The Story of Our Pond

Our pond is now featured on the Institute of Garden Design's web site.
This is what we started with in 2000 - a wild flower garden that really lived up to its description! We had a lot of clearing up to do but at least we have some beautiful poppies and nigella springing up in the strangest places in the garden which I can only assume come from this source.
As usual we had drawn the plans on graph paper before we started (Shirley is never happier than when she is "designing") and had measured everything up both in inches and cms.
Tony and his team set to work and started to dig the hole. All the soil had to be taken out of the garden by hand in wheelbarrows as there was no way we could get a mini-digger down the garden.
To give you some idea of size - the pond is approximately 9 ft wide and 20ft long. It is about 3ft 6" deep although this varies depending where you are in the pond!
The pond seemed to take forever to fill up with water and we were dreading the Thames Water bill (we are metered here) but it wasn't too bad in the end.
Tony very kindly donated some irises and the pond-skaters soon moved in. Jonathon's Mum gave us an umbrella plant which seems to have settled in and is starting to take over (she warned us it was a thug!).
Our next "design" was the fountain. Shirley's original design was taken by Pete Wheeler and made into a workable format (she never was very technically minded) then made up in copper and brass. Of course, Pete didn't come and put it in place so Jonathon had that dubious task!
The fish arrived - 21 of them to begin with and I finally managed to get a picture of some of them for this page. We've got 1 black one, 2 yellow ones, a couple of 2 coloured ones and the rest are orange - all goldfish type fish - nothing fancy as far as we know!
The frog (see picture at the top of the page) keeps guard and the fish seem quite good at diving for cover if they hear anything or there's a shadow over their pond but recognise that our shoes crunching on the gravel at the side of the pond may mean food so they come up and have a quick look when they hear us.
We bought 2 lillies - one pink and one yellow. Again, Jonathon had to get in the pond on a regular basis to gently lower them but they are now on the bottom and established and appear to be thriving. We understand from our neighbours that the flowers are at their best during the day while we're at work.
We were a bit concerned to see a heron in a nearby tree (close enough to see the pond) so we put some nets over as a start. We got some marine angling wire on one of our visits to Cornwall and have criss crossed it to keep him, the carrion crows and the cats away from the fish.
We (and Tony) weren't entirely satisfied with the edging to the pond so he and Shane have been here again to change it (mainly Shane this time). So it was off with the old bricks ... as you can see it looked a bit bare at this stage.
Then the tiles came in and were duly put in place. The fish seemed to be quite happy with all this activity and Shane was very careful not to get mortar into the pond in case it did them any harm
Unfortunately, during the couple of days the nets were off the pond (before we got the wires put in place) the heron swooped and nicked some of the fish. We think we had 14 left but it was difficult to count them accurately.
We were given some more fish by Lisa's Dad so there were a few more of them to shoal about. Bob and Pam from next door then decided to fill their daughter's fish pond in (not a good idea to have a pond with a toddler) so we got another 50 (or so) fish. By this time, our own had been breeding so we think we've got well over 100 now!
Finally, the revamp was finished and we think it looks a lot better - it hides the black liner better than before and generally looks more "finished off".
When Bob and Pam delivered the fish, they also brought us another lily (which seems to be huge), another plant that lives on the edge and some oxygenating weed. We've also bought ourselves a new dark red lily so we are hoping for plenty of colour next year.
As you can see from this picture we now get frogspawn and our stone frog has plenty "real" friends now.
Not satisfied with frogs, we have also spotted a newt and some diving beetles in the pond - it's a hive of activity.
By Spring 2003 the irises were growing well and the water lillies were starting to send their leaves up to the surface. Picture to the right is May 2003.
The fish hibernate in the winter but they were late going to "sleep" this year (2003) as it was so mild - a keen frost saw them disappear into the irises - we expect them to reappear early April.
Spring 2004 - We've had the pond cleaned and tested and all seems fine. The only bad news is that the heron has decided to use the fountain as a staging post as he gets a good vantage point from there.
That was fine until he landed on the edge of one of the leaves and the whole thing fell over. Jonathon had to venture in and rescue the fountain - it was in 2 bits on the side for a while ...
... it's now back in one piece and reinstalled so the fish have plenty of cover for the lovely sunny weather we're enjoying. We've got wires across the fountain and a "fence" around the pond (about heron-knee high) to discourage more visits.
As a reminder, this is what we started with and where we are now ...

Back to Garden index

Back to main index