Wildlife will soon appear at a garden pond

Joseph Bulmer

During this hot weather there have been many more visitors to the garden, I suspect in search of a drink from the small pond underneath the apple tree.

The dogs have alerted me to hedgehogs, wood pigeons and of course, next door’s cat.

Creating a water feature has never given me a moment's regret or the notion that I should use the space differently.

Whether you have a moat around your castle or a small pre-formed pond like me, a water feature can be simplistic and effective.

Even a balcony can fit a small waterfall-type feature.

I can guarantee you will be pleasantly surprised by the speed at which different wildlife will make it their home.

'If you build it they will come' is the rationale for a water feature.

Literally within a week of filling it with water I could see dragonflies and hear frogs down there.

I am by no means practical but even I am capable of digging a hole the same shape as the pond liner and filling in around it.

From there its a blank canvas that you can fill with whatever plants or rocks attract your eye.

I draw the line at keeping fish, because I still have nightmares about cleaning the pump when the children had a fish tank and fell back on their promise to remove the accumulated thick, green sludge.

Not only do they provide habitats for a variety of wildlife, they also have a hypnotic quality in the same way you can’t take your eyes off the fire even when the TV is on.

They are great sat by with a drink to unwind from whatever the day has thrown at you, providing a calm and reflective space.

I did make one mistake in locating the pond almost under a tree which means it gets full of decaying leaves come the autumn.

When I rake these out I leave the sodden heap by the pond so anyone who lives there can climb back in and I can then move it to the compost heap.

Once you have your pond full of water, and rain water is best if you can be organised enough to collect it, then you can start to think about choosing and planting aquatic plants.

Although aquatic compost is available, most heavy garden soil works just as well.

Line a basket with hessian or aquatic lining material before filling and compacting the soil down around the plant and then watering it to remove any air holes.

Cover the surface of the soil with gravel to prevent the soil being disturbed.

You might also fill a small hessian square with heavy soil and place a plant in it before tying loosely at the top.

Either can then be lowered into the pond.

Some plants even float, like Nymphoides peltata which looks like a water lily.

More striking and abundant is the yellow iris, towering above pretty much all the other pond plants, is good on the margins and prevents next doors cat getting up to mischief.

Its cousin the Japanese water iris is a stunning deep hyacinth blue that sets off the yellow of many other pond plants.

The frogs seem to spend most of their time slaloming and weaving in between the bamboo-like Equisetum hyemale.

I have strategically placed rocks and stones for ease of entering and exiting for amphibians which happens to be on the pond margins where the irises and reeds have created a stronghold.

I would like to grow giant rhubarb, Rheum palmatum rubrum if just to remember pretending they were umbrellas as a child.

I'm not quite sure my pond could sustain such a hefty plant so I might be looking to enter into negotiations at home for a much bigger version.

It can never be a mistake to build a pond or water feature, you will never regret it.