Pond Ponderings – The Bigger the Better
Pond Creation by Susan Payne
We moved into our new home 2 years ago, moving from a city centre to the countryside. It is a big plot but the previous owners had simply kept a large rectangle of grass, closely mown with no plants at all. I knew one of the first things I wanted to do was install a wildlife pond, not for fish but for insects, dragonflies, birds etc. My husband bought me a garden wilding book with lots of tips about ponds and other ideas, including sowing a meadow (which we are also enjoying this year).We are pond novices so it was a big learning curve. We were advised to make the pond as big as we could rather than go in too small and regret it. And so our pond was installed in June 2022.
We began shopping for plants locally and bought a small selection. However, as our pond is ca 5.5 x 4.5 metres they looked lost; it felt like a drop in the ocean. So we visited a website recommended to us that supplied a mixture of oxygenators, marginals, floaters etc in different sized packs depending on the size of your pond. We purchased a pack and we were off and running.
Within 2 months an Emperor Dragonfly was laying eggs in the pond; a huge Grass Snake swam across and slipped through the grass into next door; a Kingfisher paid a couple of visits. Excited doesn’t cover it. This June, we began to notice dragonfly skins hanging from our pond plants and decided to take a coffee up the garden at night to see what we could see. Oh my goodness, it was amazing. A dozen or so dragonfly larvae were out of the water and were in various stages of metamorphosis. It was transfixing. We spent about an hour watching and photographing before calling it a night.
I would say I am a wildlife enthusiast and my husband a willing but, shall we say, slightly less enthusiastic but supportive onlooker. However, pond-watching has become a favourite pastime for us both. There is always so much to see. We have a pebble beach which is always alive with bees drinking from the pond and where birds can hop down and take a bath. Year 2 and we have newts, pond skaters, water boatmen, snails, diving beetles and tadpoles. I acquiesced on the fish front and allowed my husband to introduce 10 sticklebacks – we now have shoals. This summer so far a Broad-bodied Chaser female has been laying eggs for days with a male bossing the pond to make sure no other male gets a look in. A Four-spotted Chaser has visited and we have numerous damselflies.
No matter where you live, town, country or suburbs, a pond is such an incredible source of joy and interest for you and clearly of great importance to the local wildlife. We are now thinking of investing in a night camera to install to see what else visits our wildlife haven. All I would say is, build it and they will come.