Thursday, 29 March 2012

How to Build A Pond - Chapter 393! least that what it feels like!
I seem to have been doing pond posts for ever and have promised to do this one on edging the pond for almost as long! (I've also had mega problems with Blogger not autosaving and have had to reload the photos so many times that I've been spittin' feathers in frustration!)

Anyway, we're here now and Blogger seems to be behaving itself, so we'll crack on. You may remember the saga of the pond extension but, if not, you can refresh your memory about it here. But if you can't be bothered to do that, here's a refresher of how the the newly extended pond complete with shelf looked last spring - yep, a whole year ago!

Himself carefully sorted out all the levels and edges so that they were strong enough for me to put multiple large rocks on.

and, for reasons known only to him, he helpfully put a few rocks in
........which I promptly removed!
My plan when pond building has always been to end up with it looking as natural as possible and with NO liner showing.....visible liner around pond edges is a pet hate of mine!
I began by building the beach area. This time I had learnt from my mistakes and had made the shelf slope upwards as it went out towards the middle of the pond - thus making it harder for the foxes, badgers, cats, squirrels, birds and other sundry small creatures to knock the pebbles and stones into the pond when they come to drink.
I put a layer of largish rocks on the shelf then added baby boulders, rocks and pebbles in a random fashion (you have NO idea how hard it is to do random with rocks when your head craves symmetry!!).
I also built back from the pond, over Himself's edge and onto the garden to make it look more naturalised.

For the non-beach area, I decided that getting the plants into place first would be the best bet as I could then place the stones around the pots, making it look like they'd found little spaces for themselves ....and had absolutely nothing to do with me wanting to make it look more finished than it actually was!!!

So I started at each end of the extension and worked my way to the middle, building up rocks on the shelf and garden - and mixing sizes and shapes as I went. I was very much working on what looked and 'felt' right for each place - causing endless amusement for and sarcastic comments from everyone else around me as this involved numerous attempts, multiple rock moves in and out of different spots and me running round to the other side of the pond to check the visual effects until I was satisfied it was right. Pedantic? Moi?

I also couldn't resist chucking a few plants into the middle of the pond - floaters, oxygenaters and a water lily which flowered in October, but there you go!

In the mean time, whilst I was faffing about with rocks, Himself had put a Japanese lantern into place on the newly built promontory which was the combined result of not being able to dig out too close to the wacking big rock that we'd hoisted into place originally and me wanting a lantern sitting in the water.
Did I ever do a post about Himself fitting the Japanese lantern? A work of art and my Reincarnated Victorian Engineer was in mini heaven working it all out - and, yes, it does have a light in it!

Of course, once Himself had got the lantern sorted, I had to make sure no liner was visible!

and planting around and close to the edges of the pond began to happen. Yes I know most people would have finished the pond before starting the planting - but I have never been most people so it happens in the order that I fancy doing it!

I lugged moss-covered rocks from other parts of the garden to create a 'pre-aged' feel to the pond area.
The black tray with plants in on the right near the watering can is full of Sagina Subulata (Heath Pearlwort/Irish Moss) which I am using as ground cover. Proper Japanese gardens use a wide variety of mosses as their ground cover, but apparently they don't have to contend with squirrels digging it up all the time!
The Pearlwort plugs were planted about 9" apart and will gradually join up to form a carpet of greenery that will become sort of springy and bouncy according to the bumph. I've got another 100 on order to come next month and as I can split each one into two I should get most of the new area covered....hopefully!

The pond was finished in time for The Big Bash (which, as we all know, was the real catalyst behind us getting stuff done last year!). It also came in useful for a photo shoot when Last Born and The Drummer Boy were off to their Year 13 prom a couple of weeks later!

The pond from the waterfall end in late summer.
The pond yesterday.....with the plants just beginning to green up from their late winter stage, but with beautifully clear water again. Himself takes the Oase filter out every winter (as per the instructions!) and the water gets very very murky. A mere 24 hours of filtering gets it crystal clear again. It was quite expensive as I recall, but well worth it!
It's so clear you can see one of the frogs. No prizes other than a slightly smug sense of satisfaction for spotting it though! :)

The Weeping Willow 'Kilmarnoch' was a Silver Wedding anniversary present from our lovely neighbour last year. It's going to fill that space beautifully.

