Irish Gardeners Forum Home
 FAQFAQ   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups   RegisterRegister 
 ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 
Custom Search
   
Weather Report /
Moon Phase for Ireland

Post new topic   Reply to topic    Irish Gardeners Forum Home -> Water features in Ireland, including all aspects of water gardening.

My Wildlife Pond


Goto page 1, 2  Next  
Most Recent Posts oops
Last post: Margo
funny
Last post: Margo
2016 Vegetable quizz.
Last post: Margo
Skimmia seed wanted
Last post: Brendankearns
 
Visit TheGardenShop.ie
Author Message
Good guy
Rank attained: Chlorophyll for blood


Joined: 11 Feb 2013
Posts: 2356
Location: Donegal

PostPosted: Sun Oct 13, 2013 7:25 am    Post subject: My Wildlife Pond Reply with quote

The Pond.

I had toyed with the idea of making a pond for years; thought of various possible locations and styles - formal, informal, 'designery', naturalistic, for fish, wildlife etc.
The site played a large part in my thinking. The ornamental part of the garden is on a NW facing slope, with the house on the upper ground and there are quite a few trees about. I wondered how to deal with the slope, especially as it goes two ways: from front to back and from side to side. Access, even for a mini digger, was highly problematic. And I didn't have a lot of money to spend. I read up what literature I could find in the local library and relevant sections of my own books, bought Dr Hessayon's book and consulted the Web.

I concluded that I would build the pond as follows:
For wildlife (no fish)
Contain only native, non-invasive plants
Informal, naturalistic style
Located in lower part of garden (a place to explore to)
Have no lights, pump, filter etc (be self-sustaining)
Overflow naturally into boggy planting
Have seating nearby
Be a refuge/quiet place for me and somewhere children could see nature's diversity.

Once those decisions were made, the rest was relatively straight forward. I organised someone to help with the heavy work as I knew I couldn't do it all. I found it impossible to make a detailed design before beginning, as it was very hard, given the slopes in two directions, to predict just how an excavation would work out. I did know that I wanted it to be roughly kidney/oval in shape, with one deep end and a shallow end (like the bowl of a spoon, in longitudinal cross-section).

Construction started in early summer, 2011. Having removed a golden alder that was in the way, I marked out the outline with a hose and then pegs and the digging began. And went on. And on. By the end of day two the hole for the pond was complete, including a shelf round the edge of the deeper part, for marginal plants. I took a lot of trouble trying to get the edges level all round. It was about 3.5 metres long, 2 wide and about 60cms deep. And it looked awful!

The problem was with the surrounding ground - it would need extensive re-shaping to make the pond look less like a quarry in the side of a hill. So over the next week I gradually modified the surrounding ground until I had gradients that looked more natural and that would allow reasonable access. I located a source of local stone suitable for making the edges and to retain the ground on the steeper side.

Completing the pond took two more days, again with help. I spread sand over the bottom and up the sides and then lined the hole with some old carpet, which was tricky to fit. We placed the butyl liner over the hole and used large stones to secure it temporarily and then followed the filling instructions to be found in any textbook. I used mains water, having no other convenient source and not being patient enough to wait for rain to do the job - even in Donegal that would take too long! I placed some of the subsoil from the excavation into the deep end to provide a growing medium and to make some mud for critters that like that sort of thing. The shallower part I lined with river gravel from a local concrete works -pebbles from 15 to 30mm. The water cleared in a few days. Making a stable stone edging to hide and secure the liner, once I had trimmed it, was not easy as I'm no expert as dry-stone walling, but eventually I was reasonably happy with the result.

I hadn't been able to find a source of suitable plants in Ireland - most stockists seemed to have species chosen for aesthetic reasons rather than native wildlife so I eventually ended up getting mine from a nursery in Leicestershire. I know they are not Irish, but they are the right species.(Since then I have found there are some Irish suppliers of suitable material.) Planting was straightforward as I left potted items in their pots and just chucked the floaters in. Like when planting up a new bed, there seemed to be very little planting for what I had spent, but nature has seen to that, of course.

Other than planting up the sides with marginals (mostly sourced from within the garden) and seeing to the seat and a bit of a path, that was it. One thing I did that I regret, was taking a 300cl bottle of water from an established, healthy pond, to 'seed' my own with some basic wild life. In hindsight, it would have been more interesting to have been patient and waited to see what would have arrived naturally - there were mosquito larvae in the water within a few days, well before my seeding effort.

