This week has for me been all about wildlife gardening. I’m working on some information panels that will be put up in the tree nursery as soon as I finish, I hope. They will tell you about simple things that you can do in order to bring wildlife into your garden. This week was all about the pond. (The panels are not done yet).
This week we decided to expand our pond in the tree nursery with help from our hard working Tuesday volunteers. A pond is one thing that is really good to implement in your garden if you have space. It is thought that some amphibians such as frogs are more common in private gardens than in the countryside. Some of the animals will travel far to find a new home and we will try to make it easier for them to do so. Therefore, a well-designed pond can be very helpful in preserving our natural biodiversity.
We had a small pond already but since it is also used for pond dipping with school children we needed a bigger one to be able to fit more children around it and maybe get new species to move in.
Things you need to think about when making a wildlife pond is to have a shallow end and a deep end. That will attract more different species. Furthermore, you should have an area where you let the grass grow really tall for animals to hide in and you could make another area with stone that has small gaps in between them for hiding as well.
There are four types of plants you should try to implement in the pond: Plants that are entirely covered with water, plants that has floating leaves, plants that live in the shallow part of the pond and plants that are growing on the edge of the pond. If you fill the pond with tap water, remember that there are nutrients such as chlorine and fluoride in it that are not livable for the plants and creatures. Wait a couple of days or preferably 1-2 weeks for them to evaporate before putting in your plants.
A wildlife pond doesn’t need a lot of maintenance. Usually it can take care of it self the first 5-6 years. If however, the water starts to turn brown you should think about tidying it up a bit. When the water turns brown it is because a lot of dead matter has started to extract all the oxygen out of the water for the decay process and therefore, there is no oxygen left for all other living organisms. It is highly recommended that you only do maintenance in the autumn after the flowers have flowered and before the minibeasts and other hibernate.
Now you know a lot about wildlife ponds. Remember it is great for biodiversity so maybe worth thinking about in your garden. It can be any shape or size. It can even be a tub, just remember to make a path or something for the animals to get into the pond.
Carina Marcussen – Volunteer Assistant Ranger, Scottish Wildlife Trust
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