There's lots more work going on around the Japanese garden at the moment but, as ever, that'll have to wait until another day! I sometimes have days where I have a vague notion about just sitting in a finished garden and enjoying it without the urge to pop and weed something or shift a plant a two that have found themselves in the wrong place ;P

When those days do strike, I tend to wander the web looking for inspiration about what I'd actually sit on or how I might redesign bits of the garden to make it even better (!). One such wander took me to Robert Bridgeman's site at ...take a minute to pop over and have a look - you'll find yourself drooling at some of his ideas. Or is that just me?!


BilboWaggins said...

Dear, dear NG, I am nearly choking I'm laughing so hard. You probably realise that much of this post could have been written at Bag End, even funnier because I'm just in for a coffee break whilst putting large stones in our top pond and trying to work out how I will hide the liner - which is also a pet hate!

Thanks for the tip about making the slope shelve upwards - aarrgh - if only I'd read that two months ago, oh well, at least I can take that knowledge to the Big Pond!

It's all looking wonderful, well done to you both.

not long now :}

gwirrel said...

Hi Liz,

I don't think you'll ever be able to sit in the garden and not think of something else to do; it's impossible! There's always something that needs changing or a plant you really need to have somewhere :D

The pond and tea house are looking very nice and I can imagine plenty of time is spent sitting on the edge of the water!

gwirrel said...

Hi Liz,

I don't think you'll ever be able to sit in the garden and not think of something else to do; it's impossible! There's always something that needs changing or a plant you really need to have somewhere :D

The pond and tea house are looking very nice and I can imagine plenty of time is spent sitting on the edge of the water!

Nutty Gnome said...

Hi Bilbo - if only I'd written it 2 months ago like I meant to! :)
I had a nice time tickling about round the pond edges yesterday - made a pleasant change from hauling rocks!
You're right, not long now - be able to count down the days soon! :D

Nutty Gnome said...

Hi Liz - not quite sure why you popped up twice, but it'll give me twice the opportunity to invite you back to come and sit on the veranda again!

You're right - I'm totally rubbish at just sitting in the garden!

Woody Wilbury said...

It looks as good in the pictures as it does in real life. Job's a good un!

Kylee Baumle said...

Oh LIZ! This is just GORGEOUS! I can't tell you how impressed I am! I think you should promptly board a plane and get over here to Our Little Acre and design one for me. Yes, that's exactly what you should do. I wouldn't even make you lift a single rock, even though I'd hold you hostage until the thing was done correctly and to your exact specifications. You like to do things the way I like to do them, so I know we'd work well together. So, what are you waiting for? The guest room has your name on the door!

joey said...

So love your clever/enjoyable posts, dear Liz. You are amazing! I am coming to visit some day, yes I am! (Love the prom pic)

Nutty Gnome said...

Thanks Woody - I'm well 'appy with it! You're welcome to come back and check up on progress in the newly annexed bit of the garden (the bit that was the fruit cage!) whenever you fancy a day out to Chez Vegas!

Nutty Gnome said...

Kylee, I'm packing now!Working together on a pond would be such fun wouldn't it!
One day Kylee, one day!

Nutty Gnome said...

Joey luv, I'll gather you up on my way back from Kylee's in Ohio when I've finished doing her pond and we can chill out together on the tea house veranda...Kylee could come too! :)

Rob (ourfrenchgarden) said...

Hi Liz

I've no doubt the pond work is flawless courtesy of the engineer.

I reckon the willow will look good alongside.

The spring into winter weather has arrived here as well today. No snow or frost as in Scotland, just much needed rain, though temperatures pick up from tomorrow.


Hi Nutty - I'm so glad you popped over to mine today as you have been one of the many people on my blog conscience and you have galvanised me into action at last!
Great to see you've been writing so copiously and amusingly about ponds! I have been toying with the idea of creating a wildlife pond in our dingly dell area having been learning how to create them properly at college. I can just imagine you (and myself) spending hours moving rocks around until they are in just the right place :-)! However, my energies are currently engaged, among many other things, on creating a proper vegetable garden. All very exciting. Will write something about it in due course - when I've finally finished the wretched Big Adventure which, like you and ponds, feel I've been posting about forever! BTW, I remember you writing about your overland trip to Nepal. Sounded fantastic. As you say, something one never forgets....

