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We have to fill in a fishpond it's about 4ft deep in the middle and the size and shape of a grand piano.  Our soil if lime/chalk, we like acid loving soil plants, so what is the best way to create the perfect soil.  I understand the principal of acid soil but what do we add to a) retain moisture, b) allow drainage and b) make sure the plants are kept fed?

Hiya trevor

I did a similar thing last year.  I had stacked turves from an old lawn, 2 compost heaps, and several,bags of compost.  I have the richest plantImg area now in the garden.  I,planted up hellebores, Heucheras, agastaches, dicentra kimg of hearts, miscanthus morning light, astrantia jumble hole, geraniums pink ice and Elke, convolvulous cneorum,Bowles golden grass, carex testacea, berberis atro nana, Acer dissectum garnet as well as regale lilies, allium purple sensation.  There are some mature plants bordering it too.

I list this because I too once had plans to make this an ericaceous bed for acid lovers. To try and make a lime/chalk bed Imto an acid one is nigh well impossible.  You will need to use sequestereen, ericaceous soil by the load, flowers of sulphur and goodness knows what else. ,and the plants still,won't look happy or thrive.  

Im happy with the bed I've made.  The plants  look happy and are,thriving.  It looks good.  

Trevor, at least consider not using acid loving plants there.  You can make something far better for much less (wasted) effort.....!!


Woodgreen wonderboy

I agree with Verd. You are most unlikely to succeed in creating a successful acid lovers bed You will have unhappy, failing plants and a constant struggle to get them to look good. Why take this on when you could go with nature and plant some of the hundreds of alkaline lovers? The only acid lovers in my garden are camellias which I grow in pots. 


..I would echo the above advice, and I never think that acid lovers look right in areas of chalk, however it doesn't look a huge bed you'll be making there and if you're determined to do it, I would make sure you get only dwarf varieties, they have a very small rootball, compact, easily dug up and moved or tended if necessary, easier to maintain in good health...

also you can get now some very pretty lime tolerant rhododendrons from the 'Inkarho' series.. tolerant up to ph 7... some like 'Dreamland' are fairly small like Yakushimanum hybrids... you might want to look at those...


Sorry Trevor - think I go along with the rest - easiest to work with nature than against it. Could you not have some really large containers for your acid lovers?

Another idea for your old pond might be for bog / marginal planting. You already have the hole, you probably have an old pond liner - punch a few drainage holes in the liner - fill it with soil / compost & you have an area which you can keep permanently damp. Just an idea...


Topbird, good idea to take advantage of "the hole".  I considered just that for my planting.   

Whatever you Woody said....go with nature and your soil.  Then both you,and your plants be happy

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