So far, maintenance has been simple. The water-level fluctuates naturally with the weather. If I lived in a drier part of the country I would consider storing some rainwater to top up with if absolutely necessary. But real natural ponds do fluctuate a lot. I did regularly remove most fallen leaves last autumn, with a net - it is too awkward to put netting over the whole thing. In the first summer I removed quite a lot of algae, but despite the warm summer, it wasn't a bother this year. I presume the pond plants are doing their work effectively - this summer they covered about a third of the surface area. Some of the marginals have spread into the water, which is good, but I'll need to make sure they don't cause a problem when they die back later in the year, at the same time as I prune back old growth on the plants that grow right out in the pond.

Frogs took up residence immediately - there are always some in the garden, anyway. Most afternoons there are a couple of them relaxing on the lily leaves, legs crossed at the ankle, reading the Pondish Times. There are at least two kinds of snails, pond skaters, whirligig beetles, water boatmen, small diving beetles and probably the greater diving beetle (I found several of its larvae). There are also umpteen other smaller creatures, most of which I haven't identified - it is teeming with life! One early visitor I was delighted to see was a brilliant blue damsel fly. Birds often bath in the shallow end, which is fun to watch.

So it works on all counts. I would like it to be bigger but that would be difficult, given the shape and slope of my garden. I'm considering a small, formal pond closer to the house, but I need to run that one past the Financial Director first.

If any of you out there are thinking about making a pond, go for it. It's not rocket science! Just decide carefully what you want from it, what you are prepared to spend and do the research.



image.jpg
 Description:
 Filesize:  859.51 KB
 Viewed:  6933 Time(s)

image.jpg


Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Good guy
Rank attained: Chlorophyll for blood


Joined: 11 Feb 2013
Posts: 2356
Location: Donegal

PostPosted: Sun Oct 13, 2013 7:29 am    Post subject: My pond Reply with quote

More pics


image.jpg
 Description:
 Filesize:  820.46 KB
 Viewed:  6928 Time(s)

image.jpg


Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Good guy
Rank attained: Chlorophyll for blood


Joined: 11 Feb 2013
Posts: 2356
Location: Donegal

PostPosted: Sun Oct 13, 2013 7:30 am    Post subject: My pond Reply with quote

More pics


image.jpg
 Description:
 Filesize:  823.64 KB
 Viewed:  6925 Time(s)

image.jpg


Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Good guy
Rank attained: Chlorophyll for blood


Joined: 11 Feb 2013
Posts: 2356
Location: Donegal

PostPosted: Sun Oct 13, 2013 7:31 am    Post subject: My pond Reply with quote

More pics


image.jpg
 Description:
 Filesize:  533.57 KB
 Viewed:  6922 Time(s)

image.jpg


Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Good guy
Rank attained: Chlorophyll for blood


Joined: 11 Feb 2013
Posts: 2356
Location: Donegal

PostPosted: Sun Oct 13, 2013 7:32 am    Post subject: My pond Reply with quote

More pics


image.jpg
 Description:
 Filesize:  675.53 KB
 Viewed:  6919 Time(s)

image.jpg


Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Good guy
Rank attained: Chlorophyll for blood


Joined: 11 Feb 2013
Posts: 2356
Location: Donegal

PostPosted: Sun Oct 13, 2013 7:33 am    Post subject: My pond Reply with quote

More pics


image.jpg
 Description:
 Filesize:  642.56 KB
 Viewed:  6915 Time(s)

image.jpg


Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Good guy
Rank attained: Chlorophyll for blood


Joined: 11 Feb 2013
Posts: 2356
Location: Donegal

PostPosted: Sun Oct 13, 2013 7:34 am    Post subject: My pond Reply with quote

More pics


image.jpg
 Description:
 Filesize:  756.29 KB
 Viewed:  6911 Time(s)

image.jpg


Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Good guy
Rank attained: Chlorophyll for blood


Joined: 11 Feb 2013
Posts: 2356
Location: Donegal

PostPosted: Sun Oct 13, 2013 7:35 am    Post subject: My pond Reply with quote

More pics


image.jpg
 Description:
 Filesize:  570.8 KB
 Viewed:  6908 Time(s)

image.jpg


Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Good guy
Rank attained: Chlorophyll for blood


