Useful information

Natural pond: troubles and joys

There is no sun, but the ponds are bright,

Are cast mirrors,

And bowls of still water

Would seem completely empty

But the gardens were reflected in them.

I. A. Bunin

Since the vegetable beds on the garden plots began to lose ground, giving way to flower beds and flower beds, the reservoir in the garden has become a sign of good form. Fashion, a very, very unceremonious person, invades all spheres of our daily life, and more often we meekly submit to its dictates. Modern materials greatly facilitated the process of creating a reservoir and provided almost unlimited opportunities for realizing your own fantasies, so ponds began to appear everywhere, just like mushrooms after rain. However, in our case, the situation was different. The ponds were not a whim and not a tribute to fashion. Low swampy areas needed draining, and the reservoirs in the garden were intended to drain excess moisture, that is, they acted as an analogue of a conventional drainage ditch. The first small pond was dug by hand. An oblong pit measuring two and a half meters quickly filled with water without our help. Inspired by our success, we called in a technician for help and dug a foundation pit in the most swampy part of the site, the depth of which reached almost three meters.

The result exceeded all expectations. Firstly, it has become much drier not only in our own possessions, but also in our neighbors, who are also concerned about the problems of land reclamation. Secondly, the excavated soil made it possible to raise the level of the site without additional costs. And thirdly, we became the happy owners of two natural reservoirs.

The vistas that opened before me excited my imagination, and I enthusiastically began to explore the coastal zone, having absolutely no idea what difficulties I would have to face. At that time, my acquaintance with garden ponds was limited to using a ready-made plastic mold, so most of the wisdom had to be learned in practice. Fortunately, unexpected problems could not outweigh the merits of a natural pond, and today we do not regret the decision once made.

A natural pond is, first of all, a great opportunity to grow moisture-loving plants almost effortlessly. Most of them are very beautiful, however, placed in an ordinary flower garden, they need frequent watering, which is far from always feasible. The wet shore of the pond allows them to prosper, and the owners will never have obsessive thoughts about the need to leave all other affairs and rush to their favorites to quench their thirst. Moreover, you can go on vacation with a clear conscience, without fear that upon your return you will find cold, or rather, dried "corpses" in the garden.

Daylilies (Hemerocallis), tradescantia (Tradescantia), Siberian irises (Iris sibirica), sloths (Eupatorium) and many other plants with similar requirements, when planted on the shore, will delight you with such lush flowering, which will be very difficult to achieve in less suitable conditions.

Loved by all Astilbe (Astilbe) prefer shaded corners of the garden. However, in the absence of a suitable place, they can be safely landed on the shore directly under the scorching rays of the sun, and at the same time they will feel much better than in dry shade. I was convinced of the fairness of this from my own experience. The same applies, for example, to varieties of large-leaved brunner (Brunnera macrophylla), some variegated hostas (Hosta) and Japanese primroses (Primula japonica).

The wet coast, flooded in spring, allows you to enjoy the company of such beauties as the xiphoid iris hybrids (Iris ensata), which in our country are more often called Japanese irises, and in Japan itself they are called hana-shobu. For these plants, the coastal zone is a place of natural growth. Here they can fully demonstrate their exotic, incomparable beauty.

A pond on the site leads to an increase in air humidity, which means that a special microclimate is created that is favorable for many garden plants. First of all, for rhododendrons, which often suffer from dry air in the Moscow region. If you plant them near the pond, while observing all the other requirements of agricultural technology, they will find themselves in comfortable conditions and will not hesitate to thank the owners with enchanting flowering.

Unfortunately, coastal landings have their drawbacks. In early spring, when the flower beds need to be cleaned out as quickly as possible, removing all the garbage accumulated over the winter, this is quite difficult to do. An artificial pond allows you to approach the very edge of the water without interference. On the natural shore, there is a risk of getting stuck ankle-deep and deeper. Work has to be postponed until the pond finally returns to its banks after the spring flood, and excess moisture leaves the soil. So that last year's foliage does not interfere with the plants in this situation, it is better to cut it in the pre-winter, and, therefore, the volume of autumn work automatically increases.

