Sunday, 1 April 2012

"Are we nearly there yet?"

When the top pond was excavated we spend a lot of time working on the problem of it being on a sloping site and everyone thought we'd got the levels right.  Wrong.

Once the liner and water were in it became apparent that the top right-hand quarter was way too high, hence excavations behind the liner to widen the shelf.  There are no photos of LP and I, first thing Thursday morning, moving four HUGE stones into the pond.  Hobbit, muddy and ankle deep in very cold water at 8.00am, is not really a Kodak moment.  Whilst we're happy with the stones they made it obvious that more excavation was needed so the shelf to the left of three stones was widened.  With LP's help that was relatively easy and didn't take too long.



I thought that might be it but when the Garden Designer came home on Friday and looked at the pond I had to face the horrible truth that the edge around bottom left-hand quarter needed raising three or four inches, I suspect that over winter the made-up ground has sunk far more than we anticipated.  Unfortunately, Garden Designer in the form of Management then limped off with a badly strained back from carrying a too-heavy laptop bag and suitcase around London incapable of doing much more than sitting quietly and wincing in pain all weekend.

I seem to remember doing something very similar with our last pond in Hampshire and I didn't much enjoy the process then, and Management reminded me that not so very long ago we were doing just the same with the little pond in the Cottage Garden and the hard work really was worth it.  First photo is under construction in April 2005, the second is 12 months later and the grass needs cutting :}





Saturday:  This is one of those jobs where I just had to man-up and get on with it.  Spent much time muttering under my breath and cursing at M. Don Esq.  Last week on Gardeners' World he and Jo Swift had a rollicking good time putting a liner into a perfectly round, perfectly level hole in a perfectly flat garden.  Friday night we got a glimpse of the liner beautifully tucked in around the edges and everything ready for planting.  Mr Don has never had any regular assistance in his garden but I suspect there has been hired help in large numbers to make this much (apparent) progress between programmes.  Possibly somewhat more than the two full-timers the BBC are supposed to have insisted upon . . .





Looking back from the vast time and space differential of Sunday night, I've rather enjoyed all this.  One thing I have learnt about ponds is that the edges always look rubbish at first but if I hang on for six months to a year then things always come right, it just takes a bit of time and fiddling about. This is Saturday's progress.









At this stage the plants were not planted, just a few popped in as place-holders.  On Friday an unexpected opportunity to go past Dobbies in Carlisle resulted in the acquisition of a large assortment of water plants.  No photo of the entire haul because it was embarrassingly large and whilst Management knows what I spent I don't need anyone else to see!

By comparison, Sunday was an easy day.  A few more stones to move (sound so easy when you say it like that, I don't like to think what one or two weighed) and positioning of the rest of the plants.  They won't stay in plastic pots with bright plastic labels.  Some will get planted in cotton or hessian bags and by the time the fabric rots the root system will be large enough to hold what soil there is.  The rest will stay in pots until the roots have developed sufficiently and then just de-potted and left to nestle amongst the stones.



The photos probably don't look much different but I can see the changes.  There's much work ahead of us to cover up the plastic liner (I hate seeing that as much as I hate seeing plastic baskets) but I have finally realised that this takes TIME.  Every pond we have created looks fairly rubbish for the first year but all of a sudden it comes together and you quickly forget how new and fake it all looks at the beginning.  There are already six or seven water beetles busily swimming around and the bench has been moved much closer to the water.  Already it's a magnet and I foresee much time sitting just watching the water.


there's more detail in this panorama, click to open, backspace to return

Management still in much pain today but was able to come out with my camera.  There are many photos of a thoroughly wet and cold Hobbit 'planting' baskets of oxygenator on the pond floor.  When I install the video editing software that James so kindly gave me on Friday I will have a bash at turning all the pictures he took into an animation.  Until then, this is quite enough of Hobbit looking extremely silly.



