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Saga of the pond


I have at last got round to writing a blog about the pond which we had re-done in November.
As it stood it was a complete mess, covered in netting and string to keep the Heron out and subsiding at the back so there was little water in the front portion, making it easier for the Heron to get in.

Even with all the netting the Heron still came, ducked under string across the bridge and was adamant that it was going to get in. Just to prove that a decoy Heron doesn’t work, here’s a picture of the real one with one plastic and one concrete Heron!

So it was bite the bullet and spend a fortune on having it re-done! We found a man who did just that, checked his website and comments and he came out and looked. Originally it was going to be repaired with new lining and would still be a raised pond, but on inspection the walls were cracked and with not the right amount of footings for the weight, so new plan was dig down, then it wouldn’t sink! He came in June and it dragged on until they would start on the 5th November.
Before they came we wanted the massive Laurel removed which spread and covered about eight feet of ground and covered the oil tank. Cutting it down was not the problem it was removing the huge stump that was left.

Lots of sawing, lots of digging and lots of swearing and it was beating us! Then across the road on a new building plot were three men with a mini-digger! Quick chat and one came to look and said they would have a go at it. The little digger was tilted up on it’s tracks and looking very precarious, but by this time all three men were determined that it wouldn’t beat them. More digging and chipping away at it and eventually it was out. Huge bits of trunk some a foot across! Or 30 cm for those of you younger and who think automatically in metric!
They took some persuading to take any money, but we insisted as it saved us so much time and effort.

Eventually as it does, time marched on and 5th November arrived as did the workmen, containers for the fish and another mini digger. It took all day to catch the fish and pump out the water, which I insisted had to be pumped onto the adjacent grass to make sure that any of the fish were not dumped in the ditch beside us. And we found several that had escaped the catching. The resultant black sludge on the grass is still being absorbed but no doubt it will do the grass and garden good!

Start of the day before it all disappeared.

The containers for the fish.

End of day one – empty and the liner gone.

Men at work – excuse the junk on the kitchen windowsill!

By the 7th November we had a big empty space.

Like all workmen, builders etc., you don’t get their undivided attention! Days got skipped while they disappeared to someone else, days passed as he waited for the liner to be delivered, more days waiting for the pump and fittings, arguments over the lack of a plan for me to look at. A really nice chap but so annoying, every answer was “You’ll love it when it’s done”, but I would have liked a plan!
Lots of days between workmen for me to take photo’s of progress.

Eventually by the 7th December it was all paid and finished. Very bare, but being December not much you can do about that.

Not much later the pump stopped working! Several phone calls leaving messages, emails and more calls and eventually by the beginning of February we had a new pump and the saga (hopefully) is finished.

I bought new metal stakes to string the fishing line to stop the Heron just walking into the pond. Looking out one day the Heron had landed on the lawn, so I carried on watching to see if the nylon line would deter it. It spent some time prodding about in the Heather bed where the frogs tend to hide and then wandered over to the pond. Ducking it’s head under the top line and lifting it’s foot over the bottom line it stood (very majestically) in the pond! So it was more line closer together.

A few days later and travelling along the road not far from us, what was lying dead in the middle of the road – the Heron! Probably hit by a lorry as they fly too high across that road, to get to the creek, for it to be a car. Sorry as I am to see anything killed on the road, I thought that particular problem might be solved, but there is one that is still about further down the road, but haven’t seen it here, so keeping my fingers crossed. At least the fish now have 4-5 feet depth of water.

With everything springing into life now the surrounding area of the pond is slowly being planted, even if it is clay soil, they will have to contend with it. Still stark, but getting there and the sun on the waterfall makes it look good. Rabbits are trimming things back, even on the waterfall area! Grrr!

With a huge Gunnera given to me which is springing into life hopefully, the planting should give it some life soon.

For all the length and time, money, waiting and mess, was it worth it? I think so and it hopefully will only get better as things grow. Would I recommend the pond man? If you’re not in a hurry, don’t want plans or to know what you are paying for before hand! Possibly.

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Come summer all will be forgiven I bet, looking like lots of potential there

2 Apr, 2019


Gosh, I did enjoy that blog! It was better than the magazines! I loved the way your impatience, frustration and excitement came out in your descriptive words. I have to say though...what a result! Absolutely superb. I am sad to say there is no animal life evident in my pond du to the same problem. I might have a go withthe fishing twine eventually...certainly if I ever get any frogspawn. Well done though...brilliant job. :)

2 Apr, 2019


wonderful blog and I look forward to seeing it as it matures etc.

