Giving nature a home this autumn Part 2

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All sizes of gardens can have a mini pond. Having a mini pond will help attract frogs, newts, toads dragonflies and damselflies as well as birds and pond creatures to your garden.


Find or buy a large container it could be half of a barrel and or a large square sink and a large washing up bowl. The container needs to be strong enough to withstand all types of weather, especially the severe frosts.
You could also use something that is not watertight but is strong and stable, such as a very large plant pot. To make sure that the plant pot does not leak you need to consider lining it with pond liner.


While the container is empty, place empty container in your chosen place; once it is full of water, it will be difficult to move. It will be ideal to place the container in a place where there is a good amount of light but not in a place where it gets full sunshine all day.


You can either sink the container into the ground or place it on a pile of bricks. If the edges of the container edges are level with the ground will help creatures can get in and out. A mini pond can be hazardous for small children so put it in a place where it can be safe and secure.


Use bricks, rocks, or logs to create stepping stones in and out of the pond. This will help make sure that wildlife can get in and out of the pond. It is critical that the pond does not become a trap for wildlife such as hedgehogs.


To prepare your pond seal any drainage holes. I your using an old sink, use a silicon adhesive to make a plug for the plug hole. If you are using a very large plant pot line the pot with pond liner. Folding the liner around right angles in the plant pot can be quite a challenge.


An option is to use clean gravel stones in the bottom. Never use soil as it full of too many nutrients that will cause algae to form. Make sure that you use bricks, logs to act as stepping stones so that wildlife can access the pond.


You can now fill your pond with water, if possible try to use rainwater as tap water is too full of chemicals to be any good for a pond. Before starting this project it would be a good idea to invest in a water butt, if you do not have one. It is also good whenever there is hose pipe ban in your area, that you can always use you the water butt for watering your garden.


Get special aquatic plant pots with mesh sides to put in your plants in. Use a very low nutrient soil or special soil for ponds mixed with grit.
Use submerged pond weed as it will keep your pond stay clear. It is important to use only native plants such as rigid hornwort and water-milfoil which are best for mini ponds. You can buy these plants from garden centres or pond supply centres.


Use native marginal plants for around the edge of the pond. They must be poking through the surface of the water, to give perches and cover to wildlife. Use only plants that won’t grow too big for the mini pond. Two or three plants are the most that you will need for a pond of this size. Try to include water forget-me-not, lesser spearwort and marsh marigold.
Do not worry if you after a few months that you find that you have algae or blanket weed that looks like strings of green gloop. Remove the algae or blanket weed by winding it on a stick.


You will see as your pond matures that all the water creatures that you have attracted to the pond will keep the water clear. In hot weather you may have to top it up with water and always try to use only rainwater as it will be more beneficial for your pond.


Never in any circumstances bring in buckets of pond life from other places as pond creatures will come to your pond as they are very good at finding new sources of water. Toads will only go to large ponds but frogs and newts will be happy to come to your mini pond; to help increase the chances of frogs and newts coming to your pond by providing corridors of cover next to your pond. It is also a good idea to provide a frog and toad abode nearby to make your pond more attractive to frogs.


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