Planners permitting (!) there's going to be a fair amount of water knocking about around our new house,
and I couldn't wait to get started with the three mini-ponds (around 1.5m across) we wanted which don't need permission. I think it was Pond Conservation's recent pond digging day that got me charging out into the field armed with my spade before the recent rain. Regular readers of this blog will know I just LOVE ponds - their look, their flora and fauna- they're fascinating, and I have no idea why everyone doesn't have one.
They're so easy to make too; I had my three mini-ponds done and dusted in an afternoon. We're lucky because we're on solid clay, so I didn't even have to line one of them.
So far as I understand there are a few golden rules to my sort of pond:
1. Don't dig them too deep. The one without the liner I've dug down to about 1/2 metre at its deepest because the top 20cm of soil won't hold water.
2. Don't fill them with tap water.
3. No fish - they'll eat everything.
4. Be careful what and how you plant. I will only plant natives in my ponds, and very selectively - i.e. nothing that's going to take over. A purist would say wait until the local flora blows in, but I'm an impatient type and like to have some control over how the pond will look - I've got my favourite plants. The aquatic and marginal plants
we sell on the website are widely distributed throughout the UK, so you can't go wrong with them. I also include a boggy area in any pond I dig, which enables me to include plants like Ragged Robin - some of the most beautiful wildflowers we have enjoy the wet. People seem to get in to a pickle when trying to plant on a liner. I don't like pots, so either chuck in some subsoil to use as a growing medium (i.e. nothing nutrient rich), which covers the liner too, or for bigger ponds you could use our pre-planted coir mats.
Having seen Bentomat used for larger pond projects I'd swear by it rather than using a more traditional liner, by the way. One of the reasons I like it so much is that it is so easy to plant on.
For a better guide please look at the Freshwater Habitats Trust site,
which also offers advice on pond problems. It will also help explain what the mini-beasts are which mysteriously start to arrive in your mini-pond within hours of the first rain falling...