Latest posts by shirlsgw

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Plants for a small pond

Posted: 11/08/2016 at 01:27

Be patient, is my advice - that and a good mix of plants. Sounds like you are on your way to me. Enjoy seeing your pond develop. My pond is small and shallow and after a murky first year, year two has seen clear water without a pump. I am delighted with how it is looking now. Back in June I posted my pond plant list on my blog  (as much for me as anyone reading it). I did add some barley straw last year although I believe the planting is doing the job now.  

First Rockery

Posted: 13/03/2015 at 23:51

Ah...Andy,  if you are near Bonhard... take a wander along to Branklyn Garden to get inspiration for placing your rocks there. Perhaps you know this but if not... they've a great scree rock garden and plant sales too. Gardens like this help for placing rocks.

Popped in to Linden and Glendoick today (both on Perth-Dundee road) there are lots of small plants there which are perfect for starting up a new rockery. Glendoick have a nice table height display also.

Its been a while since I made my first rockery (age 10) but my tip would be lots of fine grit both in your soil mix and as a mulch. You will never have too much grit for your rock plants. I never spoiled my young plants with any feeding and they did ok. Remember plants like Lewisia like to be planted on their side so the water drains away from the foliage rosette.

I have spent some considerable time placing/grouping rocks together over the years - its great fun. Enjoy building yours. Use your larger stones as key stones and work out from there. Remember to stand back and look at your stone groupings from all angles you will view it from in your garden so you get a feel of the look you are going for - its your rockery after all. Expect to have most of your rocks/stones covered in soil and plants. Your stones are ledges, really only there for structure and drainage.

Don't rush your build in one day. Build a bit, come back to it, take it apart if you are unsure, rebuild it again and repeat if necessary. Your stone combinations will begin to work and you'll wonder why you were ever unsure about what you were building.

Another garden for some serious rockery inspiration is Edinburgh Botanics - do take a look at their new alpine display in tufa rock too, its taking shape now. There's a nice rockery scree at St Andrews Botanics too. 

Good luck - have fun

Acanthus mollis

Posted: 06/01/2015 at 21:06

Thanks for your answers everyone – my biggest surprise is that I'm seeing flower growth so far on in January and I know it has no chance of succeeding.

Lily Pilly,  I’m surprised to hear your miscanthus went to mush (although I haven’t grown one in a few years) but agree new growth should come on through it come spring

Hostafan1, a tough plant sounds good to me!

Nutcutlet, my gunnera leaves have turned to mush before I have protected it and it has come back. Interesting to hear you don’t relate temps to performance. I’ve moved this plant so I expected it to sulk before flowering. I hope the early season flowers it’s trying to send up aren’t my lot for 2015!

Acanthus mollis

Posted: 06/01/2015 at 19:16

Hi everyone 

New to this plant - is winter protection needed for the crown? Soggy flower buds are turning brown just now – should I be cutting them all back? This plant is a good size but yet to share its first summer flowers. Still have many leaves (suffering a little too). Should this plant be cut back to the ground to regrow fresh in Spring?

My garden is in Perthshire, Scotland and my plant is in an open sunny location. 

Looking after my gunnera

Posted: 30/09/2014 at 23:14

Hi there, Leslie 

Just spotted this thread. Perhaps you are sorted here. Just wanted to add my Gunnera isn't in water but I have been overwintering it outside for many years now and it has come though some pretty cold winters here in Scotland.

It's all about protecting the crown. I've an old 2007 blog on what I still do with photos see 

Good luck with yours. If it were mine, I might take it out of the water (because you can) protect the crown as I do above and store it in a sheltered corner outside. I don't imagine you'd need to keep yours in a greenhouse - perhaps you could bubble wrap your pot for really cold spells.

Garden Pond Wildlife: Photos, Video & ID's

Posted: 06/08/2014 at 23:01

Mosquito larvae spinning around the surface of my smaller rock pool pond gave neck shivers to watch back in July 2011. If you've got movement in still water this could be it. At this time my pond pump wasn't running.

Video footage can be viewed at until I can work out how to embed it here. Meantime, here's a cropped video screen grab...




Adding videos to forum

Posted: 06/08/2014 at 22:24

Thanks, Dove - will give that a try  

Ha-ha  and thanks, fidget -  yes that's a successful way to share video and I added a link in that way when I couldn't embed my video. However, it did show a box and it looks like my video is behind it somewhere. I'm going to email as Dove above suggests. Love your video capture btw 

Hogweed - no bother 

Adding videos to forum

Posted: 06/08/2014 at 14:50

After following instructions given through tree icon, my video hasn't appeared in forum thread. It is suggesting it didn't upload. As I have a youtube account I thought it would be easy from there and that was an option given too.

I would like to encourage others to share video footage in this thread too so it would be helpful to know how to achieve this. 

The thread I was trying to upload to is this one 



Garden Pond Wildlife: Photos, Video & ID's

Posted: 06/08/2014 at 14:05

Pond skaters were the first to be spotted moving in to my garden pond (well on top really) and soon after water beetles arrived bobbing briefly on the surface before scurrying around the bottom - great fun to watch

Video below captured back in April showing Pond skater doing a bit of sunbathing as the water beetle runs along under it. (Please note some background music has been added to this capture).

Tried adding video directly but it doesn't appear to be working for the moment so meantime here is the direct link to video on youtube and a video screen grab cropped...



 Video should be showing above.

Garden Pond Wildlife: Photos, Video & ID's

Posted: 06/08/2014 at 13:59

Thanks for the ID suggestion, Victoria 

I did wonder if they could be backswimmers. I also considered the one on the left could just be at a different stage of growth (younger than the other) but its shape seemed so different.

Thanks for adding your image, Lily 

That’s exactly the sort of real images I hoped members might add. That will help all pond newbies to spot dragonfly larvae among mud or blanket weed lifted from our ponds – brilliant!

1 to 10 of 30

Discussions started by shirlsgw

Acanthus mollis

Grateful for any winter care tips :-) 
Replies: 10    Views: 1266
Last Post: 08/01/2015 at 11:05

Adding videos to forum

Video space shows blank square - what went wrong? 
Replies: 4    Views: 1051
Last Post: 06/08/2014 at 22:24

Garden Pond Wildlife: Photos, Video & ID's

Can you share images of yours and help with ID's? 
Replies: 7    Views: 1495
Last Post: 06/08/2014 at 23:01
3 threads returned