Frequently asked questions
How do I plant my new wild flower plug plants?
Simply choose the site and dig a hole large enough to accommodate the root ball with a little space round the sides.
Firm the plant into the hole.
Loosen the soil around the plant beyond the root ball so the gaps are filled.
Keep well watered in dry conditions until established. ie new leaves begin to emerge.
How do I care for my wild flowers in Autumn and Winter?
Simply cut the plants down to ground level each Autumn once the flowers have faded and often before they go to seed.
Remove all cut material from the site.
Watch how to in these
How do I plant my new pond plants?
This depends on what part of the pond they want to be in.
Deep water plants like lilies need to be anchored into the mud at the bottom of the pond. You might have to wade in if it's a large pond.
Emergent plants that grow below the water level but send up leaves and flowers above the water can be planted into the mud around the pond edge.
Marginals that grow around the wet edges of the pond, usually above water level, are easily planted in the same way as your plug plants. Take care not to pop your pond liner with your planting trowel.
Another option, though far less natural is to fill pond baskets with well washed course grit. Anchor the plants into this then lower the basket into place at a depth to suit the plants.
How do I sow my new wild flower seeds?
Sowing native wild flower seeds is easy.
Prepare the area by taking up existing turf or plants.
Lightly dig to about 10cm deep to loosen the soil.
Rake the area over to level it off.
Sow the seed at a rate of about 4grams per square meter.
Lightly firm over the soil to make sure the seed is in good contact with the soil.
Keep well watered in dry conditions. We recommend a sprinkler attachment on a hose.
How do I care for my pond plants in Autumn and Winter?
In much the same way as your wild flowers.
Cut the stems and flower stalks of all pond plants to as close to the base of the plant as possible. Remove all growth to reduce the risk of rotting plant matter in the pond.
Too much decomposing material can cause gasses to build up in the water. If the pond freezes over in Winter these gasses can build up and affect the invertebrates and any hibernating amphibians.
What is the best way to water new seeds and plug plants?
We always recommend using a sprinkler attachment on a hose. This allows you to set it away and go and do something else, like have your dinner, enjoy a bath or go and watch a couple of Wilderness Tamed Youtube videos. Anything that lasts about an hour.
Essentially you should water in such a way as to encourage seeds and new plants to send their roots as deeply as possible. This will help them survive long dry spells.
Early evening when the sun has gone off the area is best. The water wont evaporate off the soil as quickly and there is less chance of leaf scorch. Where bright sun light shines through water droplets onto the leaves like a magnifying glass.
If you want to stand for an hour with a hose in your hand get a fine spray nozzle so as not to wash out small seeds. An hour should mean the water penetrates the soil to a decent depth.
Why is my pond murky?
If it's a young or new pond you need to allow time for the plants and invertebrate population to establish. A pond, like any ecosystem, needs to find it's balance. Once a pond is balanced and all the life forms in it are working well the water will begin to clear.
Natural ponds don't have pumps and filters running 24-7 and are generally happy, healthy and crystal clear.
How do I get rid of blanket weed and algae in my pond?
Both are a result of the same thing. High nutrient levels and sun light in the pond. Again balance is the key. Plenty of plants filtering nutrients through their roots will reduce algae. And surface cover from floating leaves like frogsbit, lilies and broad leaved pond weed will cut down on UV light which can cause blanketweed blooms.
We also sell reusable Barley Straw pouches that can accelerate the demise of blanketweed.
How do I keep my kids safe around a garden pond?
This is a common question with several possible options. This usually occurs with families who are moving into new homes, where there is an established pond.
While I worked at a local National Trust property and for the local Wildlife Trust I would host family activities which included pond dipping sessions. These were always, without doubt, the most popular events we hosted. Kids love water and ponds and bugs and beasties! Fact!
I have installed ponds at several schools in Durham and Northumberland as they all realise how important outdoor education is for kids.
So how do you keep your kids safe when there is a pond in the garden?
You need to consider a few things. Is this pond home to a population of amphibians?
If so, are you really going to add to their problems, of extinctioin due to habitat loss, by filling it in? NO!! Especially when they are in there breeding.........Trust me I know it happens.
The most simple way to protect both your precious little ones and the kids is to have a small picket fence put up around the pond. Or across the garden to divide the play areas from the wildlife areas. As you'll see from my videos, the area around a pond should be a little wild to provide shelter for foraging amphibians.
Put in a small gate so your children can access the pond
whilst you are there to supervise. Which you will be at all times when your kids are playing around water.
Wont you? Of Course!
ROSPA page highlights how many children, between 0 and 5 years of age, die from drowning in an average year.
Notice how many drown in the bath at home and ask 'Where were the parents?'
Are you going to get rid of your car? Many more children die in fatal car crashes per year then drown in ponds.
Are you going to have the family
dog destroyed because, once again, many more
children are mauled to death by the family pet each year.
What about your oven, fridge, washing machine or tumble dryer? Going to get rid of all of those as well as the pond???
I have amphibians in my garden, what do I do?
Enjoy the company!
Amphibians, like frogs, toads and newts offer hours of entertainment while they are courting and breeding in a garden pond.
But you may find them in your garden even if you have no pond. Remember amphibians only need water to breed in, it isn't where they spend their entire lives. Once they have metamorphosed from the tadpole stage into the adult stage, they will leave the water and spend the next few years foraging and feeding on land. They wont need to return to a pond until they are ready to breed. This can take three to four years.
If you find a wandering amphibian in your garden leave it be to go about it's business. It's business can also be of benefit to you, as they feed on slugs and other insect pests in the garden.
If you find an amphibian on land then do not assume it needs to be moved to the nearest body of water. Again, leave it be unless it is in immediate danger from you doing some gardening work or a cat.
Do I need to control pests in a wild flower garden?
I could literally leave it at that.
A wild flower lawn or meadow is a self contained ecosystem. Yes there will be slugs and snails and caterpillars munching their merry way through the plants. But there will also be, predatory insects, spiders, amphibians, birds and small mammals all helping to keep things in check.
I used to be at war with slugs and snails in my garden. Not any more. Changing from exotic plants to native has saved me so much time money and effort in trying to battle with nature.
How do I disguise the liner around my pond edge?
Visible pond liner (VPL) No one likes VPL and I never have any on the ponds I have built or re profiled. It is a simple thing to disguise liner with overlapping turf, sub soil or stone.
While I don't particularly think stone surrounds look that natural, especially paved edges.
You don't come across natural wildlife ponds with paved edges that's for sure.
I do enjoy working with stone and attempt to make ponds look as much a part of the landscape as possible.
Below the top edge of the pond, have a second lower lying shelf on which to position the first layer of stones. These will sit in the water and help diguise the liner. The top layer of stone can be built above this first layer. This means that as the water level rises and falls through rain or evaporation, no liner will show.
As you will see in several of my videos I always emphasise how important the spirit level is. It doesn't matter what you use to dig out a pond, from a teaspoon to an excavator, as long as your top edge has been profiled using a spirit level. So many of the ponds I see have liner showing at some point where the edge is higher than at other points. Shoddy workmanship!