If there’s one feature you can introduce to your garden to help wildlife; it’s a pond. Almost regardless of how large a patch you have, introducing a bit of still water absolutely transforms your garden in terms of its value to living things.
One of the things you should be thinking about is making sure all creatures have access to the water resource. Make sure there are sloping banks. Make sure it’s not steep sided with nasty steep bricks to stop things getting in, or more importantly out. If a hedgehog falls into a pond and it can’t escape then it is going to drown. It’s got to be a place where creatures from the land can come and drink.
But also look at what might be under the surface. Simon King says: “Ponds are throbbing with life, they’re a tremendous asset to your garden. And offer endless pleasure as well as being a fantastic resource for wildlife.” If you enjoy pond dipping, the Field Studies Council provide charts that give a good broad overview of life in fresh water and then you can at least narrow down your finds into families like dragonflies.
If you don’t have a patch big enough to really go to town and build a big pond with a pond liner, there are ways you can introduce still water into your garden with smaller pre-built ponds like the Wildlife Whisperer Pond which was developed by our ambassador, Simon King. And is available to buy from his website.
It’s a one stop garden pond, that’s built to look like real rock and it’s really robust. When it’s in the ground it looks good. You don’t have to dig very deep, or get very much soil out of the way. It’s designed so that you dig just enough to take the bucket shaped base out, along with the areas for the planters. Part of it then stays above water with the lip around the edge; which in itself offers a habitat. A shallow area can be filled with gravel and marsh plants and deep area for life and emergent vegetation.
In terms of habitats around the pond, you might want to provide some extra cover. At Wildlife World we have produced neat Frogilos – effectively little ceramic pots, but they’re exactly the right size for a frog or toad to find sanctuary. “Do remember that amphibians live up to their name,” adds Simon. “They spend some of their life in the water and a lot of their life on land. And they couldn’t be more useful in the garden. Frogs and toads and newts all come out at night foraging for invertebrates and that includes slugs, and snails, and other bugs that aren’t necessarily the gardener’s friend.”
To install the Wildlife Whisperer pond, choose your location and then mark out the area you need to dig by placing stones around the drum and planters. Then lift up the pond and dig out. If you need to check again, just place the pond back down and lean on it (it’s very robust) and the pressure should help you to see where you need to dig further. Once installed it can be filled with plants and extra habitats like the Wildlife Frogilo to entice life in.