Posted on 3rd October 2021
I suppose I have a fascination with water and having dug a pond last year I thought a 'stream' running through the garden would be appealing.
The original plan was to have a small stream about 16m long with a drop of 1.8m running at approximately 18,000lt/hr. The form of the bed was dug with 3 main 'falls' and a slower flowing part at the lower end.
The bed was lined with sharp sand and a 0.75mm EPDM liner laid on top and adjusted to ensure no water could leak away. Unfortunately we had 96mm of rain in a few hours which washed all the sand down to the bottom. After rectifying this stones of various sizes were laid to form a bed. Rounded local stone was used as it is mainly a quartzite with attractive red or white colouration. Larger, more rugged stones were used for the margins. In the meantime our dogs had decided there were mice (or similar) under the liner and shredded about 3.5m at the top. As I had to order more liner I decided to buy enough to make a small pond about 3.0m x 4.5m and have the stream flow out of this.
River cobbles of 80mm to 100mm size were laid over the larger stones and then pebbles of 30mm to 50mm were spread on top. It required about 800kg of each from the local quarry. Pockets were left and filled with a homemade compost for planting later.
Things were left for about 10 days so that the stones could settle in place. 'Touch 'n Foam' Black Expanding Foam was then used to ensure water flowed over the stones and not under. Then where appropriate a sharp sand mortar was used to prevent movement of stones and hold soil back.
The pond was then filled and minor adjustments to the soil at water level made. Medium sized stones were used as the pond edge with several places for animals to escape from the water and beds for planting incorporated.
The pump, an Evolution Aqua VariPump 30000, was wired up and lowered into the IBC. After switching on several adjustments had to be made where stones caused water to flow in an unexpected manner. Once everything appeared to be OK, various water and marginal plants were introduced. The desired effect will not be apparent until next summer.
Short video of stream just after completion
End of Summer
Posted on 30th September 2021
All in all I think this has been a reasonable summer - it did not warm up until June, July was warm and relatively dry, August was probably the most disappointing month being cool and damp, September was overall the most pleasant month and contained the warmest day.
It has been a good breeding season for all the 'small' birds in this area with the Swallows in particular having 3 broods and the third being mature enough to tackle the migration South. Frequently they have a brood too late when food is becoming short and the chicks will probably not make it to Africa. Weather and thus, food supplies have been good and the last of the Swallows left on October 1st. I lost count of the number of House Sparrow nests and broods, but they too have had an excellent year. Other species such as Chaffinches, Goldfinches, Siskins, Pied Wagtails etc. have flourished too judging by the number of adolescent birds observed.
The pond (dug 2020) has flourished, as initially insects moved in followed by others such as common frogs. Planting could be undertaken as the margins had a good crop of grass. Unfortunately, Floating Sweet Grass (Glyceria fluitans) arrived and has established itself round the perimeter of the pond.
It appears to be very vigorous and produces a huge network of rhizomes which may present problems in future years. Some Bullrushes (Typha latifoli), Flag Irises (Iris Pseudacorus), Yellow Eyed Grass (Sisyrinchium Californicum), Crimson Lily (Hesperantha Coccinea), Water Mint (Mentha Aquatica), Brooklime (Veronica Beccabunga) and some Water Cress (from Tesco) have been planted and are settling in well, indeed the hesperatha is currently flowering. The Water Cress was simply thrown in to a 'mini pond' where the drains which feed the pond emerge in the hope of catching nutrients and soil particles before they enter the main pond.
Over 100 trees have been planted round the pond but only 'standard' 750mm tree shelters were used. I have normally found this to be sufficient protection but here, instead of having a casual graze on the tree crowns as they emerged from the shelters, the deer constantly chew any fresh growth. All the shelters have had to be replaced by 1.5m shelters with 1.8m stakes. the improvement in the growth can be seen after only 3 weeks.
The Pine Martens still visit each night, and as the cooler weather has arrived we are catching several mice in the buildings which gives them a variation in diet. The Badger apparently took a dislike to the cat flap in the barn door and completely wrecked it one night - it has not returned since.
Throughout September there were hundreds of butterflies enjoying the many flowering shrubs, primarily Buddleia. The main species are Peacock, Red Admiral and Small Tortoiseshell.
Posted on 29th June 2021
After a few false starts it appears that summer is finally here with many days in June over 20°C. A few nests have already fledged with Pied Wagtails appearing to have had a very successful season.
The Oyster Catchers still visit the pond daily but I think they are attracted by the large numbers of Daphnia in the shallows. It is surprising how much pond life has
The water temperature is currently 18.8°C at about 300mm depth which is surprising as the soil temperature at the same depth is 13.5°C. A couple of water lily rhizomes were planted at the beginning of June and already there are leaves on the surface and even one flower bud. Some Bulrushes (Typha angustifolia), Flag Iris (Iris pseudacorus),Weeping Sedge (Carex pendula), Water Fringe (Nymphoides peltata) and a Chilean Rhubarb(Gunnera manicata) have been planted and along with the 'pond edge' seed mix should provide colour in years to come.
Almost all of the trees planted in winter have flourished but a couple of Willow have died - normally willows are the toughest. Unfortunately the local deer have discovered how tasty trees are as they emerge from the shelters, so many are a bit stunted.
Posted on 12th May 2021
It would seem that after a few false starts, spring is arriving. Many birds can now be seen prospecting for nest sites and a few have already started building.
The local birds are still eating over a kilogram of sunflower hearts daily and about 0.5 kg of mixed seeds. Flocks of Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Siskin and Yellowhammer descend daily as well as the 'resident' birds like Sparrow, Wagtails, Blackbirds etc.
Posted on 8th May 2021
The first Swallow arrived yesterday (7th) which I think is later than normal but an indication spring may be on the way. They must have travelled through snow to get here, so I hope there are enough bugs to keep them well fed.
Posted on 22nd April 2021
For the last several days a pair of Oyster Catchers have been visiting the pond and feeding on some recently sown barley which is just starting to show. I have seen many nests built on bare ground allowing the crop to grow and provide cover. The parents are a little conspicuous initially but somehow seem to successfully rear a brood.
Posted on 20th April 2021
Whilst walking round today, I found a couple of large clumps of Frog spawn which had risen to the surface. This is quite surprising (and pleasing)as the pond was only dug last year and is still quite bare of plant life. I did however construct areas at the water's edge for amphibians etc. to hibernate using large stones which were dug up. The weather is currently cold and the water temperature is only 7°C so I hope the eggs hatch.
Posted on 14th February 2021
The weather turned wintry at last with a total of 150mm snow falling from the 8th Feb. onwards. It was very picturesque and proved no problem for travel once the roads
Extra feeding points were put out for birds who appear to have taken very little hurt, but consumption rose. A large flock of more than 50 Goldfinches visited daily along with a flock of Siskins, Greenfinches, Yellowhammers and the 'usual' Sparrows, Dunnocks, Blackbirds, Chaffinches, Wrens, Robins and others.
Posted on 1st February 2021
It seems as if winter has finally arrived. There has been a good frost every night for the last 10 days or so and light snow showers.
Posted on 19th January 2021
Another 80 trees of assorted varieties arrived at the beginning of December but conditions are either too wet or too frosty to plant them out.
Some Grey Willow (salix cinerea) and Common Alder (alnus glutinosa), who like having 'wet feet' have been planted round the pond on the edge of the 'bog'.
The remainder consisting of Norway Maple (acer platanoides),Swedish Whitebeam (sorbus intermedia), Hornbeam (carpinus betulus) Oak (quercus robur) and Horse Chestnut (aesculus hippocastanum) will be planted on better drained land soon (hopefully).