A New Wildlife Pond (Finished...at last)

  • In reply to Noisette:

    Hi Hazel and thanks for the advice on slug hunting, it sounds like a good plan. Mrs A found a slug in my bit of the garden and reports that she had considered using the wheelbarrow to help remove it, such was the alleged size of It.!!  My cold is slowly disappearing but for the past two days I've completely lost the ability to taste or smell anything, not even a hint.!! You don't realise how much these things mean to you until they're not there.!! Still no further work done on the pond yet but I'll get back to it as my energy levels return.

    Paul

    My bird photos HERE

  • In reply to Paul A:

    I've just built a wildlife pond and as soon as I'd started to fill it, low and behold a male and female mallard pair claimed it for themselves and have hardly left it. Each time they do leave I manage to add some plants or even finishing touches.

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  • In reply to rhodopsin:

    We were with Egg but a Magpie took it :-(

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  • In reply to rhodopsin:

    Hi Rhodopsin. Please accept my apologies for failing to respond to your post on 7th June, it's been a few weeks since I looked in on this thread. It's great that you've built a wildlife pond as well and fantastic that you have a pair of Mallards who have taken a liking to it already. It’s always a shame when eggs or young are taken but I suppose the Magpie needs to eat as well, there’s a balance to everything I think. Due to having a bad cold and then a bad spell of weather, my pond has only got moving again in the last week or so. I’ve been doing plenty of digging and have the deepest part down to where I want it but I still have a fair bit to do before it’s ready for a liner. I’ve been taking photos as I go along so I’ll maybe update this as soon as I can find a bit of spare time. Please feel free to add any photos of your own pond here, I’d love to see it and also any hints or tips are always welcome.

    Paul

    My bird photos HERE

  • In reply to Paul A:

    The best advice I can give Paul, is to get someone else to dig it!! I did ours a few years ago & as you can see it's solid rock under a few inches of topsoil. Needless to say I didn't do a very big pond, just enough for a few birds & bugs!

    Although it was the end of March, judging by my layers of sweatshirts it wasn't very warm.

    Best wishes

    Hazel in the Gironde estuary, France

  • In reply to Noisette:

    Hazel, if there was solid rock under the lawn where my pond is to go, I think I would have back filled it and been done with it. Well done in getting your pond as deep as you did.

    -Edit- Really cool sweatshirt by the way.!!

    Paul

    My bird photos HERE

  • In reply to Paul A:

    Hi folks. It’s been a wee while since I’ve updated the progress on my new wildlife pond so here we are again. To be honest there’s not much to report other than the fact that I’m still digging the pond out. The gazebo that I put up to keep the water out of the hole took a severe beating over a few days of constant heavy rain and sadly collapsed under the strain of all the water. It has since been forcibly disassembled and is at this moment waiting to be taken on its final journey to the council recycling centre/tip. This first photo shows the deep end of the pond which I’ve managed to dig down to three feet deep.

    Going back to the subject of things collapsing, my trusty old Wheelbarrow gave a final tired groan, wobbled a bit, and then with a heartbreaking crunch it fell to its knees, never to be wheeled again.!! It was sad to see the old fellow go in such a way but we had some great times together and I'll forever look back fondly on the laughs and adventures we had together.!! The next few photos show his final moments....sob....sniff.!!

    Awaiting his final journey with his old friend the gazebo.!!

    After mourning for half an hour, the decision was made to nip out to the DIY shop and I returned with a shiny new Wheelbarrow with one of those modern pneumatic tyre thingy's on it. We had a quick spin up and down the garden but I applied a firm hand and I soon had the new Wheelbarrow under control and going where I wanted it to go. He's still young and has a tendancy to run wild so I've had to park him in this position until he settles down a bit.

    There's about a foot of good topsoil above clay where the pond is and I thought that my plans to dig a 'dry well' for drainage may be in trouble due to the heavy clay (more about this in a later update I think). This next photo however shows that once I got so far down, there is a slow seepage of water that fills the bottom of the hole over a period of time. This suggests to me that my 'dry well' may work fine but as I said, we'll go into that at a later date.

    Water seepage through the clay (remembering that the hole here is three feet deep).

    Before any more digging, I think we'll have a look to see how the things in the garden are coming along. In the Greenhouse my Carrot's seem to be doing well.....

