Early on we knew that a pond would be an important feature of our new garden. The main reason was to attract more wild life, especially slug-eating frogs and toads. But I also wanted to try growing edible aquatic plants – so far our miniature pond in the backyard has been good for growing lots of water mint and I’d like to branch out. Thirdly, we are hoping to create a warm, sheltered microclimate between the pond and a Hugelbed, where we can plant an apricot and a peach. These are very susceptible to late frost and we hope the body of water will help moderate the temperatures. (You can see the position of the pond on the map of the garden)
Somewhere between April and August is a good time to make a pond because then you can put in oxygen producing plants immediately (at this time they are actively growing) which prevents algae from growing and keeps the water clean. We’d planned the digging for last Saturday in lieu of a midsummer feast and invited some friends to help. We also asked Loek Gorris, a gardener specialized in creating natural ponds and sustainable gardens, to supervise the whole process. We’re awfully glad we did this because it certainly speeded things up and saved us from making mistakes. Plus Loek was very good at getting everyone involved, including our 13y old son.
In total there were 7 guys aged 13 to 63 working on the construction and they worked so hard and coordinated so well that the pond was finished and filled with water by 2 pm. The next day we put in the oxygen producing plants and two days later we planted the rest, most of which will be growing in the shallow water at the edge of the pond. Now we’ll just have to top up the water and wait for the plants to grow!
Some of the edible aquatic plants we’ll be growing (if you have tried any, please let me know!):
Water lily (Nymphaea alba)
Common spatterdock (Nuphar lutea)
Water fringe (Nypmhoides peltata)
Arrowhead (Sagittaria sagittifolia)
Pickerelweed (Pontederia cordata)
Flowering rush (Butomus umbellatus)