16 comments:

  1. I've unintentionally turned into a lurker (for which I apologise - you know I don't mean to be!) but I must say how MUCH BETTER the pond looks now it appears more level. Compare and contrast to your post of 17 Feb. Hope Management back strain soon heals.

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  2. Thanks Hazel, I know you're there :} If you bimbled back to 17th Feb you will also have seen the daft statement that I wasn't going to lift ~all~ the stones either .... hmm, well, I didn't life every single one. Still a lot of work to do on edges/levels but we're slowly getting there. Just watched a Blackbird having a bath and splash around which makes it all worthwhile.

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  3. Amazing progress, I can see where you're going with it now. I wish I had your vision for garden design. Hope Management recovers quickly, a bad back is not fun at all. I can very much recommend a chiropracter who practices the McTimoney method, just google it if he needs to find someone local. My lady here sorted out my trapped nerve problem and my aunt who had a frozen shoulder for over a year has found much relief with someone down her way.

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    1. Thanks SewAli. There is no black art or magic to our 'garden design' abilities, it's just a case of having ideas of things we'd like and trying to make them a reality. Management much better thanks, it was definitely "just" muscle. He has already been seeing my physio and has an appointment with her later in the week.

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  4. The things we do for love. I'm sure Management will soon enjoy relaxing his aching London back by the ponds though.

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    1. Thanks Amanda, we're already enjoying watching the pond from the kitchen window, bit too cold to be relaxing next to it :}

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  5. I thought you were taking it a bit easier or is that period over. Must admit I couldn't stand in our pond and it is deep enough for me to disappear when standing up! But some of that is due to a wall about 18" high so not as much excavating as it appears. And the 5' is only at its deepest point!

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    1. Hi Sue, I think "relaxing" is over for a bit:}

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  6. I just hope the first frogs, newts and tadpoles etc. to colonise said pond appreciate all the effort you went to to achieve such lovely results. Well done you.

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    1. Morning WoG, I hope it won't be long before we get all the wildlife you list.

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  7. Honestly, Hobbit, I've seen retreating glaciers leave less rocks behind than what you've got around your pond. Tons I see. Are you from Krypton?

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    1. Yes Kris, but retreating glaciers don't leave them on nice tidy pallets!

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  8. I see you gave the waders back then!:)
    Hope Management's back is better? That'll teach him to slope off to London!

    You know you said my last pond post could have been written at Bag End? Ditto! This did make me howl with laughter - mainly in painful recognition of so many of the same issues of hoiking hugely heavy rocks and stones around for hours on end (or maybe it just FELT like hours on end?!)
    I'm very impressed that all your rocks stayed on the pallets, but I guess that that's the difference between having a Miss Daisy rather than a Flintstones trolley!!!

    At least, as a fellow pond builder, I can really appreciate the amount of hard labour that has gone into the pond so far and can see the potential for the finished job..if a pond is ever finished?! One of the jobs on my list this week is to de-pot the pond plants that I put in last year - serendipity Bilbo!

    Dobbies at Barlborough is an equally dangerous place to visit...but being mildly cowardly, I have leart never let Himself see all the haul in one place at the same time...just in case of minor mumblings of not being able to eat for a week due to my plant buying excesses again!!! :P

    Not long now....shall we bring our work clothes? (serious offer!)

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    1. Nutty - howling with laughter is mutual! Thank you for a gorgeous comment, will reply privately later.

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  9. Brill progress Bilbo. Can't have a pond here due to already high numbers of biting mosquitoes I do battle with every year but I am so enjoying yours! When we first moved in I used to buy plants and hide them for a while until I could sneak them into the planting! Difficult with a brand new pond I know ,,, nowhere to sneak them to ,,,, but your bravery is impressive! You do look slightly damp and must have been freezing!

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    1. Jill, shame you won't have a pond. Swallows, swifts and bats would thank you for it and probably eat most of the midges.

      It was astonishingly cold when I got in but after a few minutes my feet were so cold (socks only, no shoes) that I stopped noticing.

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