Go wild with water: create your own habitat in wetlands and let nature thrive

Go wild with water: create your own habitat in wetlands and let nature thrive

  • Nigel Colborn gave advice on how to care for a pond with wild animals in bloom
  • The British garden expert recommends placing a spot in partial shade or in the sun
  • He says three main types of plants are the key to a healthy pond with clear water

According to conservationists, Britain has an estimated three million garden ponds. Many are purely decorative or houses for ornamental fish. However, there is a growing number to promote an abundance of nature. A successful wild animal pond looks beautiful from March to November. If you build one now and plant it, the first wild creatures could arrive within a few days. Your pond will be home to a wide variety of life within a year.

The ideal location is in partial shade or in the sun. The lowest point can be 60 cm. If you use a liner, you need a flat edge for border plants.

And of course you should always make sure that small children are supervised near ponds.

Water Dream: Beautiful water lilies in Beth Chatto Gardens, Colchester, Essex

Having some mud at the flat end provides amphibians with a drinking point and easy access. Place the pea shingle over the mud or directly on the liner. Avoid sharp or cracked grits that can damage the liner if you step on it.


Your new pond needs at least two years to balance. First, fibrous blanketweed can develop and the water can become as green and opaque as pea soup. But the "gunk phase" finally fades and as the plants mature, their natural diversity increases.

Plants are the key to a healthy pond with clear water. You can use algicide as a quick fix, but that won't solve the long-term algae problem. Choosing the right plants will.

Ponds need three main types of plants. Marginals line the water's edge and offer beauty, shade and protection for wildlife. These are varied and seasonally beautiful, so it is good to plant generously. The easiest way to grow them is in submerged plant baskets. Your roots should fuse to form a stable streak on the water.

Dragonflies and other aquatic insects climb higher before hatching into adults. Oxygenators are workhorse plants that live under water. They absorb nitrogen from the water and release oxygen to keep your pond water clean and to create a healthy aquatic habitat.

Plants like water lilies shade and cool the water with their floating leaves. A sheet coverage of 60 to 70 percent is ideal for WELT. The environment is important. Each cover creates a nature reserve. Moor garden plants like purple loosestrife, astilbe or iris in wetlands make your pond look natural.


With pond plants, it is crucial to adapt the plant size to the pond size. Reed, yellow iris and hemp agrimony go well with river banks. But they are too big for small ponds. Water mint smells pleasant, but creeps invasively.

For the shallows, blue water forget-me-nots and bright yellow royal mugs are the best for spring. For later there is purple Mimulus ringens and flowering bulrush, Butomus umbellatus.

Grasses like Bowles & # 39; Golden Sedge and bog cotton are longer attractive, as are bulrushes and horsetail.

Native oxygenated plants are best. Feathery hornwort, Ceratophyllum demersum, Starwort Callitriche stagnalis and curly pond herb, Potamogeton crispus, are all excellent. They are invasive but easy to control.

Among the floating leaves, water lilies are the obvious choice. But adapt the variety to the size of your pond. Ours is 3 x 1.5 m, so I chose modestly growing Nymphaea Chromatella.

For more information on building and maintaining ponds, visit the Wildlife Trusts at wildlifetrusts.org