2 Apr, 2019


It looks wonderful we'll worth the cursing and hard work. For future if drill holes in stumps and pour baking soda it will rot and get rid of the stump. My friend years ago had a very large heavy metal grid cut to shape to fit over the top of her pond to prevent herons getting her fish.

2 Apr, 2019


Many congratulations for going for it, visualising it and putting up with it! Its going to be wonderful - so looking forward to seeing it int he summer!(And what a bonus to have that as a view from the kitchen window - you'll have every one of us envious...)

2 Apr, 2019


too bad about the poor bird...and the pump's demise. The result of all your work and worry is fabulous, though! I especially like the waterfall and the gunnera~ can't wait to see that develop in the weeks to come. I have to ask: is that one of the "girls"..with her beak in the water? I thought so at first glance but she hadn't moved since the previous picture... stone or concrete? lol... How are the birds? dear Boris still with you?
I've probably told you about my niece's solution for herons in her pond? she bought a very lifelike 'gator! and it worked on her 'pteradactyls' ! She was determined to protect her expensive koi... and she did admit that the gator was a good deterent.. fully jointed and looked quite real and it fooled the herons because the jointed tail and head seemed to move with the gentle current from the pump and bubbler.
It's so exciting to see it coming to life... my "pond" is still under 2 ft of snow... longest winter on record... (trying to be philosophical) :-((

3 Apr, 2019


Oh wow, loved the alligator!!

3 Apr, 2019


Love your pond and your account of its construction.

Our pond is empty of life at the moment and I think it's going to stay that way. We have spent so much on Koi carp in the past and seen the pond depleted by heron who find us whatever impediment we place in their way/sight.
In any case have little time now for the pond, or for gardening, so for us it's a case of enjoying what there is.

Doesn't help that there is a swan sanctuary not far over the nature reserve. Guess the heron are attracted to the water there.

3 Apr, 2019


It looks absolutely lovely! I’m just about to rebuild lien for the second year in a row! Are you having plants in the pond too?! Waterlilies would look fab in there

3 Apr, 2019


Hopefully Grandad gardener with the summer and the extra flowers, Gunnera and reeds I shall forget how annoying he really was and just admire the pond. Though it will grieve me to admit what he said was right about loving it when it's done!

3 Apr, 2019


Thanks Karen, I try to make my blogs interesting and I'm glad you could see how frustrated I was with him. All the plan was in his head, but you do like to have a rough idea of what you are paying for - don't you?
We have frogs in the drainage ditch beside us, you can hear them calling, but we have never had any in the pond before, perhaps because it was a raised one. If we did get them now, would the fish leave the spawn or tadpoles alone?

3 Apr, 2019


Not sure about the stunning bit yet Seaburn, but it's a work in progress and hopefully it will improve with time. The birds still come to bathe and find it easier now than balancing on the water weed as they used to.

3 Apr, 2019


We would have poisoned the stump Thrupenny but we wanted it out of the way. It must have been years old and used to spread eight feet along the side of the oil tank and five feet the other way. Plus shooting upwards at least ten feet! It may have been a specimen plant once, or part of a hedge, but like most of the shrubs and trees when we moved in, it was neglected. Not heard the one about baking soda, it would certainly be cheaper than the stump killer we bought for something else! As for the metal grid, the pond is miles too big to do that with, 20ft x 15ft, or somewhere there!

3 Apr, 2019


The thing was Stera, that as it WAS the view from the kitchen window, it was depressing looking at it. It started with I'll spend about £3.000 getting it tidied, then it crept up, and up, but when you get to my age, everything has to be done NOW, I just don't have the luxury of waiting for years - I might not be here!

3 Apr, 2019


It is a shame Lori when us humans manage to kill things on the roads, living in the countryside it's not an uncommon sight unfortunately. The bird peering in the water is a ceramic duck, probably a 'shelf sitter' originally and bought from a thrift shop, but it has to come in for the winter. It used to sit on the wall of the old pond, but OH wandered round until he found just the right level of rock to put it on. Love the idea of a life-size articulated Alligator, but would our English Herons recognise a predator that they had never seen? Can't believe that you still have so much snow!

