We wanted to attract more wildlife into our small garden. The children are so interested in spotting the different bugs, and visitors to the garden and we all wanted a way to attract more.
The main thing missing from our garden was some sort of water. We had an old barrel in our back garden that we used for planting, but it was in a shady spot, so we decided to change it’s purpose in life! We have sawn the barrel in half, and one half is the home to a dwarf plum tree and the other half became our small pond.
We have sunk it in the ground, and lined it with pond liner, and its butted up on two sides to the gardening beds, which are a mix of flowers and vegetables. Obviously the beds are straight and the barrel is round so there are gaps which we have filled in with wood and large stones, although we need to find a few more. The nooks and cranies these provided got inhabited pretty much straight away by various bugs, spiders etc.
We filled the pond with collected rain water from the water butt, and it probably stood for a week as well while we decided on which plants to order and wait for them to arrive.
Once positioned and filled we had to plant it up. This took us a while to try and research which plants met our criteria of appealing to wildlife, attractive to look at, preferably a British native and suitable for a small pond.
We eventually found Puddleplants whose website was easy to use and it gave us all the information we wanted in one place. So we decided to order from them. The plants came quickly, despite it being a busy time for them, and they all looked in lovely condition.
I think we may have been a bit generous with our planting, as we picked 5 different plants, they all seemed lovely, and we had trouble deciding! We wanted an oxygenator, a coverer/deep water and a couple of marginals. We ended up getting Starwort for our oxygenator, Fringe lily for the deep water, and ended up with three marginals as we just couldn’t decide between them! Flowering rush, Marsh marigold and Purple loosestrife. We may not have met the suitable for a small pond criteria!
Some of these are prolific growers but I’m hoping the pond size may restrict their growth a little, and we can always redivide and make sure the individual plants don’t get too big year after year. If all else fails, plan B is required, the pond is dynamic and we can change it and adapt. This tends to be my gardening style anyway, and it’s worked so far, and I do love to cram as much as possible in!
I know in certain parts of the world the Purple Loosestrife is seen as invasive and it’s a prolific seeder. However we have chosen to grow it as it is a British native, it is attractive to various wildlife, and I think it looks pretty and it’s tall so will add height to the garden planting. Also a big bonus for me and this may sound shallow, is it’s colour I just love purple.
So all five plants have been planted up in special pond compost, and are in the pond. The Starwort, Fringe lily and Flowering rush are directly on the bottom at about 45cm depth, the other two are on a shelf (upturned pot with a tray on with their two pots in) at about a 10cm depth. Now we just have to watch and wait for them to spring into life.
I’m hugely excited, as is my way. I’m looking forward to see what it actually looks like once it’s all grown up, and to see what wildlife we can attract. The children would like some visiting frogs, and for them to spawn would be great, obviously next year now. There is something wonderful watching this cycle happening before your eyes, watching all the stages, and the children have an enthusiasm for this too. They are also keen to see damselflies visiting and some water insects too.
On my hunt for information I found this fantastic PDF document about dragon and damsel flies We will definitely be referring back to this when any appear in our garden to see if we can identify them.
So for now all we can do is watch and wait, as the year goes on. The photo to the left is how it looks now, newly planted. I will be back with updates and more photos.