Posted by: sweetpea | April 10, 2007

Spring cleaning the pond

Having visited Kim a few weekends ago and admired how full of life her wildlife pond was, I felt inspired to tackle the pond in the garden.  It is something I have been meaning to do since I moved into the house 5 years ago, and I suspect that it has been a long time since it was cleaned judging by what I found, but somehow it’s either been too cold or I’ve been too busy!  So with a week off I figured I could split my time between the pond and the lottie.

I think I was a little too ambitious to think that it would only take me a day to clear it out and refill it, in the end it took me three days overall, although admittedly I didn’t spend the whole time messing about in the pond. 

img_8583-pond-before.jpg

The pond before the big spring clean, I guess it doesn’t look that bad, but believe me it was overgrown and muddy.

I started on the Saturday morning by beginning to drain the water out, first of all by using a bucket, before I remembered reading something about using the pump to extract the water, which in fact worked a treat 🙂  Whilst the pond was draining, I set about trying to remove the existing pond plants, with great difficulty as they had got so overgrown and tangled up.  In fact one clump was so big and heavy I actually had to leave it in until the pond was completely drained before I could manage to heave it out.  Whilst removing the plants I came across a clump of frogspawn, an exciting find given that I thought the pond was completely devoid of life. 

After lunch I picked up the Whizzgo car I’d booked and headed to Dean’s garden centre for a spot of shopping.  My main motivation for clearing out the pond was to turn it into a wildlife pond, so I thought it would benefit from a few more marginal plants.  It would also need something to provide a surface cover, and some more oxygenators.  So I bought Caltha palustris, Mentha aquatica, Equisetum Japonicum, Carex, Aponogeton distachyos, and some oxygenators.

Sunday I set about clearing out the thick layer of mud from the bottom, hard work given that there was still quite a bit of water in the bottom too that the pump could no longer remove.  In amongst the mud and dead leaves I was a little surprised to find 2 fish, and excited to find a toad. I now had a dilemma as to what to do with the fish,  I didn’t really want to put them back in to a wildlife pond, and yet they weren’t mine to re-home. Luckily a quick email to Gustav meant I had permission to re-home them via freecycle (although I received a slap on the wrist as I’d forgotten that it wasn’t permissable to offer pets), so they are now swimming around in a larger pond with some new fishy friends.

img_8586-pond-bottom.jpg

You can see the very overgrown reed (theres a plastic basket in there somewhere!) and all the mud in the bottom amongst other bits and pieces.

I popped the toad in a container with some pond weed, and continued to clear out the mud, leaving a small amount in the bottom to apparently help plants etc settle into the ‘new’ pond as it where.  I then set about cleaning the pump as it was all clogged up with silt, whilst I started to refill the pond.  The pump hasn’t been functioning as it should for the past year or so, and this is probably partly because it was getting all clogged up, but also because the pipe running from it up to the tank above keeps coming loose. So having looked in my book, I figured that what was needed to solve the problem was a hose clip.

Monday morning I popped into town to purchase a hose clip, or two as I’d forgotten to actually see what size I needed!  It did the trick, and I soon had the pump working again.  Once the tank was full the water started to flow down into the upper pool, and after a quick pruning of the overgrown groundcover there reappeared the little stream running into the upper pool, or as the birds like to call the local spa.  In fact whilst I was standing by the pond-side, a robin and a chaffinch came to enjoy the fresh clear water, and they were so excited that the water was nice and clean again….no, really, they did look as if they were excited, and were chirping away.

img_8587-pond-ready-to-refill.jpg

All cleaned up and ready to refill

The last job was to try and salvage some decent pieces of the existing plants, and repot them before placing them back in the pond with the new additions, the toad and frogspawn.

img_8590-pond-after.jpg

The new clean pond, you can actually see the bottom now, and the pump works 🙂

The pond does look a little bare at the moment since the plants are only small, but it’s great to be able to see the bottom again, and at the moment there are 6 toads in residence, 2 female and 4 male I think, so hopefully we will have toad-spawn in the near future.  I remember there being toads around when I first moved in, but I hadn’t seen them or any spawn for the past couple of years, I just need to discourage the ducks now.  I fetched a jar or two of water from Kim’s pond including some Daphnia and water snails, so hopefully the wildlife will start flooding in.

 It’s so exciting, and was well worth the 3-day effort!

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Responses

  1. Are you able to post a picture of the newly restored pond? It would be great to see the results of your efforts.

  2. Hi Angelfeet, Yes I do plan to post some piccies too, just didn’t have time yesterday, will be adding them possibly today or later in the week.

  3. Hi Sweetpea, sorry, didn’t mean to rush you. It’s great to see the different stages and the final result.


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