Ewen's garden

A collection of columns, paintings and photographs about gardening on an offshore island in New Zealand.

Friday, June 17, 2005


True to my word I have started my pond and bog garden feature. With not too much difficulty I have excavated a bowl shape with a parapet, finding a level from which to estimate the final height of the water when filled. This is important as I don’t want any of the ugly polythene to be exposed above the water line.

Once the bowl shape was formed, I used the spirit level to ascertain the desired height of water, which meant in this case increasing the height of my parapet. Next sand is placed in the bottom of the bowl to save the polythene from being perforated by any sharp stones or other bits and pieces. Normally I would have put in some drainage around the back side, that is, the up hill side of the pond, to prevent water welling up underneath the polythene. In my case here the pond is so small and the site so steep I decided against the extra effort this would have required. At this point I might add I have made a pond before, albeit a much larger one and neglected to add the drainage. Naturally with the first heavy downpour the polythene liner welled up with water from beneath to the point of emptying the water from within the pond itself! This was a very frustrating episode in shortcuts. Fingers crossed this time.

I have dug my pond in way that allows me to add stones to the inside to give a more natural appearance to the edge. So in goes the polythene, with no small amount of jostling to get it to sit just right with not too many wrinkles. Now I almost filled the pond with water, not quite up to the final height, as I intend the water to merely trickle over the parapet I just want the whole to settle for a while before I continue.
The next step will be to make adjustments to the height of the parapet and dig out the area below where the bog part will be. The polythene is then laid down in the rest and the final rocks put in place. I hope this drawing will make clearer what might just be a little difficult to put into words! Plans will always be an essential part of explaining a project.

More next time when I hope to have more or less finished, then I can talk about the best bit, putting in the plants.