Helen's Garden Renovation Project

Friday 13 March 2009

Pond Life

Filed under: Progress — Helen @ 3:39 pm

The weather is getting warmer. This was a good thing, because today was the day for emptying out my old pond. I have been digging the new, temporary pond over the past few weeks. The reason for making a temporary pond is that I want to get the final pond built and the edging around the lawn laid in one operation. This requires filling in the original pond – but I want to take my time doing this, and meanwhile I don’t want the newts and plants to be homeless. The temporary pond is situated at the right hand side of the garden as you look from the house, and I don’t need to disturb this part of the garden until the final pond and lawn (which will be over to the left of the garden) have been constructed.

The old pond is in the far left-hand corner of the garden as you look at it from the house. It is behind my array of compost bins, which is why it hasn’t been in any of my photographs for a while. I emptied out the pond with buckets. I put the plants in several square containers and poured some of the water, through a sieve, into my spare blue recycling bin. I have this spare bin because when the Council started collecting waste from the recycling bin and the normal bin on alternate weeks instead of collecting them both every week, they reissued everyone with a bigger recycling bin. They told us to put out our old recycling bins if we wanted them collected, but I didn’t, because I knew mine would come in useful for keeping pond water in.

There was a lot more water than would go in my bin, so I distributed the rest around the garden. I thought it would be interesting to count the newts that I found in the pond, but then I gave up because there were so many. I didn’t find any frogs. The water lily (a “Rose-Magnolia”) had made an attempt to take over the immediate habitat and I couldn’t pull it out of the water, so I shoved it about until bits broke off under its own weight, and eventually reduced it to a size that I could lift. The other plants have been holding their own in the pond domination stakes, but were much more manageable.

When I had emptied out nearly all the water and sludge, I cut around the liner with a Stanley knife and pulled the liner out of the pond. Under the liner there is some underlay and some spare pieces of pond liner, so it looks as if the liner is still there, but it isn’t. The underlay shouldn’t be watertight, so the remaining water will eventually drain out of the pond.

Emptied pond with liner removed but showing underlay

Emptied pond with liner removed but showing underlay

I dragged the liner over the lawn to the new hole and delicately arranged it in the hole. Well, all right, I didn’t because I was seriously tired by then after lifting all that water out of the old pond. I shoved it in and tried to make sure there was enough liner to come up to the top all the way around, and then started adding water from the recycling bin. I am not really concerned about the arrangement of the folds in the liner because the pond only has to keep going until about March 2010, or whenever it gets warm enough for me to bear to put my hand in and take the plants and water out.

Temporary pond with deepest part filled with water and pondweed

Temporary pond with deepest part filled with water and pondweed

I now need to repot the plants – my water lily, pontederia cordata and an Iris Laevigata “Midnight Blue” – and put them in the temporary pond. I also need to fill up the temporary pond, and I will use water from my water butts to do this. It won’t take long because the temporary pond is quite small. Then I can leave the temporary pond to its own devices until it is time to move the contents (including the newts) to the final pond.


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