pond. I’ve never watered this Clematis ‘Paul Farges’ – it’s a drought tolerant climber that is thriving in my sandy soil. This Clematis takes up quite a bit of space and will quickly cloak a fence or obelisk with an abundance of flowers. My plant covers just the side of the fence behind my pond and carries on down into my garden.
My Rosa ‘Strawberry Hill’ rose was fantastic last year. This year my plants haven’t produced anywhere near as many flowers, because I have only watered them a couple of times. Pictured on the 21st July 2022.
I adore Clematis ‘Rooguchi’. This clematis is growing up the arch at the side of my pond, where it mingles with Rosa ‘Strawberry Hill’. Pictured in bud on the 29th July 2022.
Lonicera periclymenum in bloom at the back of my wildlife pond on the 27th July 2022. I adore the scent of honeysuckle flowers. This is another drought tolerant plant – I have never once watered this plant, yet it is thriving.

For more information about Lonicera periclymenum, please click here.

Clematis ‘Rooguchi’ is growing up the arch next to my wildlife pond. This clematis is growing alongside Rosa ‘Strawberry Hill’. I’ve only managed to water this rose a couple of times this summer and it really shows – my rose is not as floriferous this year and many of my rose’s leaves are marked or have fallen. However, this clematis seems to be in good health despite the drought. Pictured in August 2022.
I love Clematis ‘Rooguchi’ with all my heart. I just adore bell-shaped flowers that look as if they were made to be a flower fairy’s skirt. Pictured in August 2022.

Birds

Here’s a look into the Magpies’ nest in the Italian Cypress (Cupressus sempervirens) tree next to my wildlife pond, as pictured on the 16th April 2022.
Here’s a picture of a dear little Dunnock bathing in the waterfall. Pictured on the 27th April 2022.
I love to see birds bathing in the waterfall that runs into my wildlife pond. I cannot wait for it to rain enough for me to fill my wildlife pond and run the waterfall again.
I spotted this House Sparrow in my Wisteria, waiting for me to go before he ventured down to visit my wildlife pond. Pictured on the 27th April 2022.
This sweet Sparrow was a daily visitor, in spring and early summer taking a drink in the waterfall.
It really fills my heart with joy when I observe birds visiting my wildlife pond. These are not rare birds, they aren’t brightly coloured, but I love seeing these Sparrows and Dunnocks.
As the water level in my pond has dropped so significantly, I have placed shallow trays of (tap) water around my wildlife pond, to provide more water for birds and wildlife.
I’ve added some twiggy sticks to my log pile, these are really popular with birds, as they offer so many perches. This sweet Dunnock is pictured on the 16th July 2022.

Hoverflies

Here’s one of the hoverflies I’ve spotted on the Marsh Marigold flowers in my wildlife pond.

Leaving Food for Wildlife

After thinning our apple trees, some of the unripe apples were scattered over the logs under the ivy (Hedera helix) by my wildlife pond to see if insects or wildlife would enjoy these unripe fruits. Pictured on the 27th July 2022.
I don’t ever use any slug or snail pellets, or any deterrents to protect my plants from slugs or snails. There is a Blackbird that visits my garden (called Bob) that forages for slugs and snails. Bob is particularly skilled at cracking open snail shells and banging the snail on the ground and wrestling mollusks out from their shells. Pictured on the 10th August 2022.

To head straight to the next update for my wildlife pond, please click here.

For gardening advice for August, please click here.

To see every update from my wildlife pond, please click here.

Other articles you might like:

One thought on “An Update From My Wildlife Pond in the Drought of Summer 2022!

  1. Barb

    August 12, 2022 at 6:26pm

    Great update, thank you!
    Best wishes
    Barb

    • Author

      Pumpkin Beth

      August 12, 2022 at 6:27pm

      Thank you, Barb! I hope you have a lovely weekend lined up. Best wishes, Beth

Your email will not be published. Name and Email fields are required