A pond or a bird bath can bring tranquillity and wildlife to your garden. Adding a water feature to your garden could be the most rewarding new year’s resolution you make.

Bird baths

Birds need to bathe all year round to keep their feathers in good condition. Keep bird baths clean and filled with fresh water to avoid spreading disease.

Top tips for wildlife-friendly ponds

  • shallows at the edge ensure easy access and a safe exit for wildlife
  • plants and rocks at the margins provide cover for wildlife
  • avoid fish as they will eat the larvae and tadpoles in your pond
  • include a shallow shelf at the edge for marginal plants
  • deeper shelves will provide growing conditions for a variety of plants
  • native plants such as those mentioned below are beautiful and help wildlife thrive
  • Hornwort oxygenates the pond to keep it healthy
  • emergent plants such as flowering rush enable damsel and dragonfly larvae to leave the pond by crawling up the stems
  • Frogbit’s floating leaves shade and cool the pond and give insects a place to land and take a drink
  • marginal and bog plants provide pollen and nectar from spring to autumn. You can try:
    • Marsh marigold
    • Lady’s smock
    • Meadowsweet
    • Purple loosestrife.

Fruits and vegetables

Even a small tub pond in your vegetable plot will provide habitat for predators such as frogs. They provide natural pest control just where you need it.

January plants

These often bloom by late January and are a feast for your senses and for winter-active bees:

  • Daphne bholua
  • Snowdrops
  • Hellebores.

A small pond in your garden will help create a healthy eco-system. Ponds benefit amphibians, birds and mammals, as well as invertebrates and insects which have an important place in the food chain.

We hope you can find space for one and you may even be rewarded by dragonflies darting around your garden.

Sources: Gardening for a Wilder KentKent Wildlife Trust: How to Build a PondButterfly Conservation: Dig It – June Tips From The Secret Gardener.

image of frog in water.