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by Julie Brooks

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Tuesday, 28 May 2013

An exciting discovery

Hello everyone

Well, the English weather continues to confound and confuse us. On Saturday and Sunday we had lovely warm sunshine, and we even had our first ever barbecue in this garden, yesterday the morning was reasonably warm and sunny but it deteriorated rapidly as the afternoon wore on to the point where it felt rather bracing out there again by teatime (still got my washing dried though!), and today it's grey and raining. Sigh. The poor birds must be wondering what on Earth is going on!

Anyway, we made a little discovery in our garden yesterday!

Remember this ...

Those of you who have been regularly reading my posts will have seen this photo in a recent one where I was sharing our lovely garden blooms with you all. Well, that fine soil appeared to be a big ants nest and I resisted the temptation to mess with it! Anyway, yesterday we decided to do some digging. Just to fill in a bit more detail, this is a section of our garden which was full of soil and stones and rectangular in shape and surrounded by concrete paving slabs. So, we'd had a theory since moving in that it might once have been a pond and we expected the hole to be quite deep. We had a preformed pond liner from my dad that he no longer wanted (and they are quite expensive to buy and we knew we wanted a pond of some sort in the garden eventually ....) and we'd thought it would fit into said hole quite nicely once dug out. So, Alex (our son) being very eager to get started on this little project persuaded his Dad that they should do the digging out. Well, first off let me tell you there were no more than about six ants in that huge pile of powdery soil - I suspect they moved home once their cover was blown! So, with more than a little relief at not suddenly being inundated with little ants scurrying everywhere, the digging continued at a pace. Once they got about 12 inches down though, they hit something red - either tile or brick, it wasn't clear initially. They'd also discovered a square of concrete on each corner. They continued digging out and eventually this was revealed ....

It's a fully constructed garden pond! We were a bit gobsmacked for want of a better phrase as we'd expected just a big hole in the ground! The pond is about 4 to 5 feet long by about 3 to 4 feet wide and just over 12 inches deep, with a fully tiled bottom and concrete sides that also have a lining of some sort. Unfortunately some of the lining has broken off but much of it is still intact. Closer inspection revealed this ....

This is a properly installed hole which we think may have been where a water feature of some sort sat, at one end, and perhaps that hole was where the cables came through. But we're not entirely sure! It's clearly something along those lines, and it's the only one in the pond. Our son suggested it might just be like a plughole in a sink, so that the water could be easily drained out. Who knows, anything is possible!

Anyway, since making this discovery and agreeing it would be a bit of a waste to just chuck all the soil back in again (and I'm not sure what we could grow in it other than bulbs and shallow rooted veggies anyway), we have decided to make any necessary repairs to reseal it and then we're going to have some goldfish in it. It's deep enough for them (I checked!) and we can probably have around half a dozen in there without it being too crowded as they grow. It will be nice to return this original feature of the garden (remember, this house was built in 1957) to something close to its former glory. We'll have a water feature of some sort in that same position where the "plughole" is, which will not only be lovely in terms of watching the water moving, and hearing it, but will help aerate the pond, and we'll get a few small plants which will also add oxygen and provide shaded areas for the fish. It needs a ramp so that beasties can get in and out (frogs, toads, etc.) and we'll have to put wire mesh over it because we regularly see a heron flying overhead and with it only being a shallow pond the fish would be gone in a flash otherwise! We're not sure what to do with those concrete squares on the corners - maybe put potted plants there which like their roots only just dipped in the water, such as Iris perhaps. I will be sure to post pics on here as it progresses. And one thing remains to be decided ... where to put all of that soil which is now sitting in a huge great pile at the side of our newly discovered pond!

Now, that takes care of our son's desire for some goldfish in the garden, but we still need to sort out where to incorporate the preformed pond liner, which will then become just a wildlife pond with no fish, so maybe that can go somewhere shady like near the log pile at the bottom of the garden. But that's another project - best get this one finished first I think!

Anyway, I'm off now, but just before I go, remember I told you about our lovely peony bushes in the garden, with their big red flower buds waiting to burst open? I promised a photo once they opened and I don't like breaking promises, so here you go ...

How gorgeous is that!

Bye for now,
love from me xx