The garden pond

  Quickbeam 11:16 03 Oct 2009

I did a slight expansion of my pond in the spring, along with a new pump and filter. Now I'm surprised at the increase in natural water wildlife that's taken residence and visiting garden birds, so I'm going to double it in size again.

So, should I do it now, or in the spring to cause the least disturbance to the fish and toads that live there now?

  lofty29 11:52 03 Oct 2009

Glad you are enjoying your pond,I am no expert but would have thought that now is the better time, because spring is the breeding season for much of the wildlife, so there would be more disturbance for them if you left it till then. By the way are going going to dig out and add a big new liner or a supplementary pond.

  Quickbeam 12:09 03 Oct 2009

I want to dig out the existing pond to about 10% of the back garden area.

I was thinking now from the point of view, that I want to build up a banked side rockery with the spoil and plant alpines and spring bulbs now, so that by the spring they will be fully ready to cover any bare earth.

  lofty29 12:23 03 Oct 2009

Is your pond stocked or is it a wildlife habitat, if it is stocked dont forget you may have fry from this years breeding and they are a job to spot.

  Quickbeam 13:20 03 Oct 2009

There are some fish, goldfish and comets, but if they've ever produced young, they've been eaten.

On the extension, I will have a shallow area with pond plants where they can survive a bit longer before going into the deep water.

I've never tried very hard with any of it, it just develops naturally fine on it's own, and attracts it's own life that thrives.

  Forum Editor 13:40 03 Oct 2009

the easier it is to look after - it might sound a bit strange, but it's true.

Water volume is everything, as is a varying depth; different creatures live happily at different depths, so your idea of a shallow margin is sound. Just make sure that it isn't too shallow, or you'll have trouble with slimy green algal growth in the summer months.

Now is definitely the right time to set about enlarging the pond - it will give time for everything to settle down for the winter. Lofty29's point about young fish is valid - there will almost certainly be fry if you have more than five of any one fish variety, and they are not easy to spot - you have to sit and watch the pond carefully for some time before you'll see them.

Be careful when forming banks at the side of a pond, plan it so that soil and other detritus can't fall into the water, or be washed there by heavy rain. small ornamental grasses can look very good in these locations, they're easy to grow and maintain, and their roots will act as binders. Try some pink astilbe along the margin - they like moist conditions, and the pink flowers are stunning, I have big swathes of them around my own pond. The one to get is Astilbe ardensii, and plant it in early spring.

  lofty29 14:12 03 Oct 2009

You will have a hard time as FE said in spotting the fry, they are initially black, to help them survive, and will be hidden in the weed and under any water lillies if you have any, I have quite a few this year but they are very hard to see, my pond is appox 12x8, and I built a pergola over it which is covered with climing plants to provide shade in order to cut down on the sunlight, a pond is a wonderful thing and will give you many hours of enjoyment, let it do its own thing for the most part.

  Quickbeam 09:45 04 Oct 2009

The spade will be unsheathed tomorrow then.

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