This is a great time of year to put a pond or wetland area into your garden. Ponds bring with them a wealth of wildlife, attracting birds and mammals for a drink and creating the perfect habitat for a wide variety of invertebrates and amphibians.
A successful pond needs; sloping sides to ensure hedgehogs do not get caught in the pond and drown, and a deep centre, two foot at least, in order that your pond life can survive in winter. It will host a huge variety of creatures from; dragonfly larvae, water scaters, diving beetles to frogs toads and newts. Creating varying levels in the pond ensures you can introduce marginal and deeper growing plants.
Ponds are one of the richest environments in a garden particularly if you edge a side with stones and allow another side to develop rough, long grass.
The stones on one edge will create somewhere for dragonflies to alight plus damp places for invertebrates and amphibians such as newts to hide under. The longer grass will allow safe passage from your pond into the rest of the garden.
Pond plants are also important to bring in oxygen, filter the water and allow larvae to climb up on their way into their new lives. They can also be stunning to look at, our native pond plants are really beautiful additions to the garden.
Avoid non native plants as we have such a wonderful variety of British plants and by their nature pond plants are good at spreading and invading out into other territory. Non native wetland plants such as Japanese knotweed and Himalayan balsam are two examples of terrible mistakes made by gardeners before us.
Creating a bog as well as or instead of your pond also creates even more habitat for wildlife. You can achieve this by digging out about 2′ of soil, sinking non permeable pond lining, puncturing this slightly with a fork and then back filling it with soil. This extends the choice of plants and you end up with a gentle transition between pond and dry garden. This creates a corridor for amphibians and insects.
When thinking about siting the pond ensure it is not under trees otherwise it will rapidly clog up with the leaves, however ensure it is somewhere fairly secluded so that your pond wildlife feels secure.
Here are some suggestions for planting up your pond, late autumn to winter is a good time of year to do this work.
Amphibious bistort Polygonum amphibium (good for boggy areas)
Water avens Geum rivale (a beautiful plant for boggy areas)
Bog arum Calla palustris (grows well in boggy areas and in the margins)
Bog bean/water clover Menyanthes trifoliata (found in shallow water and boggy areas)
Common cottongrass (a wonderful bog plant)
Cuckoo flower/lady’s smock Cardamine pratensis (a lovely pink to white flower, good for orange tip and green veined butterflies, grows well in boggy areas)
Purple loosestrife Lythrum salicaria (a dramatic purple/red flower which does well in boggy areas and in the margins)
Marsh marigold Caltha palustris (cheerful early flower that grows well in damp places)
Meadowsweet Filipendula ulmaria (foamy white flowers with a distinctive sweet smell)
Ragged robin Lychnis flos-cuculi (one of our prettiest bog plants)
Arrowhead Sagittaria sagittifolia (striking marginal)
Brooklime Veronica beccabunga (found in standing water, lovely blue flowers)
Yellow flag iris Iris pseudacorus (a stunning native iris which does well in standing water and boggy areas)
Water forget-me-not Myosotis palustris (pretty blue flowers found in slightly deeper water)
Frogbit Hydrocharis morsus-ranae (a floating aquatic plant)
Hornwort Ceratophyllum demersum (great for pond life and a brilliant oxygenator)
Broadleaved pondweed Potamogeton natans (an important oxygenator, it also provides a superb hiding place for your wildlife)
Curly pondweed Potamogeton crispus (a good oxygenator)
Flowering rush Butomus umbellatus (found in shallow to relatively deep water)
Common water starwort Callitriche stagnalis (a good oxygenator found in still and moving water)
Common water crowfoot Ranunculus aquatalis (a good oxygenator found in the margins)
Dwarf white water lily Nymphaea alba candida (found in still water and good for small ponds)
Fringed water lily Nymphoides peltata (pretty yellow flower, roots to the bottom – can be quite vigorous)
White water lily Nymphaea alba (a vigorous but attractive pond plant)
Water soldier Stratiotes aloides (an oxygenator found in still and running water)
Water violet Hottonia palustris (found on the edges of lakes and ponds)