Saturday, May 18, 2013

Water in the garden

As I write this blog post and stare through the raindrops on the study window it all seems a bit pointless to be talking about the need for water in the garden. We have had one of the wettest and coldest springs for a few years, much the same as the rest of Europe from what we see and read.

View out of the study window - a brief spell of sunshine

In the brief spells of good weather it reminds me how important it is to have several aquatic habitats and features in a garden. Whenever the sun does shine through, the birds and insects re-emerge and make use of the various water baths we have around. Blackbirds, goldfinch, greenfinch, sparrows, siskins and many more really enjoy a fresh drink and bath whenever the weather permits.

In addition to the bird baths we have a smallish pond that is home to about 16 or so fish. We started off with 4, 1 died and then three years later we had about 30. Some were transferred to the pond at the Donkey Sanctuary and the rest remained here only to be attacked by our visiting Heron. We thought we'd lost the lot over winter but as the weather warmed, about 16 emerged, seemingly unscathed by their ordeal. 

The pond, surrounding rocks and bog garden also act as a suitable habitat for a variety of garden friendly visitors including frogs, toads, hedgehogs, small and large lizards and, a whole array of insects.

 Once the better weather arrives we will be treated to displays of dragonflies and damselflies as they emerge as nymphs and metamorphose before our eyes on the grasses that border the water.

We have a sawn off barrel on the terrace that is also filled with water, a rock and a couple of water-loving pot plants and occupied by several large toad tadpoles. They are already growing limbs and will soon be on their way, controlling the slug and snail population in the vegetable garden.

We also harvest rain water from the roof of the shed which helps water the vegetables and fruit when the warmer weather hits. All in all, the addition of a few receptacles for collecting water helps create and promote habitats and refreshment for a whole host of animals, birds and insects. Wentworth and Gawber also prefer to drink fresh rain water rather than tap water and can often be found drinking from a variety of bowls and dishes we have around the garden. It always leaves me wondering how unnatural our tap water must be, because given the choice, they will always choose fresh rain water. 

Wentworth at his vantage point in the bog garden


  1. Sadly I don't have a pond, but I do make sure there is water for the birds all year round. I love watching then dip into their hanging water pot.

    All the pictures are great, but I particularly like the last one of Wentworth relaxing in the bog garden :)

    Pol will drink tap water, but only from a bowl that is never washed with detergent. In summer she likes to drink from the watering can and gets quite miffed if I forget to leave it full for her after watering the plants.

    1. Thanks Marigold - watching the birds is a pleasure. The blackbirds usually dominate and make the others hang around until finished. Wentworth and Gawber also like the watering cans.


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