3 Apr, 2019


If your pond is still in existence Eirlys, I am sure that there is some life in it, dragonflies, water beetles and such like, so though it might not have your Koi any longer it will be doing it's bit for the native wild life, water to drink and bathe as well for the birds. We are not far from the Welney Wetlands Centre where they have hundreds of swans and we are on their flight path, so we see them fly over and hear them at night as well. Last year we had hundreds of them on the field beside us gleaning the sugar beet remains and one of the volunteers came and spied on them from our field, trying to find one particular swan!

3 Apr, 2019


Thanks Dan, as I said it can only improve I hope. We put in the lilies that were in the old pond, but the fish have uprooted most of them, though we thought we had planted them properly! Some are still surviving in their baskets so hopefully we will get some coverage of the pond surface. Also some of the weed was saved and some weed for aeration. Best of luck with your rebuild, hopefully we will see some pics.

3 Apr, 2019


Honeysuckle, I've never mixed frogs & fish, the fish will eat the tadpoles although a few will be missed for passing herons to eat;-)

4 Apr, 2019


I did wonder GrandadGardener whether they would mix! Perhaps the frogs will know better than me and go for the other pond without the fish.

4 Apr, 2019


Your pond looks wonderful now, well worth all that hard work I'm sure. I gave up on fish years ago because the heron used to pop into the garden at about 11am everyday for a snack before lunch in the park ponds. Masses of frogs now which I prefer.

6 Apr, 2019


Thanks Ginellie, hopefully it can only improve. the plants have to contend with the clay soil we have here which wasn't improved when they dug out the pond as it just has even heavier subsoil with it. Saw the Heron yesterday, don't think it landed, but was scouting it out I'm sure!

9 Apr, 2019


I have always enjoyed your blogs Honey, this time you have surpassed yourself, I thoroughly enjoyed all of it, could feel your frustration with matey and his "no plan but you will love it" answer but do see what he meant, it looks a treat with what you have already placed and think what it's going to look like when that Gunnera struts its stuff, your plants start to spread and you add even more, which obviously you will.
With the pond being so big I don't know the answer as regards protection, much too big for a net to be any use really so guess you have to persevere with the twine, shame about the heron, living where you are no doubt another will soon find its way, here in my garden the frogs do go in both ponds, we do get tadpoles every year in the bottom one but the fish enjoy a feast in the other one, sometimes if I'm lucky I get there first with my net to transfer the spawn, other times nature takes its course. Looking forward to seeing all of it as the time passes Honey, enjoy it all, in my opinion it really was worth it...

11 Apr, 2019


Thanks Lincslass, I saw the Heron a couple of days ago. Now whether it had landed and didn't get in, or whether it was in the process, I don't know. Just saw it as it swooped back over the barn, but do get paranoid about it all. Even during the day when I am weeding and there is a huge splash in the pond, I have to dash and look! Knowing it's not the Heron I have visions of an Otter or Mink creating havoc - but it's only the big fish which jump right out of the water and make a heck of a splash.
I go and look lovingly at the Gunnera which seems to have survived the harsh root trimming that the previous owner gave it, but can't wait to see it throw out some big leaves. At least it will cover some of that ghastly Leylandii which are now just stems really with the branches on the outside still green and giving some protection.
I have planted two Hydrangeas and the Snowball Viburnum at the back to block some of it, plants that grew on their own and needed a home.

11 Apr, 2019


Hi honeysuckle! I was reading the comments above and remembered that I read somewhere that in large ponds there is often a shelter built into the side of the pond, or on a ledge, in deeper water where small fry may hide and (in my climate) it's a place for overwintering. My pond is nowhere near the size of yours but I used the 4ft depth and a large chimney flue (ceramic, approx 24 x 8) as a shelter spot, which can be camouflaged with reeds or water plants.. Wonder if this might be of some help?

12 Apr, 2019


That's a good idea Lori, I have various pots and things that would look fine in the pond and as you say could be camouflaged, just the job for those clay pipes my daughter off-loaded onto me!

12 Apr, 2019



12 Apr, 2019


I have conifers at the back of our bottom pond, they need lopping, they act as a windbreak, also provide shade for me and my precious Acers, I have been tying the lover branches together for years now to form an arch hoping to hide the dead looking bits, don't want to remove them as they hide my cubby, its where I hide compost bins, wheelbarrow, spare bits and bobs, also overwinter anything that needs a bit of protection but not in the greenhouse, in other words Honey, it hides a multitude of sins, lol...

13 Apr, 2019

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