My new pond

5 June, 2007

We've now lived in our new home for a couple of months. I've been patient long enough. Time for a new pond!

Our garden is blessed with huge and stunningly beautiful Hawkesbury sandstone platforms and outcrops. These will provide a natural backdrop and template for the pond. They're covered with a mass of various bryophyte and lichen species. One day, I hope I'll be able to identify them all.

                                                          Above:   Martien helps by digging out dreaded agapanthus roots

The plan is for a three-tiered pond with two waterfalls. The first level is a small pre-fab waterfall that I used in our previous pond. From there, the water will cascade down between two large rocks to a smaller pond, and from there, into the large pond. It's going to be tricky to ensure that the water remains within the structures. In these days of drought, leakage would be a real problem.

Left: The waterfall and the small pond. The fern in the background is Angiopteris evecta (King Fern). It will grow pretty big, hopefully. It's said to have the largest fronds of any fern. I will encourage any naturally growing ferns around the pond, to help soften the effect.



Left, below: The large pond. It measures around 1.5m in length. I bought this from the amazing Kevin and Lisa of Austral Watergardens of Cowan, just north of Sydney. They deserve a big plug, so if you're after a pond or water feature and live in the region, please visit their stunningly beautiful place in the bush.


 The exotic plants I'm removing are mainly agapanthus, a truly nasty invasive plant (and don't get me started on the person who planted them right next to a National Park!). As I take them out, I'm discovering some lovely local plants that have been struggling for life under the agapanthus, including Hibbertia scandens, Epacris longiflora,  Woollsia pungens, and a range of fern species.



 Woollsia pungens




Next, of course, is digging. Unlike my previous garden which had clay soil, the soil here is quite sandy. That makes it easier to dig, but the downside is that there are large sandstone  pieces throughout it. So far I haven't encountered any that I haven't been able to remove, and I'm hoping I won't encounter anything that requires breaking up rock.

 Once the pond is in, I'm going to plant some Doryanthes excelsa (Gymea Lily) to provide a lush background feature. They take ages to grow, and even more ages to flower, but they're spectacular when they're mature. When I was a kid, we used to call them "triffids".  Here's a botanical drawing by W.H.Fitch, from "Gatherings of a Naturalist in Australasia" (1860).