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Pond projects

Castelnau RB Pyrenée, France(Zone 8a)

I've had a pond project under way for a while
The main pond is now nearing completion (it's even got water in it now!) So here's a photo - not very good as it was so sunny!!
It's on a slope that was so uneven we couldn't use it and it was too lumpy to mow
Now there is a place to sit alongside the pond - and by the paved bit the pond wall is just the right height to sit on. Then there are steps and a path leading round to the far side where the water will be above waist level - perfect for looking in to at close quarters :)
The facing for the blocks used for the wall is 80% sand form a seam of sand running through our land (the rest of course is heavy clay LOL) This has given it a lovely natural finish that blends in with the surroundings.
I've been planting up water lilies today - and have a couple of lotus too. There is a hole near the veggie patch that is now lined but I have to work on before filling it. I also reused an small preformed shape to make a pond in a meadow area, That's ready to fill, but unfortunately nearly filling the main pond has run the well dry - so now I have to wait for rain before I can fill any more
None forecast in the next week :(
Though that's nice for the people here on holiday.....

I'm hoping you'll post the lovely photo of your pond project here too please Potagere?

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Gloucestershire, United Kingdom

Hi philomel,

Had two ponds for a while now, one for fish and one for wildlife. Had my first frog spawn in the wildlife pond this year. Last year the frogs were trying to get into the fishpond (raised), by climbing a nearby Canary Island Date Palm. A slightly bizarre sight as it occurred during a thunderstorm, and I had partaken of several glasses of the amber nectar!

Castelnau RB Pyrenée, France(Zone 8a)

Ah, the new species - British Tree Frog LOLOL

I was thrilled to see the first frog in my pond last evening - actually saw it swimming around - and it was the true European Tree frog ;o))
We're lucky that we only seem to have these little gems here, whereas down in the valley and a lot of other friends have the raucous Pond and Pool frogs, they really make a din! Unlike the very well behaved Common frog..........

I am very pleased that in the pond I lined the year before last in the chicken run there are now lots of either newt or salamander larvae. I'm keeping an eye on them in the hope of finding out which they are. Does anyone out there know how to tell the difference please?There are also droves of excitedly mating Broad-bodied chasers. They are dragonflies that specialise in shallow and transitory ponds, so I am hoping to get other species in the new one, which is a metre deep.

Still chuckling over your amber nectar induced vision prophet ;o))

Gloucestershire, United Kingdom

Hi philomel,

Raucous frogs! I don't like the sound of that at all. I have enough trouble with the resident tom cats singing at 4 a.m. in the morning!.

It will look great when it's finished Philomel! Do you have any piccies of your tree frogs? I spotted a couple of Broad Bodies Chasers the other day flitting about around a large puddle near a natural pond.

LOL Prophet that must have been a sight to behold

Castelnau RB Pyrenée, France(Zone 8a)

Here's one of the striped (common) european tree frog. We also have the stripeless (just SW France and Iberian peninsular) and apparently they don't normally occur at the same site. Ours must be confused lol.
The striped are cuter in my opinion - slightly smaller and their feet don't fit ;o))

This one was sitting on the kitchen steps.

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Castelnau RB Pyrenée, France(Zone 8a)

Here's the stripeless one for comparison - making itself at home on my son's t-shirt....

Hmmm editing to apologise that you can't really see that it just has a stripe through its eye, but it doesn't run down the rest of its body. However, you can see the more sensibly proportioned feet.


This message was edited Jun 3, 2006 1:51 PM

Thumbnail by philomel

AWWWWWWWWW! Thanks Philomel, he's very pretty (I love his feet)

Castelnau RB Pyrenée, France(Zone 8a)

LOL prophet, they really do make a racket. They have found their way int parts of southern england - so the natives there may be a bit tetchy through lack of sleep *grin*
I went to record bats on the Isle of Sheppey, Kent, and could have thought they were some exotic bird species (it was on an RSPB reserve). Could hardly hear the bat detectors for the sound of amorous frogs!

Castelnau RB Pyrenée, France(Zone 8a)

Well, the frog that has been singing in the new pond has taken up residence properly. Today he's taking advantage of the lovely weather to go sailing on a water lettuce ;o))



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Castelnau RB Pyrenée, France(Zone 8a)

So giving me a better photo of the stripeless tree frog

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A stunning photo Philomel and a really pretty little frog, I'm almost as green as he is with envy over your photography and having such interesting wildlife!

