A pond upgrade
Being a wildlife gardener – that is, I garden in a way which helps wildlife, not that I farm wildlife – it’s important to have some form of water source in my garden. Animals can trundle, flit and scurry through many gardens without the need for food, but having access to drinking water is a vital requirement. It means that all wildlife friendly patches should have a small dish of water at a minimum, and a pond if possible.
My terraced house only has the most miniature of gardens, and with it being so rammed with plants, log piles and chicken coops, there isn’t room for any substantially sized pond. Back in 2010 I created a small watering hole (right) in which passers-by could get a drink. And, yes, the disabled cat did actually fall in – several times!! I quickly found that having such a small pond was a magnet for mosquito’s, so I used a solar powered fountain to create some water movement and bought three goldfish to keep larvae numbers down. Goldfish are NOT ideal for a wildlife pond as they’ll eat much of the insect larvae you’re trying to attract. However, I prefer having them to being bitten by a plague of blood sucking insects.
Having had the watering hole a few years, and now with the sad departure of my manky cat, I’m thinking about upgrading a little. Providing a drinking spot for local wildlife is fantastic, especially when I know there are no other ponds in my strip of houses. And it’s this that’s actually encouraging me to expand. Ponds really are relatively inexpensive, especially if you buy a cheap plastic mould from eBay. Meanwhile, Joe’s Aquatic World have some fantastic, and more importantly, affordable solar pumps which are ideal to use if you don’t want to dabble in electrical wiring. There’s nothing that wibwobs (mosquito larvae) like more than a stagnant pond, and by providing some small agitation to the water, it’ll dissuade these creatures.
I always think it’s amazing how a small and simple pond attracts creatures. There are, of course, the fat and dozy wood pigeons that fly in for a sip, and the passing fox who laps a drink whilst gazing hopefully towards the chicken coop. But I’ve had had frogs appear from goodness knows where, there are pond-skaters and water-boatman who’ve flown in. One of my clients had tiny freshwater shellfish turn up in her pond – god only knows where they came from, and my friend’s recently installed pond already has crustaceans in it. By having a patch of water, you not only add a new dimension to the garden, but encourage any outside space to become even more of a living and breathing oasis. And, I for one, can’t wait to get started on my new and larger pond.