    I've actually planted another lot of Carrot's so as they'll be ready once we've got through the first lot. A good friend gave me a couple of Cucumber plants but they sadly went downhill rapidly and gave up on me.!! He also gave me two Tomato plants which are doing well, with a few Tomatoes starting to show on them.

    Back outside again, my Potatoes are going strong and my Peas are looking good as well.

    I've nearly forgot to show you some of the birds that've been around. Nothing fancy really, just the usual suspects. I managed to catch this Rook as it passed over.

    And also this Herring Gull.

    Back to the plants, and all my other stuff is slowly coming on. In case you've forgotten, from left to right at the back we have Mint, Rosemary and the tub with various mixed Herbs in it (which are doing really well at the moment). At the front from left to right we have Onions, Spring Onions (which I'm going to sow the other half of the tub soon) and Cabbages. The Cabbages have been gettin munched a bit by Slugs but they're still holding on in there.!!

    My other wee planter with my Alpines in it are starting to spread out a bit and are beginning to look good.

    Looking back down the garden you can see that everything is in 'full growing' mode. Mrs A has also put her bedding plants down the side of the lawn although they've still to spread out yet.

    The hand cart has been planted as well and should fill out nicely as the summer goes on.

    Round at the front of the house Mrs A's hanging baskets are slowly starting to get going.

    I told you in the previous post that I'd maybe show you the front garden. It's quite small but here's a photo of it as it was this morning. There's a small Rhododendron in the middle of the lawn but all the flowers have been and gone. The photo was taken from the driveway where we park the car.

    This photo was taken a few weeks ago and shows the Rhododendron when the flowers were on it. When we first moved in here this plant was very poorly but Mrs A half dug it out and back filled it with ericaceous compost. The improvement was quite spectacular and the plant is doing really well now.

    Back round to the back garden again and I actually stood on the top of the fence at the back door to take this shot. It gives you a good idea where the pond fit's into everything.

    I should probably get back to talking about the pond but firstly we had a visit from the supervisor. You may remember Tee Tee from my 'Wall' thread and she's never far away when there's any serious supervising to be done. Supervising is a skilled art and you certainly don't need to be standing up to be able to carry out this complex task, as you can see from this next photo. The level of concentration is simply stunning.!!

    Carrying out such highly focussed concentration at this advanced level does take it out of you though, and it seemed like only a matter of seconds before physical and mental exhaustion once again took its toll on her.!!

    Getting back to the pond; In my first post I explained about the issues with the garden sloping from one end of the pond to the other. I've initially dug the pond to a uniform depth (the depth of my spade) and then I dug the deepest part using the height of the lawn as my guide. In this next photo, if you look at the height of the bit of wood at the top right hand side of the pond and then compare that with the height of the bit of wood at the bottom left of the photo you will see that there's a considerable difference from the top of the peg to the level of the lawn The peg at the top right hand side is the maximum level that the water will get to and all the other pegs have been put in using a spirit level from the 'master peg'. You will see that I've started to dig further down around the shallow shelf which will surround the pond, this should give a uniform depth of around one foot all the way around the pond.

    I hope that made sense to you but if not, this next photo might help to clarify things. You can see a line scored into the wall of the pond. This line is twelve inches below the 'master peg' and has been scored into the pond wall all the way around the inside using a spirit level from the first measurement. This means that the shelf is level, regardless of the slope of the lawn.(It could be that I'm explaining all of this to convince myself more than anyone).!!

    The level mark in relation to the maximum depth of the water.

    This is actually thirsty work so a small interlude for refreshments and bird watching is in order I think.

    A standard Lager Shandy, essential for morale.!!

    A ground level view of a rather lovely Starling (taken whilst sitting in the hole drinking Shandy).!!

    Who said tight 1970's perm's were a thing of the past? I would get one myself but Mrs A has promised to punch me in the head if I do.!!


    The man in the shop swore on his mother's grave that I had just bought a 110% Starling proof gaurdian cage.....

    Oh... I nearly forgot to tell you that a good friend's son-in-law dug some old flagstones out of his garden and kindly donated them to me. I'm still not sure what I'm going to do with them but aren't they just great.!!

    Nearly forgot to show you the photo of the Jackdaw as well.!!

    ...and the wee male House Sparrow...

    A few photos of the pond to finish off with. The digging goes on....

    ...and on....

    Another view (note the stones against the inside wall of the pond at the right hand side), this is how I intend to line the wall of the pond for most of the way around it.!!

