On Gardener's World Nick Bailey put a small half barrel pond into a semi shaded place in a garden to encourage wildlife.
He mentioned the 'wildlife corridors' between gardens that allow creatures to travel between gardens. Ensure creatures can go under or through fences to find their own best habitats.
The smallest of water areas in a garden will increase the number of insects, amphibians and birds that will visit.
To copy the Gardeners World barrel pond:
- Nick chose a new half barrel (avoid barrels that have held alcohol before)
- Any clean container holding water would be fine.
- He dug down into the ground for amphibians
- A raised pond on a patio would also encourage certain species of wildlife and birds to visit.
- He made sure the container pond surface was level with a spirit level.
- And improvised some shelves around the back edge for the aquatic plants using bricks to different levels. Grey engineering bricks are best.
- The front space was left clear for a dwarf waterlily. Check depth - it may need raising up - off the base of the container.
- On the back brick shelves he placed tall Equisetum japonicum, flowering Iris versicolor, and Carex pendula (though we prefer Carex acutiformis as it is more water tolerant)
- Toward the front he placed Mentha cervina (available in both purple and white).
- In the deeper section he placed a Miniature waterlily - Pygmaea Rubra. Raised on a brick so the level of water over the top of the basket was correct)
- Or you could use a Dwarf waterlily - Aurora is apricot in colour, pink/red colours would be Perrys Baby Red or Xiafei and white/cream would be candidissima and a pale yellow to peach would be Paul Hariot.
- The container would usually need a portion of oxygenating plant - either Ceratophyllum demersum or Myriophyllum spicatum but Nick used a black dye to control the dye and an oxygenating plant was not included. Possibly try dyofix.co.uk.
To enlarge this wildlife habitat:
- He blended the pond into the surrounding border area by repeating the Carex outside the water making a visual transition from pond to garden
- This allows amphibians a continuous emergence zone of foliage to hide in when they come and go from the water area.
- He planted a Ligularia similar to dentata Desdemona with round purple tinted leaves outside the water too.
It was a great TV piece showing that a project like this can be undertaken in a weekend. It will help the wildlife around to visit your garden all year round.
Every garden should have water in it and the wildlife will appreciate your efforts and visit you very quickly.