Prepare for autumn with pond maintenance

At this time of year, there’s little time to actually stop and watching the changing leaves and ripening berries. In the garden, it’s all go, from dead-heading and cutting back, to sowing hardy annuals for next year and preparing your Christmas veg. It’s also a time when you need to pay extra attention to any pools or ponds you may have to ensure they remain fresh instead of an eyesore.

Quirky water sculptures bring fun to gardens

Quirky water sculptures bring fun to gardens

I LOVE water in a garden, and really feel that no space should be without it. As soon as you mention the word water, people assume you need a great pond, but that’s not the case at all. In fact, with my current postage stamp garden, I simply have a thick plastic tub, little larger than a standard tub trug. It’s buried into the earth so it’s flush with the surface, and is home to a flag iris, some oxygenating weed and a couple of fish….and the occasional frog. It works ideally as a drinking pool for passing birds and mammals, and though in a true wildlife pond you wouldn’t ordinarily keep fish, these two keep the mosquito larvae away. But even if you don’t want a pool, there are many water features you can install which don’t actually have any open water at all. For instance, you can have a fountain covered in rocks so you get the delicate trickling sound without constant maintenance other than checking the pump’s working. There are also large and ornate water statues to create the ‘wow‘ factor in any garden and these can be used in small bodies of water.

Still, if you have a large enough space, then I for one (I don’t have kids and my dog can swim), would always have an open pond. As well as a gardener, I’m also an avid animal lover; there’s two cats, a dog, a tank of tropical fish, pond fish, chickens, finches and a vivarium of poison dart frogs….and that’s in a two up, two down, middle of terrace in London! Even if you don’t keep fish, then ponds need an overhaul every five to 10 years depending on their size as silt, dead leaves and plant material collect on the bottom and gradually reduce your beautiful water to a muddy bog. At this time of year, even if it’s the least you do, I’d;

A well landscaped pond opens the possibility of new plants

A well landscaped pond opens the possibility of new plants

  • Swathe a pond in netting to catch falling leaves. You can reduce the build up of muck on the bottom by preventing autumn leaves falling into the water. Whilst you can scoop them off at a later stage, it’s far easier to use netting.
  • Trim lilies and move them out of harms way. If you have a large space, as the weather cools, trim leaves down to the crown and ensure plants are deep enough that they’re able to avoid surface freezes.
  • Thin out marginal plants. I like seeing a pond surrounding with greenery, and it helps wildlife too, offering a secure place whilst finding a drink. BUT, you don’t want plant material to die in the water. As growth stops and flowers fade, it’s a good idea to thin plants, remove old foliage and give everything room to breathe a little. Then, in spring, you’ll see more vibrant life as the growing season gets underway again.
  • Scoop out some bottom sludge. Over time, regardless of what you do, silt and muck will build up. At this time of year, before it’s cold and fish have descended to the lower levels of a pond, scoop some of the dead material out. Leave it on the edge of a pond to allow small creatures to worm their way back into the water, before using on the compost heap or borders.
  • Consider installing a pond filter. Pond filters can be extremely advantageous for keeping the water clear, reducing the amount of pond maintenance and having happy fish. Swell UK have some great discounts on equipment so you don’t have to spend a huge amount of money if you can’t afford it.

If you’re looking for a little project (I know, ALL garden extravagances seem to start as LITTLE projects), then think about bringing water into the garden. It adds another dimension, a layer of interest and creates an entire new world of plants and creatures to explore too.

One Response to Prepare for autumn with pond maintenance

  • Wendy Steele says:

    I have just found your site whilst googling “quirky water features for ponds” and the pink tap in the photo is to die for, it’s just brilliant. But you don’t say where it can be bought.
    Please can you let me know where I could get one and how much it is as I don’t do boring and that is just perfect.
    Many thanks

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I'm Geoff, and I'm a plant hoarder.

Like magpies collect bright shiny things, I can't resist plants. An exquisite flower, soft ferny foliage or a beautiful majestic tree - I love them all!

Here, I'll indulge in all things flora and share my passion. Join me as I develop my garden and hoard more plants without apology.