Castelnau RB Pyrenée, France(Zone 8a)

Yes, I'm very lucky Baa :)
The weather is just fantastic - too hot to do anything this afternoon.
I got some large water cotainers in place and filled from the well yesterday, so now I feel much happier about looking after all the plants etc.
I just love water and miss the rain when it doesn't happen (mad person). It rains more here than in Kent, but the sun is much stronger and the daylight hours longer between any showers.

Gloucestershire, United Kingdom

Wow, my ten year old would go crazy if we had those lovely creatures in our garden.
He loves Tree Frogs.

Castelnau RB Pyrenée, France(Zone 8a)

Yes, they really are delightful little things - unless you're a light sleeper. They shout quite loudly every evening. I think of it as one of the magic ingredients of the warm days and evenings her - like the cicadas chirruping

Castelnau RB Pyrenée, France(Zone 8a)

The light is softer now, so I've been able to get a photo showing the eye stripe that doesn't continue down the body

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Sheffield, United Kingdom(Zone 7b)

What cute little frogs, I took a photo of one in Menorca - to prove I had seen it. We were in a restaurant at the time.

I've got two ponds too, and the one with fish in gets even more frog spawn than the wildlife one. It is like frog spawn soup when they start, and then the fish gather round the edges to feast when they start to hatch. There are still hundreds of tadpoles so I think they are either too large to eat, or the fish are fed up with them.

The frogs are still making the occasional croaking noises, mainly in the evenings. They sound like little motor bikes.

The weirdest sound I heard was in Poland when we were on a birding holiday and there must have been hundreds of Fire bellied toads making the most eerie noise rather like the wind in telephone wires, but much louder.

My pond is covered in duck weed just now. It has just appeared from nowhere. I suppose a bird could have brought some on its legs. I've not put any new plants in for ages so I've not introduced it. I keep scooping it out, but it is a nuisance as it clogs the pump up.

The fish don't seem to mind it so long as I keep a bit clear for them to feed.

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Castelnau RB Pyrenée, France(Zone 8a)

What a superb photo Pat! Such a telling silhouette
I'd love to hear those toads! Found one in Romania to look at, but haven't heard their chorus - we were there in September.
Interesting that your frogs prefer to be in with the fish.....

Weymouth, Dorset, United Kingdom(Zone 9a)

Love the pond, beautiful views in the background too.

We have an abundance of frogs and toads here, but they don't seem to be too noisy.But yours are so cute, i just love the one with huge feet, a bit like clowns shoes....I can't understand how people don't like them.My daughter for one, she shrieks whenever one leaps near her.

I was sat on the patio yesterday evening just listening to the birds singing ( I still can't identify them) there was one singing it's socks off.Magic.Hard to believe that it'll soon be midsummers day.

My pond is definately getting a bit overgrown and needs thinning out a bit.I also have been fighting a battle with duck weed.

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Castelnau RB Pyrenée, France(Zone 8a)

What a lovely pond Sue! The planting is perfect. Which waterlily have you got?
I love the water forget-me-not, that's really pretty and sets off the more solid things really well

Castelnau RB Pyrenée, France(Zone 8a)

Here's the latest visitor - the broad-bodied chaser. He's really taken to the pickerel weed (Pontederea cordata) that a friend helped me rescue from a pond that's going to be filled in (the owners have a toddler and a new baby on the way)
Anyway the dragonfly thinks it's perfect for a lookout point.

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Sheffield, United Kingdom(Zone 7b)

That's an excellent photo Hilary, they never stay still long enough for me to get a good pic. My pond has lots of red bodied and azure damsel flies this week and is still covered in duck weed. I'll try to get a good photo tomorrow, there are lots of marginals coming into flower. The Japanese irises, candelabra primula, Mimulus are out now along with the Golden club - a strange little plant. The bog bean has just finished.

I may have mentioned before, but the local cats keep rubbing their faces on the bog bean so I looked up its medicinal properties and it is a sedative among other things. They also like the Valerian and Nepeta which also have sedative properties. I wonder if they have an aroma that cats identify. Obviously the cat mint smells minty, but there may be another scent which we don't notice. I haven't noticed the cats being particularly relaxed, but they do go all drooley and roll about when they are sampling these plants.

