Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Pond

Someone asked whether we have fish in the pond. You bet we do! We inherited 4 koi in our previous house, and we grew very fond of them, so we made a pond here.

We wanted a depth of nearly 5 feet for protection from heron. We tried digging the hole ourselves but it began to fill with water very quickly and frankly was jolly hard work. We got a builder in; I assumed he'd use a machine but he sent a man with a spade and a wheel-barrow! Said man worked like a trojan and in 2 days excavated a hole so neat it looked like something computer-generated on screen.

The hole was 5 feet deep; the pond is now a little less because of its linings: first sand, then old carpet, then heavy butyl liner. There is a shelf for marginal plants along the long edge, and the liner rises and dips again beyond that to make a marsh strip. A filter keeps the water fairly clean and oxygenated. Neither our dog nor our cat have disturbed the fish; we have seen heron visit the garden (an awesome sight!) but the fish have not been killed or injured by them.

Our set-up is a compromise: it's not the koi enthusiast's ideal, because we have plants in, we allow frogs etc (which can bring parasites), and we rarely use chemicals in it. It works very well, in our eyes. There was a major problem last year when I didn't report to my husband in time that the filter pump had stopped working. Half the fish died from lack of oxygen. I later learned that fish live much closer to the margin of feasibility, in terms of how they breathe, than we do, and so oxygenation is a key point. I still remember lifting out the dead fish each time I go near the pond, but I hope this will lessen.

I absolutely love the pond. I wish we could have a waterfall but I understand this is not easily arranged because of technical problems (essentially the filter chamber is configured wrongly for that to work, it's hard to see how we could have one without replacing the whole system which would be daft).


  1. Your pond looks great. We had one but upkeep was not great and now we have the little guy. I've settled for a large pot for a fountain. Maybe someday. Love the dog and cat!

  2. Thank you for a nice story, Emily! You can be proud - your pond is hand-made, no machinery used! I like the picture with a dragonfly, and the animals are adorable. I fell in love with your cat, I love fluffy ones!

  3. Wow, that's great. Five feet deep and about five feet wide?

  4. I think we are going to have a pond built this year, too, and I'm excited. I doubt that it will be as deep as yours, though! That's amazing, but I understand you need to protect the fish and allow them to seim deep. I love your kitty;-) Pup is kind of cute, too!

  5. How wonderful having a pond and the koi. Seems well worth the initial investment and the upkeep for the beauty and ambiance it adds to your garden.

  6. You could run a waterfall with a seperate pump independent from your filter system. Word of warning about such things: it is very tricky to make them look natural: the water needs to look as it it coming from somewhere . Otherwise they look like some sort of dinky arrangement only suitable for a ghastly Pixie dell.

  7. Love your blog! What a beautiful setter!!! Your garden in also stunning! Looks very grown up, you must be really proud!!!!

    I would love a pond, but too scared of falling in it! Your lucky kitty dosn't fish!

    Linzi x x

  8. Linzi - ha ha, I have fallen in twice! It is cold and wet. The first time I fell in, one of the fish jumped out soon afterwards (he recovered well after some time back in his proper element).

    James A-S - yes, I agree really. I am thus saved from my the temptation... Perhaps the best solution would be a more elegant alternative to the long black plastic drainpipe we currently have as an outflow. In summer it's easily hidden by foliage, but I can't put anything too solid there because we need access.

    And hello and thank you to everyone else too :)

  9. Thanks for stopping by my blog and saying hello! I had to laugh when I saw your name, because it's exactly the same as my boss's name and I thought for a second that she'd found my blog :-P

    Your garden looks awesome - I especially love the picture of the cat standing in front of the fence - I can just imagine him saying "who, me?"

  10. Hi Mary - have a great time singing in Italy, when you go! Our choir did that, although going from England isnt' such a big deal (long way on a coach though...........)


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