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Creating a pond


by James Alexander-Sinclair

The important thing about making natural ponds [...] is to make sure they look natural and not like puddles stranded in the middle of nowhere.


Bradbury WaterI have been greatly preoccupied with ponds recently. A client of mine has an unbelievably wet field - most of it squelches underfoot and any holes dug fill immediately with water - in which we have been digging ponds. These are not small ponds but whopping great things dug using bulldozers and a selection of differently sized diggers. I turn back into a small boy on these occasions and love watching the machines work. Very quickly an innocent looking field is transformed into a muddy wasteland as great gobbets of turf and topsoil are heaped into enormous piles and then, slowly, from the chaos, a pond emerges.

I know this is very different from many people's experience of building a pond as this is a garden which is bigger than most, but it is still fun to watch. The garden will be open for the National Gardens Scheme next June (I will try to remind you nearer the time).

As the ground is so wet, we have the luxury of not having to worry too much about water supply as it just gushes out of the ground, fills the pond and is then directed off into a nearby ditch where it rushes off down the hill and no doubt fills somebody else's pond a few miles away. We also do not have to concern ourselves with rubber liners or anything like that as the natural clay will - with a bit of work - make the pond watertight.

The important thing about making natural ponds (and this is the same in small gardens as well as out in the countryside) is to make sure they look natural and not like puddles stranded in the middle of nowhere.

Having gone through the excitements of excavation, we then just have to do some planting and wait until the pond fills up. I have ordered plants and hopefully we will get them planted this week. In a year or so it will look as settled as this pond that I made a while ago. There will be dragonflies, ducks, swans (if we're lucky), voles, birds, fish and all manner of amphibians. It never ceases to amaze me that if you plant things then wildlife appears almost by magic.

If you have the chance to make a new pond in the next couple of years then you will be contributing to the Million Ponds Movement. Your pond doesn't have to be anything as big as the one I've just created. We have lost hundreds of ponds since the war due to development and this is a campaign to put some of them back.

I have decided to name this new pond Bradbury Water in honour of my clever, slightly frog- and bee-obsessed colleague, Kate!



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Gardeners' World Web User 02/08/2010 at 19:06

Love you James ;)

Gardeners' World Web User 02/08/2010 at 21:00

I want a pond named after me, or at least a bit of wet meadow — bugman's bog perhaps?

Gardeners' World Web User 03/08/2010 at 09:51

I am very honoured and so extremely chuffed, that for once I have nothing else to say x x x

Gardeners' World Web User 03/08/2010 at 15:02

you two are sweet!!! :-)

Gardeners' World Web User 03/08/2010 at 15:03

I do feel that Bradbury Water would be an ideal site for some life-size plastic camels.

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