I can identify with the dragonfly. We require water to drink, food to eat and a place to rest and be secure. Looking around our garden, I see very few dragonflies because it offers none of the above. It needs a body of water with some plants in it. Kidney-shaped or round, deep or shallow, wild or formal; anything will attract beetles, newts, tadpoles and dragonflies. A forever changing landscape to sit and watch whilst drinking a cup of tea.
Research begins in earnest and what a joy! Anything that captures water will do: a butler sink, old cattle trough or hole in the ground. Whatever works best for your area. An irregular design attracts most wildlife, it has scope for shelving and shallows. We can create a beach using logs and stones to ease access for drinking and an escape route for anything that falls in. An arching branch or planted reeds will provide a perch for insects to hunt and defend their territory. So far as situation is concerned, a pond able to receive both sun and shade will deter algal bloom and stop the water level from dropping quickly whilst still attracting sun-loving wildlife. Avoid deciduous trees though, the leaves can easily clog up the water and roots can lead to liner punctures. Finally, a good mix of floating, marginal, oxygenators and bog plants will add to this multi-layered ecosystem the pond will become. Canít wait to start, now where is my spade?
For those lucky enough to already have an established pond, early Spring can be such a magical time. Frogs and toads will be noisily calling for mates at night time, midges will gather above the waterís surface in late afternoon and the first leaves of marginal plants, such as brooklime and water forget-me-not will creep back into life. Birds will drink and bathe during the day while at night, hedgehogs will take over. Oh Ö and of course, once frogspawn is laid the larvae of aquatic invertebrates such as dragonflies and damselflies will hunt. Did you know, the dragonfly nymph moults up to 14 times until it is fully grown. Maybe I donít have that much in common with the dragonfly after all!
If you have a story to tell about your garden pond, we would love to hear from you. Please let the LPCAG know about wildlife attracted to your space. Letís share the news on our local biodiversity.
10th March 2023