Pondlife

A wildlife pond , no matter how small, is a fantastic addition to any wildlife friendly garden. They provide a breeding site for frogs, toads , newts , dragonflies and a myriad of other creatures who depend on aquatic environments. They also provide drinking water for hedgehogs , foxes and birds as well as a home for some of our most beautiful aquatic wild flowers. Due to many factors including habitat destruction, pollution, infilling, draining and neglect, over half of the UK’s ponds have been lost during this century and has led to a marked decline in our native amphibians. So great is the loss of our ponds from the countryside, our garden ponds now provide a vital refuge for many of our aquatic invertebrates and amphibious wildlife .

Even though my tiny garden is only 29 sq metres in total, I was still determined to add a tiny pond to it. By simply digging out a small hole in a semi-shaded area of the lawn, I added a large, round , plastic planter and created a sloping side (inside it) using a combination of a few bricks and soil and then filled it up with water. Providing a slope on at least one side is really important as it allows amphibians to easily get out of the pond as well providing an escape route for any hedgehogs or other mammals unfortunate enough to fall in. I then purchased some native oxygenating plants and marginal wild flowers on-line, planted them in and let nature take its course.

After only a few months , my tiny wildlife pond is already looking well established and can be seen here fringed by the wetland loving Snakes Head Fritilaries which I’d planted in the lawn
Newly constructed. On the right side, a few bricks were added in order to aid frogs and other creatures in getting out of the pond. The shallow shelf it creates also offers opportunities for birds to drink and bathe in the water. The spiky looking plant seen emerging from the water on the right is a yellow flag iris which dragonfly larvae use to crawl up out of the pond just before hatching out into adult dragonflies .The small log was added in order to offer visiting dragonflies a perch for when laying their eggs in the pond.

In the photo on the left, can be seen the recently installed wildlife pond. In the photos on the right and immediately below, freshly deposited frog spawn can be seen

After only a few weeks, and with the help of the warmer spring weather, tadpoles started to hatch from the spawn and could be seen feeding on the algae and blanket weed

As can be seen in the little video clip , below, the tadpoles naturally gravitated towards the sunnier , shallower end of the pond , where they could bask, wriggle and feed on the blanket weed

Pond-dipping. My little boy , like most children, was fascinated by the transformation of frog spawn in to tadpoles and is a great way of nurturing his interest in nature and the wonders of the natural world


As a rule, the bigger the wildlife pond the greater the diversity of wildlife it supports though even if you only have a tiny garden or backyard, the addition of even the smallest wildlife pond can still provide a wonderful, watery habitat for our native amphibians and invertebrates as well as nectar rich aquatic wild flowers for pollinators including bees, hoverflies and butterflies. If you’re feeling inspired and want to know more about creating a pond in your outdoor space , then the Fresh Water Habitats Trust have some great ideas and practical tips which can be seen by clicking on the linkhere

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