Sunday, August 16, 2009

Water for the wildlife

Having lived with a garden pond for many years, it was always our aim to create one here at La Pasera. We bought pond liner before moving here in the knowledge that one day we would create a small watery haven for wildlife. The area has few natural fresh water areas but an abundance of amphibians including frogs, salamanders and toads. Whilst out walking you can often see tractor tyre tracks with numerous tadpoles fighting for survival. We have designed the pond to encourage amphibians, water beetles, dragonfly and damselfly, birds and other creatures that need a constant supply of fresh water. The short slide show illustrates the construction of the pond and shows various environments that allow access to the water - a pebble beach, rocks and pebble outcrops and grass verge. The pond is small but large enough to sustain water levels and balance. We have installed a small solar powered fountain to help maintain the oxygenation of the water and planted several types of water loving plants including a large bundle of oxygenating weed that I got from my Dad's pond. The fountain is gentle but helps to add sound and movement to the area. With the addition of a small bundle of Barley straw, we have soon seen the water become crystal clear and teaming with insect life including water beetles, water boatmen and water snail. Sadly there doesn't seem to be any evidence of developing tadpoles - maybe they have been eaten by the beetles? We have however, spotted several tiny baby toads in the bog garden that now adjoins the pond. The bird life frequently use the pebble beach to bathe and drink with the Jays being the most acrobatic - holding onto the grass bank with one foot/claw whilst dipping in and quickly out of the water. The pond area now needs planting up and allowing time to establish. We sited the pond in an area that enables the bog garden to thrive and which is the natural drainage area for water that will drain from the patio and higher garden. Wentworth and Gawber have now decided to use the pond as a daily source of drinking water preferring it to the flouride rich tap water that serves the village. Throughout the build of the pond Gawber has been with us at every stage, carefully examining every new stone, sniffing every new plant and deliberating just how far he can venture into this mirrored moving mass that has swimming beetles and insects that can walk on water.

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