Clear and cool, clear and cool,
By laughing shallow, and dreaming pool.
Charles Kingsley The Water Babies
I wanted a pond in my garden for a long time, but I did not realize just how much pleasure it would give us. The waterfall is very relaxing to listen to, while at the same time visually stimulating. H.H. and I have a new evening routine of feeding the fish and sitting, with our after-dinner coffees, enjoying their antics.
We decided to locate it in the cottage garden area, so it would be surrounded by herbaceous borders on three sides, with the proximity of the patio on the fourth side. I began by marking the shape of the pond and its interior shelves on the lawn. I did a lot of reading about installing ponds so I knew we needed shelves for the plants.
H.H.'s brother-in-law, Dave, opted to do the work. He is a building contractor, but this was his first pond. I wanted part of it to be at least 36 inches deep, for the fish to over-winter down there, so Dave decided not to dig it out by hand. The first real drama occurred for me when the backhoe arrived ... very exciting!
When the pond was dug out, Dave and his helper, Russ, lined it with sand to protect the liner from being torn by rocks and roots (of which there were many!) I chose a flexible pond liner because I felt it would be more natural looking.
The second drama was getting the liner into the hole! It was so heavy! At this point we started calling friends and when there were about six of us, we stood all around the liner, and gradually maneuvered it over and into the hole. Well, that's what friends are for, right?
As water was slowly added, the creases were eased out, and the liner properly placed over ledges and sides. I was so glad Russ volunteered to take his shoes off ... the water was very cold.
The above procedures took a few days. Dave starting laying Pennsylvania blue stone around the edges. Russ shoveled soil under and around the stones.
The following weekend, H.H. and I went out of town to perform grandparent babysitting duties. A few times, as we were enjoying our grandsons, we would wonder aloud to each other whether Dave was at the house working on the pond. We knew he had to build up rocks to make a waterfall and install the pump and filter.
On our return, we drove into the driveway and were greeted by this incredible sight ...
The waterfall had immediate, dramatic impact on the scene. Good job Dave!
I had great fun purchasing plants for around the pond. I decided to add ground covers. H.H. didn't want the grass up to the edging stones, because he was afraid that the grass cuttings would fly into the water when he mows. I bought two kinds of sedums, and divided some others that I had already.
I placed lilyturf on either side of the waterfall and put a large clump at the back to hide the electrical outlet. I put some of my hypertufa pots around the edge.
We didn't buy many water plants as it is so late in the year. We thought it best to wait until next spring.
Very soon the frogs began to arrive. We have counted three so far.
When the two grandsons came for a weekend visit, H.H. took them to purchase coy fish. They were told they could each pick three and they were told to pick really little ones because they were cheaper. Anyway, coy grow very fast and very big. Of course, the boys gave each fish a name. I think the two you can see below are Nemo and Walter.
And it is the fish that create the most drama. They become very excited when they are fed. They race each other to the waterfall and back. They are great fun to watch!
If you were to ask me what I like best about the pond, I would have to say the amount of wildlife it is attracting. My garden is registered as a wildlife habitat but as Baines says in How to Make a Wildlife Garden, "A wildlife garden without a pond is like a theatre without a stage ... the real thrills, the real dramas of the rich habitat garden take place in and around the pond." I have to agree.
Enjoy your weekend!
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