Making a mini-pond

I would like to present, da-da da-da Daaaaa!, The Pond Project

(or, indeed as Zeph would like to point out, the watery habitat is just a washing up bowl so we’re not sure it can qualify as a pond.)

The small people consult the plans…

A certain amount of scavenging and a rain drenched trip to a garden centre today have furnished us with most of the necessary stuff;

Four bricks and some moss-covered, three-year old playsand…

Some donated logs from mum’s extensive pile. A couple of thyme plants, an oregano, a salvia. In the white bag is water mint, a very small bit of yellow flag, a bunch of pondweed, and a small oxygenating grassy plant. (Yes, yes – I have lost the tags. They’re all native – that much I remember from the exhausting 40 minutes poring over them.) Oh and a purple light saber. Vital.

Position your old washing up bowl on top of the bricks. There is talk here of getting one short side of the bowl facing south and the other north (obviously) but since we’re limited in space this just went where I put it.

There was quite a lot of discussion from the supervisor about this and some heated consulting of the plans.

 It was resolved with a “because I said so..”

Right, then we packed sand between the bricks for the bowl to sit on. We used the spirit level to try to keep it as straight as possible. Maybe we should have employed it more than once during the process as it did come out a little crooked. Fits in with everything else though.

You need to bank up a mix of sand and soil at the south end and pile logs with a bit of soil at the other. You need more soil than you might think. There are now a few craters around the rest of the garden. We used some of our bit-ier compost at the logpile end. We also kept back a promising branch to put into the bowl as a dragonfly (ha!) perch.

Then you plant some low aromatic bee friendly  plants on the sandy bank and intersperse them with flat stones for basking flies and bees. We used a golden and a common thyme and the oregano. In the soil at the foot of bank I planted the salvia and I plan to put some more nectar rich stuff in here. 

We scattered a mixed seed packet of butterfly friendly annuals as well.

Now we’re getting to the good bit : cover the bottom of the bowl with a generous layer of pond gravel. Leave some for the top of the pots.

Arrange your plants as you will. They should be at the sunny bank end to leave the logpile end free for all the hedgehogs etc that will be falling over themselves to drink at the pool of loveliness. You should also pile up some cobbles in the corner there for wildlife to get in and out. We don’t have any yet and I’ve reassured everyone that they will be able to scramble out via the basking stick and pot plants in the interim. (Wotan help me if they don’t.)

Ah, the VERY best bit, filling it up. I’ve let this can of water stand for a couple of days. The water should clear and settle over the next couple of days.

I think when it rains it’ll overflow which will make the log side nice and damp for toads etc and should just drain away through the sandy bank. We’ll see since it’s raining pretty heavily right now.

The result;

wetland wildlife habitat, and….

happy Zeph. Phew.

Actually this was a lot of fun and not much financial outlay. I think it looks great and I’m feel pretty confident it’s safe for Ida as well. They were both massively  engaged and involved and Zeph just spent an hour with Steve tonight looking up the kind of flies, bugs and beetles it might attract. I’d heartily  recommend it as a family project.

Zeph found it in his Bird life magazine that he gets as part of a young RSPB membership that was a very welcome birthday present from my Aunt. So all round, a brilliant day – I’d like to end it with a photo of the snail Ida found on the bag of sand;

We caught her later putting him into her dolls house. It took a lot of persuading to convince her he’d be happier in the garden. I love all my BT’s.


2 responses to “Making a mini-pond

  1. Great to find your blog about building the pond as I lost the magazine with the instructions in! Was it from the RSPB Kids magazine? Kids will be pleased that we can now build it as part of our spring garden wildlife project. Thanks so much.

    • It was! and very successful – although slightly leafy etc now still good. Z has high hopes for frogs in the spring… We saw loads of insect life there over the summer and an actual dragonfly. We’ve kept adding to the logpile side, basically as I chop stuff down elsewhere and put a couple of bug house there as well. (drilled logs)
      Good luck with the spring project – let us know how it goes 🙂

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