Monday, 31 March 2008

On Sunday we trimmed the edge of the pond liner and buried some of it. To the right hand side we buried a large piece of liner to make a bog garden. Expect an entry on bog plants in the near future.

The pond isn't quite filled up to the right level yet, but we're going to get the plants and newts in first and then fill it gradually.

Saturday, 29 March 2008

Lining the pond

Having got our newts to think about we'd been waiting for a break in the weather to finish off the pond. Unfortunately the break never came so we went out on Friday night and braved the weather to line the pond.

We used a layer of loft insulation under the liner to prevent stones and roots from breaking through. Even with a single layer of loft insulation it looked like there was no pond hole left, but as soon as the water went in it squashed down nicely.

We bought the liner from B&Q in the end, having found it cheaper than Otter Nurseries. It came in a fixed size so we have plenty to spare to make a bog garden and more. Unfortunately we have no outside tap so having emptied the water butt, buckets and wheelbarrow that we'd had outside collecting rainwater we were then reduced to filling the washing up bowls and carrying that out. After about 60 of those we gave up for the night and this morning we bought a hose. Not that the hose would attach to our indoor tap, but we used the connector for the washing machine instead.

Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Early butterflies

When we bought our house there were very few 'garden plants' in the garden - lavender, a bergenia, a hydrangea, a couple of pink geraniums and a shrub of some sort. As a result we had very few butterflies last year - a total of only 4 species (red admiral, speckled wood, small white and small tortoiseshell) and most of them preferred the wild flower species in the lawn. With all the planting we've been doing (including several buddleias and wild flower species) we're hoping that this year will be different. Exeter has a large variety of butterflies including clouded yellows, brimstones and white admirals. Would be lovely to attract some of those.

In early January a pair of red admirals arrived and became very fond of the bergenia. Our first comma of the year arrived on the 19th of March and is a welcome addition to our butterfly species list.

Monday, 24 March 2008

Additions to the family

Today we returned from a trip up North to see family at Easter. As usual the car came back loaded with all sorts of goodies. These included plants (rarely a week has gone by when our car hasn't transported plants since we bought our house), our tabby cat William and the usual Easter choccies. More unusually I spent the journey sharing a footwell with a family of newts and a tub full of frogspawn thanks to my very generous father. The newts were very brave and survived 6 hours of jolts and noise. William protested a little louder than the newts, but on the whole was very good.

Our newt family consists of two adults and at least 5 little newtlets, one of which seems a much darker colour than the others. Hopefully I shall photograph them before they make their final journey to our new pond, but for now I shall borrow a photograph or two of my fathers (there is after all a small possibility that our newts could be the ones that he photographed).

A new blog

I have temporarily stopped blogging on frog-end. The blog was intended to consist of various potentially useless scraps of information that I hoped to learn. In recent weeks my learning has focussed on two things - Japanese and Caribbean parrotfish (due to a recent change of jobs). Whilst I shall probably do the odd entry about both of these I've decided that in general I would prefer to do a more regular blog about our garden and its wildlife...