Pondside said...

What a lot of work, but you must surely feel it is worth it as the pond is beautiful. Will you be able to relax at all this year? I hope so!

Nutty Gnome said...

Hi Rob, you're right about the quality of the work...Himself did a top job, as ever! Unfortunately 2 bad winters have caused the waterfall stone at the edge of the pond to crack along its striations and water now seeps through, so the pond water level is sitting about 2inches below where it should :(
Next job - once it stops snowing here (!) is to extricate said stone from its nice, secure place in between pond, stream and rockery and get a new rock of the same size, shape and flatness in there instead...easy job!!! :P

Not sure the willow will be dead happy with the amount of snow that has hit us this morning!

Nutty Gnome said...

Hi Cara, nice to see you back safe and sound....a blog conscience eh?! Actually, I know exactly what you mean by that as I have one too - I just never called it that! :)

Oh you must have a some point! Once your vegetable garden is done I'll happily lend you a hand in pond building...might even bring Himself with me if you're dead lucky! I'll then be able to pinch ideas from you about how I should have done it the proper way! :D
One never forgets a trip like Nepal...but this one often forgets she's told people about it!

Nutty Gnome said...

Hi Pondside. Thank you, I'm so glad you like it.It has been an immense amount of hard work (in hindsight), but worth every aching bone in my body!
I'm not very good at just sitting when I'm in the garden as I always spot something and think "I'll just do...." and before I know it an hour has passed! We have taken to having our dinnertime sandwich on the tea house veranda and also sitting up there with a glass of something pleasant after we've finished working but before we go get's a very nice way to end the day!
Must do it more often! :P

Diana said...

Liz, lovely! simply lovely! (and several guffaws along the way) I can see you and Himself relaxing and admiring this wonderful structure. Beautiful and well done indeed!

Britta said...

Dear Liz,
yesterday I wanted to write a comment - and it didn't work. Maybe Blogland stared with awe at your impressive pond: it is worth the hard work and carrying the boulders around! Really, really beautiful - congratulation! Britta

Casa Mariposa said...

You always have the coolest projects going on! My pond wants to be your pond when it grows up. :o)

O.I.M said...

A wonderful result!

Nutty Gnome said...

Hi Diana and thank you :)
It is indeed a beautiful building and I love doing my reiki and reflexology sessions in there. My clients all love it too, fortunately!

I'm just waiting for the cherry blossom on the tree next to it to fill out a bit for my 'spring' photo!

Nutty Gnome said...

Hi Britta. Thank you for your lovely comment...guess what we did yesterday?! We started work on expanding the hitherto unfinished bottom pond! :P

Nutty Gnome said...

Hi Casa - your comment really made me laugh, I love it - thanks for that! :)

Nutty Gnome said...

Thanks O.I.M. I'm really pleased with it too....and it turns out that the heron didn't get all the fish - there are at least 7 of them still in there! :)

Freda Cameron said...

It looks divine! What an amazing transformation and now you have such an incredible pond garden. Love the structure, too.

Were we in Paris at the same time? We were there April 4-11 (and in Antibes March 28-April 3).

Nutty Gnome said...

What a coincidence - yes we were! We were down in La Mayenne (in Eastern France) from the 6th to the 9th with my French 'family', then in Paris from the 9th to the 11th ....a wonderful few days.
Antibes eh? Lucky you!

Patsi said...

Nive to see your pond coming along.
Looks like your tea house is finished. Could it be true ?

Freda Cameron said...

Wish we could have caught up with each other in Paris! We go to France every spring.

Nutty Gnome said...

Hi Patsi. Yes, the tea house is indeed finished!!!
I've been using it as my treatment room for about 3 months now. I do reiki, reflexology and 1-1 tai chi sessions in there. The tea house has a very calm and serene feel to it and everyone really enjoys being in there - but then, it was built with love in every atom of it! :)

Nutty Gnome said...

Hi Freda - it would have been such fun to meet up! Who knows, we could have actually walked past one another last week without even being aware of it! :(
I know we'll be going to Paris on a regular basis again now, so we'll have to try and meet up next time!