Water in the Garden

Steve Lovell is a landscape designer of many years experience and at Ticknall Garden Club’s November meeting he combined that with his interest in wildlife when he talked about Water in the Garden.

He demonstrated the pleasure of integrating water features into a garden and gave different examples whilst explaining their original inspiration. Streams and rills were once used for irrigation. The calm lake surfaces in nature highlighted reflections. Towering water spouts and cascades featured in the gardens of stately homes and the geometry of circular and rectangular structures provided the deeper water habitats for carp and water lilies.

Water features need not be on a grand scale however. Pots filled with water, a lion mask on a wall, a water wall, water trickling through rocks or drilled pebbles all have their place.

A stream running through a garden needs management. A check with the relevant authorities on any restrictions or responsibilities is necessary. The risk of flooding also needs to be assessed. A covering of mesh on the bank helps to prevent soil and plants being washed away.

The making of a pond needs planning and considerable effort when a digger might even be required. Outlining the shape on the diagonal gives the illusion of more length. The first underlay is bedded on an initial layer of sand which is then weighted with more sand and another underlay. The final layer is the butyl liner which will last indefinitely. The pond is slowly filled with water as the creases are adjusted and then trimmed as the edges are finished with rocks or paving or planting.

If the aim is to attract wildlife then shallow edges are needed for access by visiting frogs, newts, birds, hedgehogs and so on. Fish are not advisable as they eat the spawn.

Plants are available for the different levels. The boggy edges will suit ferns, candelabra primula, lythrum, astilbe and many other moisture loving plants. Marginal plants include flag iris, arum lily, flowering rush, skunk cabbage and any that like their feet in water. Water soldier, water hawthorn and reed mace and oxygenating plants suit deeper water. Some need to be submerged in baskets.

Steve Lovell believed wholeheartedly in the value of having at least some water feature in every garden and if it is a pond designed to attract wildlife then so much the better.

Forthcoming attraction

Ticknall Garden Club is delighted to be welcoming Tony Kirkham as their speaker on January 8th at 7.30 pm in Ticknall Village Hall. Tony is Head of the Arboretum at Kew Gardens.

Some months ago he appeared in a TV programme with Dame Judi Dench which featured their shared passion for trees. Set within the backdrop of Dame Judi’s secret woodland they considered the role of trees in history and their future as well as the science behind their growth.

With the title A Passion for Trees his talk will be based on this theme. Tickets will cost £5 for members and £8 for visitors and will be available at the door.

Pamela Adams
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Pamela Adams

In addition to her many other interests, Pam keeps us up to speed on the activities of the Ticknall Garden Club.