I have embarked on a rather major project, and just hope that I won’t have bitten off more than I can chew. The garden needs a pond, to meet the following main requirements:
- maximum wildlife benefit
- not too small
- not necessarily with running water as such
- maintained as far as possible without tap water (note to self: explore whether water could be pumped into the pond from the nearby well)
- deep enough in at least part to provide safety for frogs through the winter
- as natural looking as possible, without copings, and with graduated slopes/beaches for easy bird access
- partly surrounded by bog
The first two pictures are of my front garden. It has several gaps, which are going to be needed shortly. There’s a new Amelanchier lamarckii in there which I planted a couple of months ago, some Sweet Williams, a few small perennials, many bulbs, and a little group of hollyhocks.
Then we have the pond area itself. I cleared it of plants a while ago and saved those that seemed worthwhile. Several roses were in bad shape and had to go. The tree trunk belongs to Betula jacquemontii, around which I hope to grow the Pieris that I saw at Fursdon. The hostas currently there will move to the side and will form the edging for the pond.
The somewhere is shown in the next two pictures, which show a bed which has not yet been properly formed, although it contains a number of plants, many of them worth keeping. These plants have got to be moved and saved, partly to the front garden using up all the available space there, and partly to some beds near the back gate where they can be heeled in for the time being. An awful lot of the greenery in these two photographs is bindweed unfortunately, invading the space with the speed of kudzu, fortunately easy to clear if not to eradicate.
The reason the plants have to be moved, is that this is where the excavated soil is going to go, to make a new bed in the form of a substantial mound. Before I do too much in the way of excavation, I need to dig a trial hole, to see how much depth of soil there is before I reach the clay. I may have to do the excavation in two stages, one to reserve the topsoil, and two to dig out the clay and put that to the mounded bed first, and then put a layer of topsoil on top.
The work has been done so far by me alone, but mercifully my family are going to help with the digging and carting, so my priority for now is to dig up the bed where the mound will be, so that there will be somewhere to take the excavated soil to.
The first plant to go into the pond is to be Nymphaea ‘James Brydon’. Water lilies are said to like full sun, but N. ‘James Brydon’ is known to be tolerant of shade, and certainly the one I had in the pond in Scotland performed really well, in much deeper shade that the pond here is going to enjoy.