5 reasons everyone should build a wildlife pond

“Are you getting fish?” the question that’s followed me around ever since I dug a 3m diameter, 1m deep pond in my garden.

No way. This baby is all about the wildlife!

I finally filled it last summer, filled it with tap water and then let a bunch of leaves fall in during autumn, leading to crazy algae ever since, but nonetheless wildlife have flocked to this little oasis. We have about five different types of damselfly, newts, frogs and invertebrates of all sorts actually living in the water, it’s a little hub of life. I also planted it up with a range of plants, which hopefully will eventually cover enough of the surface to stop the algae in its tracks.

So I have never regretted my decision not to introduce fish, in fact, I probably look at people who’ve asked about it like they’re crazy. Here’s 5 good reasons to keep your pond for the wildlife only:

  1. The excitement of the unexpected

You introduce fish and you know roughly what you’re getting. With a wildlife pond you don’t bring anything in, nature just finds a way, exactly like a tiny Jurassic Park…but considerably less terrifying.

  1. Low maintenance

Mine’s not super low maintenance at the moment as I am on algae watch, but that was my mistake – get yourself some water lilies pronto and make sure you collect rain water to fill the pond first off and then just sit back and watch nature do its thing.

  1. Any size. Any place

You need a certain size for fish, as I understand it, but it’s not so for a wildlife pond. You can sink a barrel into the ground, pop some stones in one side for things to climb in and out, pop in a pond plant and BOOM! Wildlife pond.

  1. It’s good for wildlife

Well yeah. But seriously, water sources are depleting and our native species need all the help they can get, You’ll not believe the amount of tiny animals who will enjoy your pond. Birds love it, amphibians love it, underwater…things love it! I don’t know the names or classifications of half of what is in and around my pond and it is an ever changing collection.

  1. It’s soothing

This is probably true of all ponds, but there’s just nothing more lovely than sitting next to water listening to a slight breeze ruffling the reeds. Some people have meditation, I have a pond.

Bonus reason! So far my pond seems to be the only area of my garden that doesn’t need weeding.

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do you know the way to São Miguel?

This time last year the UK had just voted for Brexit and I was heartbroken, but heading off for an absolutely amazing trip to the Azores, or more specifically one Azorean island, the beautiful São Miguel.

It was basically my perfect holiday. The Azores is not a well known holiday destination, apparently, as there were few tourists. We hired a car and the driving was super easy, the roads are well maintained and there are not many cars. There was SO much to do for nature fans like myself and it wasn’t too warm to get out and do it all. The highlights:

Whale watching: there are a whole host of companies able to take you out whale watching on all manner of sea craft. We went with the fabulous Futurismo, who are one of the biggest, but we chose a small boat, a zodiac, so it felt more like a small boutique tour. Even without the whales is would have been a great morning, bouncing across the Atlantic and looking out at the vast ocean, but we were lucky to see Sei whales and two types of dolphin.

Snorkel in a volcanic crater: pop out to the Villa Franca Islet to snorkel in beautifully clear, shallow water in the crater of an extinct volcano. I spotted a octopus and it pretty much made my year!

Walk your socks off and then walk some more: this island is absolutely packed with great walking routes that are so well signposted you don’t need map. You download or print the start points and fact sheets before you go and just head off. The routes all have great viewpoints such as hot springs,

waterfalls, lakes, architectural features, abandoned towns…get exploring!

Bathe in hot springs: volcanic action of all sorts is kind of a big deal in the Azores. A number of hotels in the Furnas region have their own hot springs, but for a more rugged experience you can head to Mosteiros or Caldeira Velha (the latter not really SO very rugged).

This was really one of the most gorgeous places in the world I’ve ever visited. I can’t imagine it’ll stay such a secret for much longer, so go before everyone else discovers it!

starting point

When I moved into my home 7 years ago the garden was kind of neat and tidy, a bit run down around the edges and with a couple of established fruit trees. Fast forward to 2014 and 4 years of neglect hadn’t improved things any, so I tried to introduce some structure, I destroyed an ugly path and created a large circular lawn, introducing flowerbeds around the side, created a pond and along the way dug up an old, buried fibreglass pond and tonnes of rubbish, but it still wasn’t very inspiring.

Time for a change.

This year I started again, I made my circular lawn about half the size and began adding paths and a good solid lawn edging to keep my grass out of the flowerbeds. I replanted all my plants into one section, keeping the planting nice and dense to supress weeds. I still have about 70% of the garden left to do, but am holding off as home renovations mean we have a team of builders regularly trampling the earth there, so it looks like an ugly wasteland.

This blog will follow some of my efforts in the garden. I’m a total noob, so making lots of mistakes, but I’m SO keen that failure isn’t an option!

Here’s our original garden and 2014’s snaps. Eep.

what the what?!

What on earth am I thinking starting another blog on this crowded internet of ours? There’s no need, is there? We’ve got it covered.

Fair enough.

When I was younger I kept a journal. It was therapeutic and it kept my thoughts and memories safe somewhere I could find them later, but the thing about  a journal is that it’s private and there’s the risk of it falling into the wrong hands.

So that’s what I’m doing here. I’m blogging about my day-to-day, my garden, my art, my occasionally anxiety and anti-socialness, but hopefully in a positive way. And the hope is that this time it will fall into the right hands. x