Tips for wildlife ponds
1 Siting the pond in a small garden you may not have a lot of choice about where to put a pond. But if you do have a choice, consider the following aspects:
- Try to avoid putting a pond under a tree because the falling leaves can pollute the water.
- If you need power for a pump you filter you need to make the pond near a power source.
- With a pond for wildlife one of the great things, especially for children, is to be able to sit close and watch the goings-on, so put a bench or seat nearby.
2 Size the bigger the better, in bigger ponds you can grow a greater diversity of plants, which helps the pond look after itself.
3 Materials For small ponds pre-formed rigid liner might be best, for larger ponds flexible UPVC tends to be a better option. Whichever you go for, don’t skimp on quality as there are a lot of strains on the liners and sunlight will tend to add to the wear and tear.
4 Sides make sure the sides aren’t too steep for frogs. Also a rockery or lots of damp vegetation will provide shelter for amphibians.
5 Plants Plants native to your area will be best for wildlife. These plants are the food sources and shelter that local wildlife can use best. As well as the pretties and those obviously good for wildlife, don’t forget to add oxygenators to help keep the water clear – you buy these be the bundle and need to put about 15 stems in for every square metre of pond surface area you have.
6 Keeping it clear Murky, smelly ponds are the second biggest reason that people have for not wanting a pond in the garden (the main reason is concern about safety). Algae feed on nutrients in the water and need sunlight to flourish. So clearing out weeds, leaves and excess fish food will help keep out sunlight make sure a large proportion of the top surface is covered by planting?
Exotic Heat Islands
This is the name Angus White from Architectural Plants gives to the potential of gardens in large cities. He comes up with some startling statistics: for example, the minimum temperature in London in winter is comparable to the south coast of France. OK, it’s hotter in the summer in France, but it’s the minimum temperature that is important for plants’ survival and happiness. On one of the coldest nights in recent history in 1991, Angus recorded a temperature of minus 170C West Sussex. In London on the same night the minimum was minus 40C, an enormous 130 difference. This ‘heat island’ effect is huge and its benefits are little exploited.