An Update from my Wildlife Pond in Winter
Hello and welcome to my wildlife pond in winter. We’ve had a light sprinkling of snow here in Surrey just a few moments ago, which was very exciting!
Since my last update, my wildlife pond has changed considerably as the plants’ foliage has died back and retreated. What once was a lush, leafy sanctuary is still just as important a refuge for wildlife, but this area is now resting until springtime.
I’ve not carried out any work in this area of my garden since my last pond update. In fact, I’ve not touched any of the plants in this area of my garden for a long time. I allow all my plants to die back naturally and I leave almost all of the autumn leaves in my garden alone (read more about what to do with fallen autumn leaves in this article).
No work is needed here by my wildlife pond until springtime, when the faded foliage of the aquatic plants and the herbaceous perennials growing in the narrow border around the pond can be cut back and removed. I tend to do this just before the new growth emerges, it doesn’t take long.
Frogs, toads, and newts will be hibernating in our gardens now, along with hedgehogs, butterflies, moths, and other wildlife.
I’ve left my aquatic plants alone to die back naturally in my pond. I won’t touch any of my aquatic plants until springtime. All of the plants I’m growing in my pond are fully hardy, they will have no problem surviving the bitterly cold temperatures this weekend.
This pretty aquatic plant you see pictured above is Myosotis scorpioides alba – an absolute darling of our wildlife pond! This white flowered form is harder to find than the regular, blue-flowered water forget-me-not, which is also known by the botanical name Myosotis scorpiodes.
My waterfall you see in these pictures is the same waterfall that I installed when this pond was created in 2019. Since April 2019, I’ve been trialling the following products, in my wildlife pond:
I’ve used a Oase AquaMax Eco Premium 10000 pump to power this small waterfall that circulates the water through the pond. This waterfall has worked fantastically! I’ve not experienced any problems with any of the Oase products I’ve used – I’ve found them to be easy to use, effective products.
My Oase AquaMax Eco Premium 10000 pump generates the movement of the waterfall; it’s this movement that has so far prevented the water in this area of the pond from freezing over. If you’ve got a pond, you can keep an area of open water that’s available to wildlife simply by using a ping-pong ball – leave the ball floating on the surface of the water. The ball will naturally bob up and down on the water, and it’s this continual movement that helps prevent the water freezing over. Using a floating ball in this way would also work to prevent bird baths (or bowls of water left out for wildlife) from freezing solid.
This friendly Robin is perched upon the ‘Wild Edric’ rose that I planted near our wildlife pond. This rose is an established plant, in the summertime this rose is full of beautiful flowers with the most exquisite and intoxicating perfume. ‘Wild Edric’ is definitely one of my favourite roses!
Ivy is also known by its botanical name – Hedera helix. If you’re looking to create a wildlife garden I’d recommend planting Hedera helix in your garden; this is a wonderful plant for wildlife!
I can’t stop writing about Hedera helix; I love this plant so much!
Before the cold weather arrived this weekend, I was still spotting a few Lonicera periclymenum flowers in the garden.
The ‘Strawberry Hill’ roses by the wildlife pond have been blooming intermittently all year from May to December. If you’re looking for a climbing rose with a powerful fragrance, this is one to consider. ‘Strawberry Hill’ roses boast an exceptionally sweet perfume, which fills this area of my garden with scent on warm summer days.
I am head over-heels in love with Ivy (Hedera helix)! Find more information about this stunning plant by clicking here.
It was only a week or two ago that I was enjoying the scent of Hesperis matronalis var. albiflora flowers, but the cold weather has now extinguished the last of their blooms.
My Rhubarb plants add a lush leafy vibe to my wildlife pond in summertime, but the icy weather has now knocked these plants back, leaving them looking limp and lifeless. This is totally natural, there is nothing whatsoever wrong with this rhubarb plant – it will retreat into the earth now, but will grow back to delight us again next spring!
NB: Never cut back rhubarb stems, always leave the stems and leaves to die back in autumn and winter. In spring and summertime, rhubarb stems should be pulled, not cut. I stop harvesting most of my rhubarb plants in June (I also grow late-harvesting rhubarb varieties, which can be harvested after June), to ensure the plants have energy to grow back next year. When harvesting rhubarb during the growing season, I pull and twist each stem, carefully removing the rhubarb stems one at a time. I never advocate stripping a rhubarb plant – I always leave several stems and leaves growing on the plant to allow the plant to maintain its strength and sustain itself through photosynthesis.
I adore growing and eating rhubarb! If you fancy growing rhubarb in your garden then I’d advise ordering rhubarb crowns now to plant over winter, whilst the plants are dormant. When planting new rhubarb crowns, I wait until the ground isn’t frozen and I mulch around the rhubarb crown after planting using homemade garden compost or peat-free compost. I always leave the plants to establish themselves; I don’t harvest any rhubarb during the first year after planting. Rhubarb harvesting commences during the second year after planting.
For more gardening advice for December, please click here.
For more articles about wildlife gardening, please click here.
To see every update from my wildlife pond, please click here.