Joined: 11 Feb 2013
Posts: 2356
Location: Donegal

PostPosted: Sun Oct 13, 2013 7:35 am    Post subject: My pond Reply with quote

More pics


image.jpg
 Description:
 Filesize:  591.18 KB
 Viewed:  6905 Time(s)

image.jpg


Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Good guy
Rank attained: Chlorophyll for blood


Joined: 11 Feb 2013
Posts: 2356
Location: Donegal

PostPosted: Sun Oct 13, 2013 7:42 am    Post subject: My pond Reply with quote

More pics.
The reason I am doing this as separate posts is because the appropriate field on the web page will only accept one picture at a time. If I attempt to insert a second one, it substitutes it for the first. There is no CTRL button on an iPad. I am using IOS 7, not using Microsoft Works.



image.jpg
 Description:
 Filesize:  807.65 KB
 Viewed:  6900 Time(s)

image.jpg


Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Sive
Rank attained: Chlorophyll for blood


Joined: 18 Apr 2008
Posts: 1731
Location: Co.Wexford

PostPosted: Sun Oct 13, 2013 8:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good morning Good Guy......what a lovely start to a Sunday morning...just sitting here reading your wonderful description of how you made a pond. You are absolutely right that the biggest hurdle is in one's head....and you know, you're also right..... about it not being rocket science. It's strange, as my gardening has become less and less about control and more about nature, as I get older.....but because I have never made a pond before, I suppose i don't understand that it will be nature doing most of the work there as well.
All I can say to you is that you're inspirational and I'll be thanking you if and when I take the big step.
What I also love is that your wish-list is identical to mine so I'll be printing your post and using it as a guide. I'll buy the Hessayon book...I have many others of his and they are full of simple good advice.
And maybe you could give us the name/s of irish suppliers of native aquatic plants in your next post ?
I'm getting no younger, no point putting these things off, and the grandchildren are at the right age too.......
Thank you for your lovely post.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Good guy
Rank attained: Chlorophyll for blood


Joined: 11 Feb 2013
Posts: 2356
Location: Donegal

PostPosted: Sun Oct 13, 2013 10:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry, Sive, I can't remember - I didn't take that much notice as I already had my plants.
However, there were some good ponds at Bloom, maybe that's where I saw references to suppliers. I've dumped the bumf I brought home! Ponds that stand out in my memory were by:
Gerard Mullen, Dungarvan, ( not too far from you) 086 6023284, and
Leonie Cornelius, Fivemilebourne, Co Leitrim, 087 7552159.
Perhaps either of them could point you in the right direction.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Sive
Rank attained: Chlorophyll for blood


Joined: 18 Apr 2008
Posts: 1731
Location: Co.Wexford

PostPosted: Sun Oct 13, 2013 4:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you Good guy.....I'm sure I'll find the right people if.....no....WHEN i make my pond !!! I'll do my research over the winter and all going well start the process in the spring. I'm really looking forward to it now.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
michelle M
Rank attained: Rowan Tree
Rank attained: Rowan Tree


Joined: 10 Feb 2009
Posts: 145
Location: Limerick

PostPosted: Mon Oct 14, 2013 10:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow, it looks great. I'm envious-I'm another thinking about doing a pond, but keep putting it off. Your description makes it sound so do-able. I was put off by thoughts of filters, algaes & loads of upkeep etc
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
kindredspirit
Rank attained: Chlorophyll for blood


Joined: 10 Nov 2008
Posts: 2026
Location: Mid-west.

PostPosted: Mon Oct 14, 2013 2:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Beautiful, beautiful pond, Good Guy. That's really good. Very natural.

Michelle, don't worry about the maintenance: there's less maintenance per square yard with a pond than there is with an "earth" garden. I never change my filters; just the UV bulbs every year in them.

_________________
.
.
.
.
A little garden in Co. Limerick.Some non-gardening photographs.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Irish Gardeners Forum Home -> Water features in Ireland, including all aspects of water gardening. All times are GMT
Goto page 1, 2  Next
Page 1 of 2

 

Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum
You can attach files in this forum
You can download files in this forum


Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2005 phpBB Group

Privacy Policy | Copyright © 2006 - 2016 IrishGardeners.com (part of GardenPlansIreland.com)