Sunday, February 03, 2008

My New Mini-Pond

"A garden without water is not a garden at all. Even a back-yard should have a miniature water-lily in a tub."
Beverley Nichols, Garden Open Today

So if the terra cotta bird bath and the ground-level bird bath didn't make my garden a garden in Mr. Nichols' eyes, this little pond should do the trick, even if it doesn't sport a water lily nor any other plant life yet. Our oldest kitty, Mr. Licorice, thought it was just fine.

What is also does is enhance the value of the front garden to wildlife, which was my whole intent. Now that my Backyard Wildlife Habitat Scrapbook shows I've met my wildlife goals (at least three stars in every category except water, where I decided two would have do, since I haven't any convenient creeks, rivers, lakes, or oceans on my property), I'm ready to officially register. I attempted to do so online, but something went awry with the system and I'm not sure it rang up my credit card or not. If I don't hear something in a few days, I'll try again by mail.

Here's a view of the pond in the little woodland garden among the ferns. Come spring, the foxglove, lungwort, grape hyacinths, and hellebore will add some color, followed by the turtleheads that will bloom well into summer.

The pond itself was simple to make and took under an hour. I dug the hole to fit the spot, and smoothed out the soil around the edge where I intended to lay the flagstones. At one end I created a shelf where the water would be shallow for birds to splash in. The "deep end" is about a foot or so deep. I had an old but still flexible piece of black plastic that I doubled over and used to line the inside of the hole. (How long the black plastic will last I don't know. If it goes brittle and the pond leaks, it won't be too hard to pull everything apart and line it with a good pond liner.) Then I laid flat river rocks that I had in the back yard into the hole, covering the bottom and the sides as best I could. Some black plastic is still visible between the stones, but it doesn't show too badly. I laid the flagstones all around the edge, overlapping the edge just a bit, then trimmed the edges of the plastic so that they're covered by the flagstones. I may put a few more stones on the shelf part to make a better spot for butterflies to get a drink. I also want to move my saucer of wet sand near the pond for a butterfly puddling spot, since the pond itself will attract insects.

And that was it. Pretty simple. All in all, it felt good to get out in the garden after all the wild weather we've been having. Here's what wind, ice, and a little snow do to pansies and primroses:
But in spite of the foul weather, some little Valentine guys have been cavorting on my front porch for the last couple of weeks:

I see buds swelling on all the shrubs, and the Daphne are nearly ready to bloom. Now that Groundhog's Day/Candlemas/Imbolc/St. Brigid's Day have come and gone, spring is on the way.

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