Tuesday 26 April 2016

Pond life

Water works

On a recent open day
When the Folkestone Mills came for Easter little did I realise that they would provide me with two posts for my weekly whim series! Last week dad’s drone. Now Billy’s frogs.
Although my pond is crystal clear - well on a good day when Brenda is not fretting about duckweed or when water soldiers are marching or water bean invading - I am blind to what goes on in the water. When my friend Rowena or Billy visit they always find something interesting. Twelve year old Billy almost pushed my head into the water to make me focus on four salamanders!

If water soldiers were not occasionally dragged out with my scarifier they would take over

The pictures of the frogs and the tadpoles were taken by Steven on his all singing dancing brand new iphone!

My ponds has several unusual features  - even that I have twin ponds together, they are bigger than in most gardens and I dug them out, laid a liner and planted them myself fifteen years ago. They have no modern contraptions such as pumps and filters. They have never been emptied and cleaned. Perish the thought, although I do regularly drag out excess pond weed and Autumn leaves from the water with my scarifier. 

Perhaps I should call this frog island?
My fish are never fed. We have had several attempts with them, each before visits from a heron. In 2014 Peter was clearing out his own pond and gave us a bucketful of goldfish. They promptly disappeared in the water weed and we thought that we had lost them! It was a whole season before they gained enough confidence to swim at the surface. I now seem them basking almost everyday.

I am hoping they will breed this year

 Bulrush in my more formal front garden pond. I will be featuring the cut leaf maple next week

If I might introduce an element of gentle debate. I am a regular and enthusiastic user of glyphosate all year round in my garden. I even use it to manage invasive plants such as glyceria and dwarf bullrush with great success in my ponds. 
I find certain visitors whose heads are full of airy stuff about weedkillers expect my gardens to be sterile! The truth is I have hundreds of frogs, crested newts thrive, my borders team with bumblebees, honey bees and butterflies and the air sings with birdsong.
That’s not to mention the rabbits, the deer and the moles - or the heron!

I love my bog plants

Fritillaria meleagris loves moist soil and self seeds

Some plants have not read the instructions in gardening books and don’t know whether they are a bog plant or an aquatic

I must not forget the snails
Frog life

Links to my previous watery posts


  1. Whenever we have put new fish in our pond they disappear from view for quite a while. You have crested newts, wow. My ears or is it eyesdid prick up though when you mentioned salamanders!

    We once were unfortunate enough to have a heron visit our garden. In our smaller space it was huge. Marty n rushed off to the allotment to get some netting while I stood guard in case it came back. We now have some black strings tied across the pond so that the fish are safer.

    The duckweed is a bit of a nuisance for us too at one time the fish used to eat it but I think they have got bored of it.

    1. The crested newts are repeatedly confirmed when professional ecologists have examined our gardens when local planning developments have been hoping for them not to be found.
      I have used the term salamander as a common name for newts. When Billy used his app to identify one of his pictures it came us as a Silver Salamander. Unfortunately I never got my hands on his picture.
      The duck weed is the bane of Brenda's life but I rather like it.

  2. Both your ponds are really wonderful, like the Lysichiton and Calla in the bog. I love they look so natural and...Steven's iphone photos are brilliant.

  3. Thank you Janneke Lysichitons take a long time to get going. Many years ago I bought a white one and when it eventually came into flower it was the common yellow!

  4. I have mixed feelings about ponds. I love them, but already have way too many midges mozzies and clegs for my liking. The thought of encouraging them any further doesn't appeal to me. I'm thinking of taking up beekeeping just for the outfit!
    Very impressed by your Great Crested Newts, I just went and read the older posts that you have added the links for. I imagine having to interpret the law isn't easy, as how do you define 'disturbing' a newt!!! My experience of ecologists has been that the majority are sane pragmatic intelligent people, but a few are not!

    1. Great crested newts are two a penny in our area and I think legislation has not caught up with the fact that in many parts of the country they are very common. In contrast there are some much rarer newts including some in a near village to us that are not protected and are endangered
      As to the mozzies we do not have a problem. I imagine the fish and the frogs…and the newts keep them in check. On the other hand when Brenda goes to the bottom of the garden where it is quite humid she invariably gets bitten, albeit we have no mosquitoes

  5. Always fancied a pond Roger, but I don't think I could cope with the leaf-fall here, far too enclosed although the garden is wet enough to grow marginals well! There were great clumps of both Lysichitons round the pond at Fletcher Moss Gardens in Didsbury, Manchester last time I was there and they made quite a sight but they are unfortunately getting a bad name as an invasive species particularly in Scotland. Incidently the pond had a large population of terrapins and to add to the exotica the area is now plagued by ring-necked parakeets. Must go and get some pictures to do a post on it one day!

    1. I have only now realised that posts about water gardens are popular Rick!
      Interesting about lysichitons being invasive when mine have taken ten years to make no more than a dozen flowers in total in my three clumps (two clumps in the pond and one clump like yours in just boggy soil) You know my scepticism about so called invasive plants!
      Interestingly enough a friend of mine was restoring a much neglected country estate for a client in Kent and the only herbaceous plant that had survived forty years of complete neglect was a magnificent huge lysichiton.

  6. What are we going to do if the proposed EU ban on glyphosate for garden use is implemented?
    We could I guess vote to leave!

  7. Brian, common sense took over and the European Parliament threw out the idiot proposal by the bureaucrats. They saw what a disaster it would be for food production, the environment and soil health - not to mention their own credibility.
    You have stirred the pot!
    This answer comes in the comment column as the reply function seems to be on the blink!

  8. In the Sunday Telegraph last week I read that the MEPs had passed a non binding resolution that it should be banned for amateur, parks and garden use. Will it only be a question of time?

    1. I fear it might Brian, glyphosate is arguably the safest pesticide ever used. It is a strange world we live in. Better get a good stock in.


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