New Garden, New Project, New Wildlife Pond!

Since we moved house we’ve been so busy with life, work, and fixing things.  Our heating broke the day after we moved in and temperatures inside our home plummeted for a week during a particularly cold snap this winter; this wiped out a lot of my orchids and houseplants.  Since then I’ve been busy trying to revive and propagate the plants that survived.

It hasn’t rained for about five weeks, which feels like an eternity!  I’m hoping it will rain on Sunday evening so I can start collecting rainwater to fill our new wildlife pond.

This is my new garden! This is the old pond, which was constructed by a previous resident who worked very hard to create a large and very solid fishpond. The pond’s steep sides, the short mown grass around the pond, and lack of planting made this a dangerous area for wildlife to visit. Once in the water, hedgehogs might not be able to get out of the pond and would have been at risk of being trapped in the water and drowning. Young frogs, toads, and news were at risk of being chopped up finely by the lawn mower.

When we moved here our garden was mostly lawn with a large fishpond that wasn’t very wildlife friendly.  The pond had steep sides, which would have made it difficult for visiting wildlife like newts, frogs, toads, and hedgehogs to get into or out of the pond, and the other major problem was that the pond was surrounded by a short mown lawn.

I often see ponds centred in a short lawn that is mown every week or every couple of weeks; I dislike this concept so much because young toads, frogs, newts, and insects are all at risk from being blitzed up and chopped into a million pieces by the lawn mower.  When a pond is surrounded by short grass, visiting wildlife doesn’t have the protection of cover plants or anywhere to shelter around the pond, which means amphibians, insects, and mammals are more vulnerable to predators.

Anyway, the old pond is nothing but a memory now!  Amazingly, my husband (ably assisted by our hardworking friends, Ian, John, and Martin) has dismantled the old pond and removed over five tonnes of concrete that was used to construct the old pond!  We’re in the process of creating a new pond, but the ground is as hard as the cement they removed and so it’s not as easy to sculpt the pond as we would like, and the other problem is that we can’t fill up the pond yet because our water butts are empty.

I’ve still got to get the pond liner and the pond pump and filter as I left all my aquatic plants and equipment in my old pond, back in my old garden.  I will be writing about my new pond – so keep a look out for updates!  Click here to see every article I’ve written about my new wildlife pond.

I haven’t done any of the physical work to remove this pond. My husband and our friends Ian, John, and Martin are the ones who have done all the hard work here. I am very grateful to them. I think, ‘thank you’ a thousand times over, as well as ‘sorry’!

Although we removed the main bamboo plant you can see in the first picture, currently we are busy with the monumentous task of removing all the bamboo plants that spread from runners growing from the main mother plant!  The ground is compacted and set hard from the drought, so it’s quite a challenge.  Certain types of bamboo can be very invasive and will happily take over a garden (and neighbouring gardens), so do think twice and read up on the variety before you plant bamboo.

We’ve not cut our grass since we moved here.  We’ve done Plantlife’s No Mow May and we’re now doing Let it Bloom June.  We’re not planning to cut the grass until later in the year, so we we will also be doing Knee-high July.  We’ve seen all kinds of beautiful flowers in bloom in amongst the grasses in our garden, including dandelions, daisies (Bellis perennis), Vetch, Violets, Forget-me-nots (Myosotis sylvatica), Ox-eye dasies (Leucanthemum vulgare), Lesser Stitchwort (Stellaria graminea), and Bird’s Foot-trefoil (Lotus corniculatus).  This week we were incredibly excited to discover an orchid in our garden!

I was so excited to discover this Common Spotted Orchid (Dactylorhiza fuchsii) growing in amongst the grasses, underneath ferns in our garden.
We’ve only found one orchid so far, but we both hope that we’ll have more orchids growing in our garden in future.

For gardening advice for June, please click here.

Don’t miss my Calendar of Specialist Plant Fairs – here’s a link!

Here’s a link to my Calendar of Rose Garden Openings & Rose themed Events.

Discover my advice for growing a wide range of houseplants, orchids, fruit, vegetables, herbs, annuals, perennials, trees, shrubs, and flowers – discover my plant pages, here.

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One thought on “New Garden, New Project, New Wildlife Pond!

  1. Barb

    June 17, 2023 at 1:13pm

    What an exciting new project! I look forward to discovering how you get on with the new pond – and kudos to the pond diggers, can’t have been an easy job but they look so proud of what they have done.
    Best wishes

    • Author

      Pumpkin Beth

      June 17, 2023 at 1:26pm

      Hello Barb

      It’s great to hear from you. How is your pond and garden doing?

      I am so grateful to the guys for all their hard work. My husband has been working solidly over the past few months, and Ian, John, and Martin have been absolute troopers helping us – we couldn’t have done it without them.

      I hope you’re having a lovely weekend.
      Best wishes

      • Barb

        June 17, 2023 at 5:44pm

        Dear Beth
        Thank you for remembering! Our little pond has suffered a bit in the dry weather, but we have been watching as many, many damselflies have been crawling out of the water onto the iris leaves and breed a future generation. I’ve recently retired, so have a little more time to take things in, and it’s been lovely enjoying the insects in our rather shaggy wildlife friendly garden (lots of inspiration from your blog). Wild flowers seem to flower in the middle of the day, so I’m seeing them blossom en masse! We lost a few plants in the cold and wet winter even here in Bristol, but the rose Ispahan (I think) is better than it’s ever been this year. A common experience perhaps.
        Best wishes

        • Author

          Pumpkin Beth

          June 17, 2023 at 7:06pm

          Oh, that’s so lovely to hear. I am so glad that you can relax and see the plants and wildlife at the best and most vibrant part of the day. Watching damselflies is such an uplifting activity. I love it!

          I don’t have an Isaphan rose in this garden, but I remember the gorgeous scent so clearly.

          I’m so glad that you enjoy reading my blog. I am grateful to connect with you and hear about your experiences.

          Best wishes

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