By the time the shore is dry enough to be stepped on without fear, we must immediately declare war on the weeds. Lost time can lead to catastrophic consequences, because in the coastal zone you have to deal with especially vicious aggressors, before whom even the gloom fades (Aegopodium podagraria) and wheatgrass (Elytrigia repens). Sedge (Carex), cane (Phragmites australis), cattail (Typha latifolia) and common loosestrife (Lysimachia vulgaris) on a completely legal basis, they consider themselves the masters of these places and therefore behave extremely unceremoniously. If you give them some indulgence, then after a short time it will be very difficult to get rid of these self-confident impudent people due to the structural features of their root system and the extremely high growth rate. But the biggest troubles can be delivered, perhaps, by the reeds. (Scirpus radicans). Its long shoots are capable of giving roots even in water, so a new generation of aggressors has to be literally caught before they have time to "feel the ground under their feet." In a small pond it is not very difficult to do this, but in a large and deep reed it turns into a serious problem and threatens with waterlogging.

On the bank of the pond, weed control is reminiscent of the Hundred Years War, because it goes to death throughout the season. If in other parts of the garden by the end of July it is possible to conclude a temporary truce, then at the edge of the reservoir the battles do not stop until the onset of stable cold weather.

When constructing an artificial pond, the task of paramount importance is to carefully decorate its edges, regardless of what exactly is used: a plastic form or a butyl rubber film. A badly decorated edge will negate all the efforts made and hopelessly ruin the impression.

A natural pond, of course, does not need this, thus demonstrating one of its indisputable advantages. But its banks, in turn, require strengthening. Otherwise, there is a risk of one fine day being in the water along with a landslide.

Fortunately, this problem can be solved without the use of technical means. “Whoever hinders us will help us,” declared the famous hero of Frunzik Mkrtchyan in “Prisoner of the Caucasus”. The already mentioned sedges and the company perfectly hold the coast, preventing it from erosion. A smart approach helps transform them from enemies to allies by limiting the spread of these plants to only a narrow coastal edge. Plantain daisies do just as well with this task. (Alisma plantago-aquatica) and loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria). The latter is also remarkable in that it pleases with lush flowering at the end of summer, when most of the plants of the coastal zone have long faded. To this list, it is worth adding moisture-loving cereals, for example, manna (Glyceria aquatica), two-source (Phalaris arundinacea) and gorgeous miscanthus (Miscanthus), also preferring moist soils. When in autumn the panicles of miscanthus inflorescences, like banners, sway against the background of the water surface and are reflected in the mirror of the pond, it has no equal in beauty and grandeur.

If the coast is shallow and too swampy, it is better to use calla (Calla palustris). Over time, it forms dense beautiful thickets, which you will not see in any artificial pond, and will clearly define the border between the "firmament of the earth" and the place where it is better not to tread in order to avoid trouble.

Other bog plants will also help to mark this border. The choice for a natural pond is very large. Some of them are capable of making a lasting impression on your friends and acquaintances. For example, milestone (Cicuta virosa) - the famous cicuta, the poison of which, according to literary sources, Socrates was poisoned. Of course, you shouldn't tell anyone what the Greeks really meant by hemlock. (Conium). Let the guests respectfully admire the sophisticated landmark with its graceful feathery leaves and delicate inflorescence umbrella. The milestone is not aggressive, therefore, unlike calla, it is perfect for small ponds, but it is still not worth starting it in the garden if there are small children in the family.

Natural ponds have another serious drawback - silting. Over time, the depth of the reservoir can significantly decrease due to the accumulating bottom sediment, so from time to time the pond needs to be cleaned. To do this, first of all, you need to pump out the water. If the reservoir is quite large, then you cannot do without equipment in this difficult matter. A small pond can be cleaned out on your own. Every year we choose a time when the weather is dry and hot, we wait until the water level drops to the maximum, and, pulling on wet boots, we clean the bottom of our "hole" with a shovel. The "mud" extracted during this event is an excellent natural fertilizer, which is immediately used in flower gardens and beds. In addition, a seemingly unattractive business turns into unrestrained fun, because adults, willy-nilly smeared, seem to return to childhood, remembering how they loved to tinker in roadside ditches and puddles, and with a light heart arrange for themselves a real "holiday of disobedience" ...

