Michaela Strachan takes us to her small walled garden in the heart of
Bristol, and describes one added feature, which she's particularly proud
Yes at last we've got around to building a pond. It's been on the 'to
do' list for some time now! To be honest
it was my husband who finally got around to getting out the spade and
drawing some plans, with the help of Ian our fabulous gardener.
Anyway, I think the photos prove that even a small courtyard garden
can have a wildlife pond. As I've said before, size is not important when
we're talking ponds! Our country needs more garden ponds, our wildlife
relies on it so any size is valuable.
It all started with a lot of back-breaking digging. We had already drawn
a plan and marked out the exact shape. The design included various habitats,
depths, a few slopes and edges, all-important for wildlife. We then built
a wooden frame around the top of the pond so that the edges would be level.
We removed all the roots, sharp rocks and stones so they didn't puncture
the liner. We packed the bottom with sand and covered it with some old
underlay. The liner was then put down and the pond was filled. During
the filling process
we stretched the liner and folded the creases. It's best to do this during
the filling before the pressure becomes too great. We then folded the
liner around the wooden frame, put a few bricks in and plants, and hey
presto, a lovely garden pond!!
All this was also done for a bargain price. We hired a skip for £100
to get rid of most of the debris. We bought the liner, a pump and oxygenating
native plants all for £200. (It's really important not to buy foreign
invasive oxygenators). Obviously you can spend as little or as much as
you like on the plants, so far we've spent about £80. So it also goes
to show that it's not expensive to build a pond. It does need a bit of
effort but it's definitely worth it.
you want to keep your pond wildlife friendly it's really important to
keep all the plants native and not to introduce foreign fish. The plants
we've put in are: spiked water milfoil, fringed water lily, water crowfoot,
water buttercup and hornwort. No doubt we will put a few more plants in
at a later date. The great thing about ponds is you can evolve them. We
still have to finish the edges and add the pump and water feature, which
will introduce movement into the pond. The water feature is still in the
Another good tip is to add some mud and insects from another established,
native and disease free pond. A friend brought round a jar of beasties
from his pond and added them to ours so it can evolve much quicker.
Already a huge range of insects can be seen in and around the pond, and
we've already seen lots of birds and our squirrel enjoying the benefits.
I would definitely recommend it as an attractive and invaluable addition
to all wildlife gardens.
So stay gardening wild and watery! Michaela xxxx