|Tiny frog pond in 2014|
Worried about safety, we had filled in a deep garden pond in a shady part of the garden when our son was born in 2010. For the next two years in spring I found many frogs and toads confusedly searching for their former home. After that, they left us entirely, and I realized the mistake we'd made in destroying their habitat: a huge increase in slugs. And truthfully, I missed seeing them hopping around in the rain, and hearing their chirping in the evenings; I felt very guilty for displacing such gentle, helpful little creatures.
In 2014 we built a new pond, and I decided to make use of its heat storage and reflection of light to my advantage by situating it in a sheltered sunny spot near to the thermal mass of our garage wall. It began as a simple sunken half barrel with two goldfish for mosquito control.
Later in the year we expanded it with a pond liner. One edge has a gravel beach, to enable small creatures to access the water without danger of drowning. I added a small brick patio to another side, giving us a nice place to sit and watch the goldfish, and also adding to the thermal mass and light reflection. It's a great microclimate for heat loving plants. And frogs and toads have been spotted once more. This spring we've even seen a tadpole!
|2014 pond newly expanded complete with goldfish. Blue barrel is incomplete gravel filter|
Finally, to improve water quality, we installed a pump and a gravel filter planted with bog plants and (a few) vegetables. The pond itself has several different kinds of plants including some natives such as cattails and kingcup, a handful of goldfish, and possibly a swan mussel (we introduced two, and one is still unaccounted for). We've even seen a water skipper--how on earth did it get there?
|Newly planter gravel filter, 2015|
My original intent for the pond was frog habitat, to help with slug control. Secondary uses include heat retention and light reflection to create a warm microclimate for my almond tree; the possible extension to aquaponics with added gravel filter beds (hopefully this year); the attraction for birds and insects. It's a joy to sit by the edge of the pond in the sunshine, listening to the trickle of the fountain, watching sparrows and bees having a drink, seeing the fish sparkle and dart beneath the water.