Castelnau RB Pyrenée, France(Zone 8a)

Thanks Pat, I was very lucky that he was drowsy in the sun
I look forward to seeing your pond :)

that's really interesting about the bog bean and valerian.
Our cats ignore the 2 different types of nepeta I have and haven't shown any interest in the valerian either. Perhaps they feel sleepy enough already LOL

Weymouth, Dorset, United Kingdom(Zone 9a)

Incredible photo there, I love the dragon flys and othet pond insects, I could happily spend hours just sitting and watching them.....(who wouldn't when housework is the alternative!!)

I can't grow catmint, it gets chomped as soon as it's planted, All the cats in the neighbourhood seem to line up for a much. I 've even bought quite large plants, and still it gets eaten to the ground, never to be seen again..I'm going to see if I can get some seeds of the huge catmint (temporarliy forgotton name of ) and when it's well established try that. Knowing my luck, probably find a tiger there munching it

Sheffield, United Kingdom(Zone 7b)

I didn't manage to get a photo of the damsel flies, but here is a bit of the pond. This is the one with golden orfe, goldfish and tench in that the frogs like best. It was dug out in 2000 and gradually constructed and planted up over a couple of years, so isn't all that old. It is amazing how fast aquatic plants spread. The irises need thinning as they have nearly grown across the pond, but they do look beautiful when they are all flowering. They have just started to open this week.

The water lilies are the pink ones with deep bronze leaves - quite a small variety which I think were called Sunset.

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Castelnau RB Pyrenée, France(Zone 8a)

Thanks Sue :)
I've always grown catmint and none of the cats we've had have ever shown the slightest interest. Isn't that weird?

What a wonderful garden as well as the pond Pat! Thanks for posting the photo.
The pond looks as if it's been there forever. I can see why it's so attractive to wildlife. Hope mine gets to be as good

Castelnau RB Pyrenée, France(Zone 8a)

Very excited because another two species have come to sample the pond :)
First a delicate little damsel fly

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Castelnau RB Pyrenée, France(Zone 8a)

.........and then Mr and Mrs toad dropped in. Mrs toad fancied a bit of sailing like the tree frog. She may look small in the photo, but you can get more of a feeling of scale when you think of the little tree frog perching at the top of one of those 'lettuce' leaves!!

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Sheffield, United Kingdom(Zone 7b)

My pond has masses of damsel flies this week, both the red bodied and the azure but I've not seen any dragon flies recently.

We used to have lots of toads in the garden, but I haven't seen any for years, and there is never any toad spawn in the pond. When I was small our resident toad lived in a large clump of variegated grass in a shady corner of the garden. I could always find him there in summer and he hibernated in the ashes in the base of the coldframe in winter.
We didn't even have a pond then so he would have had quite a trek across the road and up a steep banking to the nearest one.

I had a traumatic accident this morning while mowing the lawn, I accidentally mowed a frog and he was so badly injured - won't go into detail - that I had to finish him off. I will in future check the longer bits of grass round the edges near the little pond before getting the mower out.

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Castelnau RB Pyrenée, France(Zone 8a)

That's a real beauty Pat! Much more thrilling colour than mine .....

Bad luck with the frog - that happened to me once, so I sympathise.

Weymouth, Dorset, United Kingdom(Zone 9a)

Thats horrible Pat, I remember hubby lighting a bonfire once, and after a couple of minutes a frog crawled out from under it looking very shrivelled, I felt physically sick, I hate to see animals hurt.
And once using the electric hedge trimmers I cut a slow worm in half, I had no idea they climbed up hedges, this was right at the top.

Especially this time of the year with the little froglets in the grass, I go tramping around first hoping that they'll all dive for cover before he comes along with the mower.

I love to watch the dragon flies, especially the really big ones that seem to dive-bomb you, making a lot of noise when they fly.

As we went out the front door last night there was a huge frog sat right on our front door steps in the sun, goodness knows what he was doing there, he almost got squashed, only that my daighter saw him at the last moment and jumped the last two steps, to avoid him, almost going flying over the low wall to the drive....

Sheffield, United Kingdom(Zone 7b)

Hi Philomel,
How has your pond turned out? I noticed you had another thread about a leaky duck pond did you manage to fix it and have your ducks tried out your new pond yet?

I've been trying to thin out the vegetation in my pond today. I have only taken out one Japanese iris, but it had gone half way across the pond so the pond looks huge again. There were a few cross looking frogs on the path as I left all the plants on the edge for any pond life to escape before it goes in the compost heap.

