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Creating a garden pond

All Areas > Homes & Gardens > In the Garden

Author: Daniel Hoggins, Posted: Thursday, 23rd November 2023, 09:00

With the pace of the garden slowing down for winter, December is the perfect time to undertake a new project. Creating a pond is a fantastic opportunity to invite more wildlife into your garden.

Whether it is a large pond dug into the ground or a small raised tank, by spring you’ll be sure to see the first pond skaters and diving beetles darting around, having almost magically fallen from the sky without making so much as a splash.

Welcome frogs, toads and newts

If you can dig a pond into your garden then you could welcome frogs, toads and newts to breed. To do this, simply dig a hole however large you wish, making sure that at least one side is sloped so anything that falls in while having a drink, like a hedgehog, can also get back out again. Having some big stones or rocks in the water can also act as a step up.

Cut in shelves along a couple of sides at depths of twenty to forty centimetres from the water’s surface on which to stand your aquatic plants. A few good examples include marsh marigold, flag iris and purple loosestrife. Some plants such as water lilies prefer to be stood in deeper water, and it is essential to add some oxygenating plants like hornwort to aid the pond’s clarity and health.

Invest in a decent pond liner

Invest in a decent pond liner and lay this over your hole in the ground, leaving plenty of excess around all sides. Then it’s time to fill up the pond. The weight of the water will drag the liner down and hold it tight to the edges. When the pond is full, trim the overhanging liner to about twelve inches from the pond’s edge and bury this in the surrounding ground. This will anchor the liner and allow the edge to naturalise.

If space is more of a constraint or if you’d simply rather have a pond closer to your house or on a patio, a raised tank is another fantastic option. Miniature water lilies and plenty of flowering rushes do well in small ponds. Any tub or trough sufficiently big enough that it doesn’t dry out is ideal and can provide an excellent home for beetles and dragonfly larvae, as well as bringing the magic of water to your garden.

Some other jobs in the garden for your consideration this month, before we all can’t move for mince pies, are:

Planting bare root trees and roses. These are always far cheaper than potted plants and are now available through the dormant season.

Pruning apple and pear trees. While doing so, harvest some mistletoe for your decorations.

If you receive any spring bulbs for Christmas, or buy some in the sales, it’s not too late to get them planted. They may flower a little later for the first year but otherwise they will be absolutely fine.

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