Wildlife Pond

Yesterday I found a small frog amongst the rockery plants, a great sign that our small wildlife pond is still attracting lots of wildlife. We made the pond last February, using one of those rigid plastic pond moulds. It has 3 shelves for marginal pond plants to sit on but we added a few bricks and large rocks to make ‘steps’, this should make it easier for wildlife to enter or exit the pond. We also added a small rockery around one side.

How the new pond looked this time last year:

Buying plants for the pond was fun, there were so many to choose from but we tried our best to stick to native plants. Puddle Plants appear to have a good selection: http://www.puddleplants.co.uk/search.php?mode=search&page=1

So far the pond has a pretty water-lily (not a native but hopefully future baby frogs will enjoy using the lily pads), bunches of oxygenating pond weed, yellow flag iris, small rush, evergreen grass and a marsh marigold. The pond is a constant source of fascination for me, being a fairly new pond I’m amazed at the amount of wildlife it has attracted already. We added a few pond snails last year (the population has increased somewhat) and I saw water boatmen, water louse and pond skaters last summer.

I’m hoping frogs will spawn in our pond this year, that would be great. However, I’m currently enjoying planting around the pond to create a ‘wild’ look to give frogs and newts cover from predators. I haven’t seen newts yet but they should like the rockery seeing as there’s lots of hiding places.

The decision to include a wildlife pond to our vegetable garden was mainly to attract frogs to keep the slug population down, but the pond has become so much more than that. I find myself visiting the pond more and more, watching and learning about so many other fascinating water creatures. I highly recommend adding a pond to your garden if you can, it doesn’t have to be an extravagant affair, a recycled sink or raised pot/barrel are just some examples (Flighty’s Plot uses a shallow dustbin lid for a pond at the allotment). Children will be fascinated by water and pond wildlife (I know I was as a kid), with a little extra thought you can add water to your garden safely, especially important if you have young children. Whatever you choose, fill it with water, pop some pond plants in and within no time you’ll be hooked as much as I am.

If you already have a pond, are you also eagerly awaiting frog spawn? Many pond owners are already recording the first frog spawn! Use the Pond Conservation online survey to record your information, all entries go towards the Big Spawn Count: http://www.pondconservation.org.uk/bigponddip/BigSpawncount/BigSpawnCountonlinerecordingform

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13 comments

  1. Loving the pond. We don’t have space for one like that. We did consider using an old zinc bath but I was worried about the water freezing over winter and the plants dying. I was even more concerned about this when I saw the price of aquatic plants. Will definitely take a look at Puddle Plants. I need to make my mind up soon, if the zinc bath doesn’t become a pond it’s having holes drilled in the base so it can be my herb container. I could sit by a pond all day just watching the wildlife, they are a brilliant addition to a garden.

  2. I dug a wildlife pond 10yrs ago (and believe me in clay soil it was nearly fatal lol) I lined it with old carpet and a pond liner and like you said, since then it has taken on a life of its own, it does attract a lot of wildlife (the foxes we’ve tried to put off!!) but hedgehogs drinking, birds bathing, dragonflies emerging, newts gliding under the surface like tiny crocodiles, frogs diving in it, huge rams horn snails slowly moving round it like grazing sheep, not to mention all the insects that like a bit of a drink too, so let me add my voice to Karens and say a wildlife pond is a great thing, just be very aware of the size of plants that you put in it (reeds???what was I thinking?, they grew like grass obviously and took over and took me forever to get rid of, and even yellow flag iris can go a bit mad!!!) and add a lot of vegetation round the outsides as frogs dont spend all their lives in the water and like to be out exploring as much as in it..oh and in winter we put a childs football on the surface of the pond and it keeps a hole unfrozen but to be truthful if you dig it decently deep in the middle the wildlife still have some water that never freezes to go to….enjoy!! :)

  3. We made a pond last year and it has been great fun. The frogs moved in straight away, but as it was already April it was a bit late for tadpoles but I’m hoping to get some this year. One frog has spent a day in it recently but hasn’t produced any spawn yet. I keep going out and checking. My husband insisted on putting fish in the pond so I’m a bit worried the spawn will all get eaten straight away. It’s all looking a bit bare at the moment as none of the plants have started to grow back yet.

  4. Great post; I have just bought a rigid pond liner and am working up to digging the required hole – not easy, my garden is on a layer of crumbly rock so a crowbar is always required. Did you wait for yours to fill with rainwater or did you use tapwater? I can’t wait to start planting. The marsh marigold is really lovely.

  5. Hi Rachael,
    I might be wrong…. but I was told that putting fish in a wildlife pond reduces the number of other creatures that will take up residence significantly, perhaps the answer is to have ‘his and her’ ponds lol
    for frogs to successfully spawn and grow to full ‘froghood’ the pond shouldnt be located near to any trees as too much leaf litter seems to stop the spawn from developing further..(according to Dr Townson a UK amphibian specialist).I have had tons of frogs over the years and seen spawn but never seen any ‘baby frogs’ as my pond is near a couple of large beech trees…though I do have palmate newts (they have little webbed feet!) you’ll have to keep us updated with how it all goes :)

  6. Hi Claire, once we’d covered the pond with mud on the inside for the plants to grow in, we used tap water from the hose, the resultant water and mud soup does look awful for a few days till everything settles down and now my pond is as clear as anything, occaisionally in really hot summers (dont laugh we get a few near London) I have to top up the pond a bit too…I live in fear of a hose pipe ban … I dug my pond out of clay so I feel your pain with that crowbar…but no-one says you have to do it all in one day….good luck

  7. Hi Claire, I filled mine with rainwater from a water-butt, then topped it up with a little tap water because we ran out. I also added a small amount of water from my parents wildlife pond, just to give it a kick start. I put washed aquatic gravel in the bottom, along with some rocks and stones. I allowed the pond to settle down for a few days before adding the plants.

    The water in your new pond will almost certainly turn pea soup green, a great tip I’ve been given by wildlife pond enthusiasts is to add a few handfuls of shop bought watercress to the water. Once the stems start to root they will help to soak up excess nutrients and nitrates, keeping the water clear and blanket weed under control.

  8. Thanks for the comments everyone, glad to see so many other people are interested or have a pond too.

    Hi Rachael, I think fish might present a few problems with eating frog spawn. If frogs do spawn in your pond, it might be a good idea to make a smaller pond next to the main pond and simply move the spawn to it, should you need to.

  9. I built a pond years ago when living at my parent house which gave me hours of fun. It wasn’t too your standard and I rushed it somewhat (some things never change) but it’s great to see how yours has come on, you’ve got it looking great and really natural looking. Loving the pictures!

  10. Pond looks good, how do you keep the water clear? I’ve just installed a little wildlife pond on my allotment. I’ve also used a small solar fountain to help aireate the water. Next stop is puddle plants for the best pond weed to be using.

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