Sheila Dearing, from RHS Rosemoor in Torrington, gives her top tips for creating a wildlife pond in your garden.
Creating a wildlife pond gives a new dimension to your garden; from a container pool to a lake, wildlife will benefit and you will have endless pleasure spotting the colonising wildlife.
If you have small children, make a bog garden, container pool or a bubble fountain like the one we have in the model gardens at Rosemoor. Birds love to perch on the rock, drink, and bathe in the bubbling water.
If your children are older, then a small wildlife pond will provide an opportunity to learn about the plants and creatures that inhabit a watery environment and have fun at the same time. Make your pond as large as possible, but remember that frogs will lay spawn even in puddles.
Don’t forget to make a shallow slope into the pond to allow easy access (in and out of the pond) for creatures from bugs to hedgehogs.
A small pond has to be carefully planted, as many water plants are quite thuggish and will soon take over. Although plants will colonise without any interference, most gardeners like to have some control and prefer to plant those species that can be relied upon to look attractive.
Try to make the planting on one side of the pond quite dense as this will provide cover for your wildlife.
Water plants thrive in different depths of water; some like to be in shallow water or mud at the margins such as marsh marigold (Caltha palustris), others prefer it a bit deeper at 5-15cm (2-6in), for example Irises, and others need to go still deeper at 30cm (1ft) including great water plantain (Alisma plantago-aquatica).
A small pond does not mean that you cannot have waterlilies, as there are some miniatures that will grow in as little as 10cm. Aim for a wide diversity in planting depth, height of growth above water and density of vegetation below the water surface to attract a myriad of creatures.
A wildlife pond is easy to make, quick to establish and a wonderful addition to any garden.
Take a look at our website for advice (rhs.org.uk/advice) on creating and planting a new pond and why not make it a summer project to be enjoyed by all ages?