An Update From My Wildlife Pond in Autumn
Hello and welcome to my wildlife pond – it’s lovely to be able to share my pond with you and show you around! Since my last update, my wildlife pond is now looking more autumnal; the plants in this area of my garden are draining the energetic green tones from their foliage and starting to display a few yellow leaves as they gently let us know that autumn has arrived.
Protecting Dragonflies & Damselflies in my Wildlife Pond Over the Autumn and Winter Months
I haven’t touched any of my aquatic plants since my last update. My advice is to go against traditional gardening advice which advises us to remove the fading leaves of aquatic plants at this time of year and neaten everything up by stripping some of the vital ingredients wildlife need for survival from the pond. I totally disagree with this recommendation – it is vitally important to leave aquatic plants’ foliage alone until early springtime. Dragonflies and damselflies continue laying their eggs in autumn and their larvae will develop during this time.
I’ve observed dragonflies laying their eggs on the decaying foliage in my pond. I want to help these stunningly beautiful creatures and protect their future generations, I have no wish to remove their eggs or prevent egg-laying opportunities. My advice is to leave your pond alone throughout the autumn and winter months, and save any tasks until February or March.
Create Safe Spaces for Hibernating Frogs, Toads, Newts, & Other Wildlife
In fact, we can protect all manner of wildlife by leaving our ponds alone in autumn. Many creatures will be hibernating through the autumn and winter months and we have no desire to harm or disturb them. Toads and frogs hibernate in fallen autumn leaves, log piles, under hedges, in compost heaps and mud, rockeries, and stone piles. A couple of years ago, we built a stone cairn by our wildlife pond, which we filled with sticks and autumn leaves (see picture above) to create a safe habitat for hibernation.
Take Time to Relax with Nature
I spotted a Wren this morning in amongst the Ivy (Hedera helix) and then I observed another Wren on the fence; Wrens are such pretty birds. The leaves of the Ivy hedge by my wildlife pond shimmer as sheltering birds move around in safety, hidden inside the hedge. Ivy is a precious plant, it provides a safe hiding, nesting, and feeding space for all manner of our garden birds, including Blackbirds, Sparrows, Blue Tits, Robins, Great Tits, and Coal Tits.
My wildlife pond is now full of rainwater. The pond water is crystal clear and beautiful; the waterfall at the back of the pond is a popular bathing location for birds. This is such a calming place; it’s just so relaxing to spend time watching bees and the occasional butterfly around the ivy, as well as being entertained by the antics of our garden birds!
Algae & Duckweed
There is no visible algae in our wildlife pond at the moment; the water is crystal clear. However, we do have a sprinkling of duckweed through our pond. The duckweed hasn’t cloaked the pond – it is not enough to cause any problems for the other aquatic plants.
Duckweed has the benefit of providing a safe landing space for bees, hoverflies, and wasps that fly in for a drink. If you’ve got a pond in your garden, ensure that you have a variety of places where bees, butterflies, and other pollinating insects have safe access to drink. Remember that these insects can’t swim and so they need to drink from shallow water and find safe landing spaces.
Myosotis scorpioides alba is the only aquatic plant that’s currently still in flower in my wildlife pond. My aquatic plants look their best and bloom from spring until the end of summer or early autumn (from March until September).
I don’t use any slug pellets or any deterrents for slugs and snails in my garden. Slugs and snails are an important part of the food chain and are predated upon my frogs, toads, newts, thrushes, blackbirds, and other birds and wildlife.
I filmed this video of the Hedera helix by my wildlife pond on a cool, overcast day in mid September 2022, when there were just a few tiny Hedera helix flowers open.
The ‘Strawberry Hill’ roses growing by my wildlife pond have such a sweet scent!
Hedera helix is such a darling plant. I feel Ivy is an essential plant for any garden.
‘Strawberry Hill’ roses are very floriferous. I cut back these roses fairly hard in the summer – not something I’d usually do but it worked and revitalised these roses for the remainder of the summer months. My ‘Strawberry Hill’ roses have been a delight this autumn!
Hedera helix brings an understated beauty to my wildlife pond. If you don’t have ivy in your garden, you are missing out!
In May and June, the first flowers from my ‘Strawberry Hill’ roses are double and their pollen is hidden from view by their petals. However, the later flowers in July, August, September, and October produce accessible flowers and bees can access their pollen.
I grow a number of rhubarb varieties in my garden. Rhubarb stems tastes amazing, but it’s an attractive plant, too. Rhubarb leaves are poisonous – so don’t eat them, but the leaves make fantastic compost.
Symphyotrichum novae-angliae is a vigorous plant with flowers that are popular with bees, butterflies, and other pollinating insects. I love bees, butterflies, moths, and hoverflies, and I adore growing plants that these insects will visit.
Verbena bonariensis is such a floriferous and useful plant with an extended flowering season. Everyone has room for this stunning plant in their garden!
Symphyotrichum novae-angliae ‘Andenken an Alma Pötschke’ is a vigorous perennial with vivid pink flowers.
Symphyotrichum novae-angliae is a totally resilient and drought tolerant plant that thrives in my garden’s sandy soil.
For more gardening advice for October, please click here.
For more articles about wildlife gardening, please click here.
For gardening advice for November, please click here.
To see every update from my wildlife pond, please click here.