It’s two years since we built our garden pond, a project we started at the beginning of the first lockdown when there were restrictions on leaving our homes. Looking back it’s one of the best decisions we’ve made. The pond has continued to provide fascinating opportunities to observe and enjoy a variety of wildlife and plants.

Fascinating Pond Life
Fascinating Pond Life

What surprised us was the speed with which the water creatures made themselves at home. A couple of days after we filled the pond with water we spotted some pond skaters. They were soon followed by water boatmen and whirligig beetles. Three weeks on and we were thrilled to see a smooth newt patrolling the depths of the pond.

Next to arrive were the speedy, colourful dragonflies. The pioneers were broad bodied chasers with the stunning slate-blue males easy to identify. They were joined by the golden-brown females who dipped the tip of their abdomen into the water depositing eggs onto the vegetation. Since then we’ve seen many more dragonflies including the common darter, emperor and southern hawker.

The plants have continued to grow and flower, attracting bees, butterflies and other pollinators. At the moment we are enjoying the rich yolk-yellow flowers of marsh marigold. We love to watch birds bathing in the shallows of the pond and we’ve even spotted a badger taking a drink, caught on the overnight camera trap.

Why not help nature and have some fun over the Easter holidays making a mini wildlife pond? Devon Wildlife Trust offer advice on how to build one.

You will need a watertight container e.g. an old washing up bowl, around 20-30cm deep; old bricks, rocks, pebbles and gravel; pond plants.

Choose a spot; your pond will need light but not full sunlight all day. Dig a hole and sink your container or just have it sitting on top. If the container isn’t watertight then add a piece of pond liner. Add a layer of gravel and rocks. Fill your pot with rainwater (tap water contains chemicals). Start planting, you only need two or three plants for a small container. Use small logs or stones to create a range of depths and a slope for creatures to climb in and out.

Stand back and admire your work. It won’t be long until the wildlife arrives.

Sheila Meades

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