I keep thinking about getting a couple of ducks but wonder if they would make a complete mess of the pond. Would they spoil it for the fish and do they trample everything down with their big feet? They had them at the farm where I did the seed saving course and they said they hardly ever saw any slugs since they got the ducks, which is my main reason for getting some.

How easy is it to control where they go? Do you clip their wings? Would little fences keep them off seedlings etc.?

I ought to be asking Baa I suppose with Beetle and all.

Weymouth, Dorset, United Kingdom(Zone 9a)

Our pond has been very overgrown this summer, had a job to see the waters surface at all, let alone any life in there.So I did my pond out a couple of weeks ago Pat too, or rather gave instructions to my daughter as I stood and supervised. Talk about hysterical...she doesn't do dirt!!...or smelly things...and detests frogs...

As she was pulling out this carex that had grown huge, this in turn pulled out an iris that had grown into it also..and along with this came the water lily too...she was pulling with all her might trying to drag out this one never ending mass of plants from the pond...and of course with it came hundreds of frogs....she was too scared to drop the lot back in the pond in case it splashed her..and was trying to dodge this frenzy of leaping frogs... I couldn't move for laughing...

But now it's sorted looks much bettre, and the fish are happily (or I'm assuming they're happy) swimming around like mad.
All manner of creatures crawled out from the plants, and hopefully back into the pond again.

This is a picture of before.

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Weymouth, Dorset, United Kingdom(Zone 9a)

After.

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Sheffield, United Kingdom(Zone 7b)

That is quite a difference Sue. I can just imagine your daughter having a panic. I had a similar problem with everything being tangled in the next plant and they weigh a ton when you try to move them. I've tried to move another one but had to leave it half out of the pond as it is attached to so much other stuff. I'm going to get a knife and cut them apart and try not to puncture the liner.

I like your decking platform - I've been thinking about putting my seat back next to the pond as it is so relaxing just to sit by water and watch the fish and insects and listen to the frogs croaking to one another. They sound like little motorbikes when they all start up.

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(Zone 5a)

Pat and Sue your ponds are so lovely! Love all the plants around them - looks so natural!
Philomel your pond project looks really good too and i love those cute little tree frogs!

Sheffield, United Kingdom(Zone 7b)

Sorry I've put the same photo in I used earlier for the before picture.
Here is the half cleared one I took today: The light was in the wrong place, but the fish show up well.

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Weymouth, Dorset, United Kingdom(Zone 9a)

Wow...how do you keep your fish? I've lost count of those I've bought and lost, presumably to herons, or possibly gulls seeing as I went out one day to find a huge gull dragging himself out of my pond!!..

I have three left, and one of those is named Dennis, after Dennis Healey ,as it looks as if it has huge eyebrows!

the pond is now completely covered in duck weed, but I'm leaving it at the mo for a bit of cover for the remaining fish.

I do use the deck a lot, as does my cat...the pond goes right under it, so it also gives the fish some cover .

Sheffield, United Kingdom(Zone 7b)

We do lose a few to the heron, but I usually stretch some pea netting over the shallow bits in winter when there isn't as much cover for them and the heron doesn't like that.

What a great name for a goldfish - Dennis - I can't imagine a fish with eyebrows.

Some of my fish are about 30 years old as they are what the children won at fairs when they were small. Others have been adopted from friends who no longer wanted them. They also breed every year, but not many survive. There are some little black ones from last year. We also have a very large old tench which is about 15 inches long. You just see a mouth appear from under a lily pad and the food disappears as if down a vacuum cleaner. There are also three young golden orfe which are the offspring of the very large ones that died when the thunderstorm made the pump cut out last year.

A very sad picture - all those beautiful fish. I lost seven golden orfe and a golden rud and some of the largest goldfish all because of a power failure in hot weather. It just shows how much they depend on oxygenated water when they are large. They seem to grow to fit the conditions in the pond and then if something changes the larges or oldest die off and then the small ones take their place.

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(Zone 5a)

Wow those are big fish! Do they stay outside during winter??? Doesn't the pond freeze? Mine are so tiny compared to those .... but ofcourse they have to stay inside in a small aquarium during most of the year and it would be a bit too tight for comfort if they were that size ;-)

There are three of my tiny fish in the pond :-)

Thumbnail by rannveig

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