by Kate and Len Lucas
There is no doubt that as soon as you introduce anything into the garden with water in it the wildlife will find out
without you having to tell them. In the past we have made room for a water feature, currently, we do not have one
of any kind but we do like the sound of running water. So here are our experiences over the years which might
help explain where we have got to.
In one of Geoff Hamilton’s paradise garden videos, he explained how to make a water feature in your own garden. So one Boxing Day we did just that and dug a very large one in the back garden of our own bungalow in rural Suffolk. It was great, the frogs loved it, the birds loved it and so did the fish. This pond had no pumps, filters or fountains it was just a big hole in the ground with a heavy-duty butyl rubber liner and filled with water.
What we didn’t realise was something else was also alerted to an available fresh fish buffet. We came home one day to find almost all the fish stranded on the ground and most of them had been cut in two. Low and behold sitting on our newly erected gazebo, overlooking the pond, was one of our most dazzling birds—a kingfisher full of our fish.
We had to make netted frames to cover the entire pond when we went out. We sold that house complete with the pond feeling better equipped if we ever got involved with one again. And we did when we bought our present bungalow in south Lincolnshire in 2009.
It already had a water feature but this time complete with a pump and waterfall. Not as large as the one we had before but very nice and the sound of running water now made a big difference. We added another pump with filters to keep the water clean and stop it from going green and murky.
We now had a grass snake basking on the water lilies as well as frogs. We stocked more fish and the goldfish did breed to produce more, which, if you didn’t know baby goldfish start off black and slowly turn gold. So what on earth could be wrong with what at first sight might look like a wildlife park in our back garden?
Well, here we go again as more unwanted hungry wildlife showed up in the form of mallard ducks and herons which, like the kingfisher, also have fish in their diet.
We made more netted frames, it stopped the birds but wasn’t in the least bit attractive. The filters in the pumps always needed attention in order to remove the constant build-up of algae and it soon became obvious that our wildlife loved us more than we loved them. The water feature was wonderful to behold but the effort to keep it that way became an unbearable chore. Eventually, we sold all the fish, the rockery, the filters and two pumps before draining the pond and laying a patio right outside our conservatory.
What we learned over the years is that a water feature like a pond brings as many problems as pleasantries. We would have loved to carry on but it was just too much work for two pensioners.
So if you would like a water feature next year do some research in between mince pies. Pumps, power supply, filters and fancy stuff will all need attention. And it was true that our first quite large pond didn’t have any of that kit, our only problem was the birds. A small feature might be just what you need especially if all you want is the sound of running water. And right now we are considering having the sound of running water, complete with bird song, via a Wi-Fi-driven little box.
Old we might be but we are definitely on board with anything that will make our life easier and enjoyable- even if it has the word “digital” in it. So we know what Santa is bringing us.