Willow. Pond.

Now it wasn’t perfect, in life things rarely are. It did provide a habitat for frogs and toads, and the plants provided shelter and food for lots of insects. We’d never created a pond before, it was our first attempt and it looked OK until we had heavy rain over a prolonged period. Then we acquired an island. In the middle of the pond, this pond liner “island” would appear. OK, we also didn’t quite get our levels correct and one side was slightly lower than the other – but more about this later.

But, these problems were nothing compared to what was about to hit our pond.

Old pond
The old pond

Willow what have you done!

Onto the scene came Willow. A lovely, fox-red Labrador puppy. Being a typical puppy she was into everything, and being Labrador loved water. One day we thought she was being a wee bit too quiet in the garden so looked to see what she was up to and there it was: the offending pond liner, in bits, strewn across the lawn, totally destroyed, and unrepairable.

12 years on from "pondgate"

As I type this, Willow who is now a grand old lady of (nearly) twelve is lying next to me, snoring away. But, nearly 12 years since “pondgate” the time has come and we have to take action. We’re going to sort it!

You may remember that last year we tackled the garden at one side of our house. After we did all the digging we had lots of soil left over. We used that to raise the side of the pond that had been slightly lower than the other.

We also decided to put in a drainage ditch and water retention sump between the pond and the fence. At the end of last year that was dug out. We didn’t quite finish it as the Scottish winter beat us, and the sump was finally completed this week.

Drainage

However, despite heavy rain and winter storms we realised things had changed our garden. Normally, when we walk between the pond and fence we squelch our way through mud. Not this year. Obviously it was damp, but not boggy quagmire wet. I hear you say, drainage ditch. Nope, apart from wee puddles in the bottom that wasn’t full of water either. So, that blew apart our theory that we had a really high water table and it was that which created the “island”. So, currently, my “working theory” is that the water overflowed the pond and created a really wet environment both under and around the pond. Like I said, a “working theory” which will be tested over time.

I suppose one of the advantages of being married to an environmental engineer who, before he retired, specialised in flood risk assessments (yep I know, ironic) is that he knew how to build a really good drainage ditch. Obviously, he wasn’t going to be irresponsible and simply stick in a drainage pipe and drain off to the path behind our property, so he constructed the water retention sump which will hold the water and allow it to percolate away naturally. He’s also planned soft engineering of planting around the area.

The drainage ditch

So, that was this week’s work: pulling the remains of the old liner out of the pond, lining the drainage ditch with weed suppressing liner, lugging enough pea gravel from the sack in the drive to the drainage ditch to allow us to have a layer under the drainage pipe. Laying the drainage pipe, and ensuring that it was correctly positioned into the sump. Finally, lugging the remaining ton of pea gravel to the drainage ditch to ensure the pipe was correctly covered.

The Facelift

Ah, I remember now, I don’t think I mentioned that we’re not just repairing the damage Willow created, oh no, after last years gardening exploits we’ve decided we’re giving the whole pond area a massive “facelift”. I will try to keep posting on this blog to keep you up to date with how this is progressing.

Now, more importantly, what does Willow think of all this? Well, at every stage, there she is, inspecting all our work. When we’re busy lugging barrow after barrow of gravel she’s just lying there calmly watching, supervising. Wait, is she dreaming? Oh no, perhaps she’s dreaming about what she wants to do to this pond!

Drainage ditch now complete with pea gravel over the drainage pipe
Drainage ditch complete

This blog was originally published on: 13 April 2019