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OUT IN THE GARDEN: Creating an interesting pond

By Spalding Today Columnist

Following my marching orders from my nearest and dearest to tidy the pond just over a month ago I feel now I’m ready to start on stage two.

I remember the thought of tidying the pond was worse than the actual physical work involved. However a month on from that task I now want to add to the pond plants and create a little bit of interest with some fish in the pond. My little dog Teddy is going to have a fit when he sees what I have in mind.

Summer is definitely on its way and the water temperature is rising steadily from week to week in line with the amount of daylight we are receiving. The downside to this is that algae and weed can quickly thrive and take hold of the pond, turning it into thick green goo.

Water lillies (11297904)
Water lillies (11297904)

The natural way to keep your pond water clear is to shade two thirds of the water with plants and a great plant for doing this is water lilies. Also into the mix you need to sink plenty of oxygenating plants.

The idea is that this combination of plants will take the rich nutrients out of the water and starve the algae of food.

Firstly, I take an aquatic plant basket which is just like a plant pot crossed with a colander. Into the bottom of your aquatic basket add a generous handful of aquatic compost and pop your oxygenating plants into this compost. Most oxygenating plants have weights around their stems to help them sink to the bottom; however I like to give them the best possible start in these baskets. Gently lower your plants into the pond.

Water lilies, which I shall use to provide shade, need a little more effort to get them off to a good start. Lilies need to be gradually lowered into your pond, getting deeper week on week. It is important to seek advice from an expert like Graham from Baytree before purchasing a lily as the size and depth of the pond will play an important factor in deciding what size of lily to opt for.

My pond is about eight feet wide and two feet deep in its deepest part. Following Graham’s advice I opted for a medium sized lily. Into the pond where I want my lily to grow I placed an upturned plastic crate onto which I sat the lily.

This allowed the plant's leaves to sit on the water’s surface. As the weeks go on and the plant grows I will replace the crate with ever smaller crates or whatever I have to hand. The aim is to ensure that every time you lower the lily that the leaves are not submerged and sit on the surface of the water. After a few weeks the plant should be sufficiently large enough for it to be at its final depth of two feet with the lily floating resplendently on the surface.

I now need to head off and do some light reading on how to keep fish in a pond. Kettle’s on, digestives are on the table, and 'How to Keep Fish for Beginners' is open on chapter one.

See you next week.


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