    The final photo of this update shows the pond as it was at the end of today.

    That's all for now and thank you if you've managed to stay with me on all of this. I think most of the hard (physical) work is done now but there's still a long way to go before I can sit back and see what type of things are maybe going to move in. I hope you've enjoyed this so far.

    Paul

    My bird photos HERE

  • In reply to Paul A:

    Morning Paul and thank you for such a brilliant update, you could write books with your wonderful way with words - I so enjoy reading your threads :)    I can't believe how much work you have done digging out and it looks superb,  how can it look this immaculate when still digging the pond out ?  LOL   We were surrounded by a complete quagmire of sand, cement, stones, old tree roots, rocks and stones during the construction of our pond and everywhere looked a complete eyesore  !   You have the neatest, most pristine garden I have ever seen - even when you are in the middle of excavation  lol    the grass is superb and I can tell you and Mrs A spend a lot of hard graft hours maintaining and keeping the garden looking so grand and the vegetables as well.   I love the update, the photos and most of all the brilliant progress and shape of the pond, it is really going to be stunning once filled with water and marginal plants, etc.,    I also congratulate Mrs A on her stunning hanging baskets they are bloomin' fantastic !     Bird photos lovely too, what a handsome Jackdaw, Blackbirds, Starlings (nothing is Starling or Cyril proof ! ), male House Sparrow and the gorgeous Tee Tee.    BTW, ....... look forward to seeing the photo when you've had your 1970's perm done  lol   ........... and the bruise on your head !!       Hope you are now feeling better and back to full health.

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    Regards, Hazel 

    My Flickr. photo  link HERE 

  • In reply to Paul A:

    Hello Paul, Good Morning!

    First of all I would like to condole with you to the loss of two so important "colleagues" in such short period of time (Wheel barrow and Gazebo). But things usually get broken when you don't need it.

    Shame on you! ;-)    You've never told us before how beautiful your front garden is. Mrs A's hanging baskets and your Alpine planter are doing so well. You two certainly have a hand for gardening.

    A 110% Starling-Proof-cage? We have a saying here: "Only trust the statisticts that you've forged yourself". And the shop-assistant swore on his mother's grave? I wouldn't wonder if she was still very much alive...

    Please don't send Tee Tee after me again when I tell you that I nearly laughed loudly seeing the new pile of stones. That will not be necessary when I tell you that we have a similar habit in my family. There simply are things that you can never have too much of. And I already have a picture in my mind how you use these stones for your pond.

    I'm glad that digging a pond is not my task. Last week it would not have been possible anyway, as we had more than 30°C here. One Shandy would by far not have been enough to help cool down afterwards.

    I hope you, Mrs A and the cats have a very nice day today, and that you'll all soon be able to enjoy your beautiful garden with a view to the pond.

    So long and take care!

    Yours, Bente

  • In reply to Bente S:

    Thanks folks for your lovely comments and I have passed on your kind words to Mrs A about the garden and her baskets, she thanks you both very much.

    Hazy: I’m under strict orders to clean everything up at the end of the day and I think I’ve said before that the vast majority of the credit has to go to Mrs A for the tidiness of the garden. She does most of the maintenance and I do most of the digging and building of things.!! My perm has been put on hold at the moment and besides, I’ve sort of had the same hairstyle for around 30 years…some things never go out of fashion…..or maybe they never come in.!!

    Bente: It certainly didn’t get up to 30 degrees here on Saturday although it was still very warm. When drinking Shandy’s, you always get two from a single can of Lager and a couple of glasses of Orange Juice were also consumed earlier on in the day. I’ve never seen Tee Tee drinking anything….ever.!!

    I have to admit that no work was carried out on the pond yesterday, I stayed up late to watch the football and ended up having a really long lie in (for me anyway)…10am… I’m ashamed.!! I had planned to do at bit more work on the pond but we decided that a trip over to Loch Leven would probably be the best option, so off we went. I’m glad we did as I saw two ‘firsts’ for me which I may add to a quick post once I’ve sorted through the photos. Anyway, the main part of the digging is almost over and the next step I think is to dig a series of shallow shelves all the way up to the top end of the pond, this should help to prevent my ‘sloping beach’ from sliding all the way into the pond itself. The long list of other things needing to be done include measuring the pond to see how much liner I’m going to need and I’ve also to dig out and build my ‘dry well’. Happy days.!!

    Paul

    My bird photos HERE