But to solve the problem with water purification in a natural pond, in my opinion, is much easier than in an artificial reservoir. In any case, no additional costs are required for this. Instead of filters, aerators and special additives that prevent "blooming", it is enough to plant oxygenator plants in the reservoir. They enrich the water with oxygen, small particles of suspension, which is certainly present in the water, settle on their leaves, so in some ways they can compete with complex and expensive filtration systems. The easiest way to deal with the hornwort (Ceratophyllum demersum). It is enough to throw its cuttings into the water, and then from time to time thin out the thickets with an ordinary rake, which we successfully do. You can also mention rdest (Potamogeton) and elodea (Elodea), however, the latter should be handled with extreme care. This visitor from across the ocean is not without reason called the "water plague": the speed with which it conquers new territories is amazing.

However, oxygenator plants are likely to settle in a natural pond on their own, without any help. Perhaps they will get there during the spring flood, or maybe they will be carried by birds, as happened in our case. Birds will certainly appear near the pond, and the larger the area of ​​the reservoir, the higher the likelihood of seeing guests quite rare for the garden.

And then it's time to talk about the main dignity of a natural pond, a dignity so significant that for the sake of it it is worth not only to come to terms with certain inconveniences, but also to work hard.

A natural pond is a natural biocenosis located right under the windows of your house.From dawn to late evening, when bats begin to fly silently over the water, grabbing the swarming midges, you can observe the life of the reservoir in every detail, every day, making new discoveries and admiring the wonders stored in the treasury of nature. Of course, this natural community is influenced by humans, but in this case this influence is not so significant and consists mainly in the introduction of plants that are not typical for the given area. But how many charming "savages" will grow on the shores without any interference on your part! Lush meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria) and gentle but stubborn nightshade (Solanum dulcamara), adorable arrowhead (Sagittaria sagittifolia) and refined gravilat (Geum rivale), "Blue-eyed" veronica pocheinaya (Veronica beccabunga) and persistent loosestrife (Lysimachia nummularia) will spread the golden carpet at your feet. "Weeds!" - someone will dismissively throw. Well, there is some truth in this, but after all, many of the ornamental plants so beloved by gardeners are also considered weeds in their homeland. You can believe me: plants that are sometimes not paid attention to, once on the shore of the pond, will sparkle with new colors and give your garden a special charm.

Of course, a natural pond creates very favorable conditions for the development of mosquito larvae. But if there are mosquitoes, then there will be beautiful dragonflies with mica wings shimmering in the sun. This means that there will be lively frogs and important toads that will help you in the difficult fight against pests and will announce the spring garden with their friendly chorus. Busy snakes can settle, and if you do not bother them with excessive attention or empty fears, having mastered, they will also stand up to protect the garden, destroying overly bred mice.

No other gardening venture will bring so much genuine joy to a child. We often forget how difficult it is for a restless, curious little man to wander along neat paths among ideal flower beds. A natural pond will occupy his attention, teach him to live in harmony with nature, and help him develop useful qualities such as observation and patience.

For several years we have been living side by side with the muskrat. This indefatigable beast gives us a lot of trouble, making holes under the shore, digging up flower beds, building a system of tunnels. But this is nothing compared to the delight of my son, who for the first time saw how silently, like the periscope of a submarine, a mustachioed muzzle emerges from the water.

My restless boy, holding his breath, was sitting on the shore when wild mallards descended on the pond. Frozen, he did not take his eyes off the ducks, diving, cleaning their feathers and finally falling asleep in the thickets of sedge and marsh iris. As if spellbound, he watched the mating dance of snakes circling in the water, as if the heroes of Bazhov's Ural tales had come to life.

The garden, as you know, is a reflection of the owner. In the mirror of the garden pond, the reflection multiplies, allowing, looking into the looking glass, to see different facets of your own "I". And a natural pond, in which there is nothing superfluous and alien, will certainly help to find your true self again, without glamor and superficial gloss. Just bend over the water and look at your reflection.