Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Water Wonderful World; A Pond Adds Another Dimension to Your Garden. but Get the Balance of Plants Right

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Water Wonderful World; A Pond Adds Another Dimension to Your Garden. but Get the Balance of Plants Right

Article excerpt

Byline: YOUR GARDEN With Diarmuid Gavin

Ever since Charlie Dimmock performed her magic on the nation's gardens, ordinary people like you and me have succumbed to the temptation of a water feature.

Its attributes are obvious - beautiful, natural, reflective, gentle sounds, a hint of nature and a haven for wildlife.

However, unless they are done well, water features and especially ponds can become a mess. Understanding what you want to achieve and making the right decisions for your project is very important.

I've learnt this to my cost. For the past five years I've had an unfinished project - three ponds, meant to be linked together with waterfalls, two of which leak. It's my promise to myself this spring to get them in order.

I made a bad choice by being convinced to go with a polypropylene construct which is very difficult to weld together and it's proving almost impossible to find where the leaks are springing from.

I'm going to remedy this by using black butyl liner, which in my experience is the best way to go. After sound construction, a good combination of planting is key for a healthy pond.

Oxygenators are necessary to keep the water clean as they suck the nutrients from the water which otherwise encourages a blanket of green algae.

Hornwort and the water buttercup are a good choice here, but avoid Elodea - Canadian pondweed - as this is extremely invasive. Floaters are just placed on the surface of the water and provide some additional surface cover and food for fish.

Duckweed (Lemna) and Fairy Moss (Azolla) tend to take over very quickly and carpet the pool.

Choose instead native plants, such as frog bit (Hydrocharis), which has pretty white flowers in summer, and water soldiers (Stratiotes) with spiky foliage.

Don't worry that these plants disappear in winter - they sink to the bottom of the pond to overwinter and will re-emerge.

Waterlilies or nymphaeas are the most desirable of aquatic plants. Their large and fragrant blooms are second to none and their leaves provide superb cover for fish.

They will only flourish in still water so don't consider them if you have moving water, such as waterfalls, fountains or pumps. …

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