Squirrel's Garden

Blogging the highs and lows of my attempts at allotment gardening

Location: Sherwood Forest, United Kingdom

Sunday, July 03, 2011

The Emergence of a Wildlife Pond

The increasing conversion to organic methods of working has seen increasing numbers of native wild life on my Allotment. As a result I have wanted a wildlife pond for some time now, but as my working plan of the plot kept changing so did my thoughts about where to site this proposed addition.

This year the decision was made and by March 31st the pond was dug, lined and filled with water (unfortunately tap water) and standing ready to de-chlorinate and be ready to take some native water plants. I did add a large bucket of water after the first week from a friend’s well established wildlife pond.

Weeding on the plot took a new turn as I identified some plants that I thought would thrive around the pond edges. These were carefully lifted and transplanted where most of them now survive. I am hoping that they will seed themselves for next year. The allotment committee members cut down and dug out the roots of a large elder tree which had not survived the winter. I begged the waste, including the root. The smaller clippings were bundled up and laid in a difficult to access shady corner I had created. The large root was positioned in front of these with one of the longer roots curving over to create a perch for any bird brave enough to want a drink of water.

Because of the harsh winter and unusual weather this year I found lots of native plant suppliers were waiting for stock to move into growth but eventually I got my supply of emergent and submersible plants. The only floater I could get at the time was ivy leafed duckweed, not to be confused with the nuisance duckweed floating on many pond surfaces. Ramshorn and the great pond snails were a gift from my friend’s wildlife pond and they do seem to be re-producing.

Frogspawn was introduced as a result of a silly frog laying its eggs in a shallow tray of water in my home garde, (a result of thawed snow and ice) which was carefully transported to my new pond long before I would have liked to have done so. Because of the lack of much life in the water I did buy daphnia and bloodworms for the emerging tadpoles to feed on.

The water went through several colour changes from pea soup green to a rusty looking brown- green colour and the emerged tadpoles seemed to congregate in their hundred to suck at the green algae now coating the liner. On more than one occasion they almost had me for company as I tiptoed along the narrow planting edges to install yet another eagerly gleaned ‘weed’ carefully excavated from my vegetable beds.

I am happy to report that these tadpoles have survived and many small froglets now stalk the surrounding area, sometimes taking up refuge in the tomato house adjacent to the pond. Also every few days, when the sun is shining there is a pink bloom of activity as the daphnia colony produces yet another few thousand young. The feeding frenzy of the remaining tadpoles makes fascinating watching.

It is now 3 months since the pond was first filled, and what a difference 3 months makes. It is now a thriving area simply buzzing with life. Countless bees are in constant attention to the flowers such as comfrey, feverfew, marigold, sweet-peas, poppies and the many creeping ground cover plants that have taken up residence.

From March 31st to June 30th 2011 My pond has gone from this

To this

I was thrilled to find a dragonfly/damselfly skimming the water on the 30th June. It was there again July 1st. Now all I have to do is find a really good field guide to wildlife in and around water so that I can start pond dipping and recording just what is taking up residence or visiting this little wildlife haven. OH yes! And also move my rhubarb this autumn/winter so that I can have a little more native plant area.


Blogger Grandpa Rob said...

Sheila, you have a wonderful blog site. The garden pond is amazing. Well done for taking so much time to share your journey. Robw. I am trying to use Allotments-Uk.com (which is where I followed your link) but have very little success at joining. Are they still working. If you can help please contact me at robw349@gmail.com Thanks.

6:49 am  
Blogger Grandpa Rob said...

Hi Sheila
What a wonderful blog you have developed. Thank you for sharing your journey. The pond is amazing. I found your link on Allotments-UK.com but have had no luck in joining (nobody gets back to me). Are they still active. If you have any advice could you email me on robw349@gmail.com
Thanks very much

6:52 am  

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