Half barrel ponds are great for small gardens. It just so happened the one I set up last year needed a bit of a facelift.
Here’s how I got on.
As shown in the picture above the area around the pond was covered in gravel. The whole garden was awash with it when I moved in around two years ago and it has been my mission since then to rid this evil.
The exorcism didn’t work so after moving several back breaking buckets of gravel and dead soil the bare bones of the area became visible.
The fish and plants were placed in temporary accommodation, other wise known as a tub-it. How versatile are these fantastic devices? I use my three for everything from mixing compost to, well, storing fish apparently!
So two goldfish, Iris laevigata ‘Variegata’, Gunnera magellanica, Typha minima, Juncus effusus ‘Spiralis’, Equisetum scirpoides and an unknown Nymphaea were all sweating away in this tight panic inducing bucket.
The area was edged with timber cut at different lengths and placed on end. I like the informal feel it creates and it matches the rest of the lower garden. The borders in the lower garden form a spiral around a central paved area and are planted with a great variety of plants to create an informal but modern cottage garden. Cottage fusion I like to call it. Although at present a lot of the fusion is missing thanks to the Winter!
The ground around the pond was prepared with top soil, compost and some fertiliser in the shape of blood, fish and bone. Although it smells a little, is it wrong that I quite like the smell?, it is by far one of the best fertilisers available. On top of this I regularly apply a foliar seaweed feed and mulch annually with compost from the local amenity site. Food waste is collected fortnightly and composted by the local authority. The compost produced seems to be great for the garden and its free!
Finally, the planting began! I always have an abundance of spare plants hanging around the garden. I am a massive fan of propagation and collecting plants and as a result I had most of what I needed at my disposal. Digitalis purpurea, Geum ‘Mrs Bradshaw’, Astrantia bavarica, Carex buchananii, Leucojum aestivum, Hyacinthoides non-scripta, Allium sphaerocephalon and a hardy Geranium were all thrown in. I’m not a Geranium lover and I’m as surprised as the next person that I’ve actually planted one. The bees like them though so I guess that’s reason enough for me to include it.
As I needed a little more structure I popped to my local botanical garden, as they have a great weekly plant sale, and I came back with a gorgeous Viburnum opulus, which I’ve placed behind the pond, a Primula bulleyana, and a Persicaria bistorta ‘Superbum’. And that’s it! I’m really happy with the final result and I’m hoping that it will help to pull in even more wildlife to the garden.