The pond garden in June
It must have been May of 2003 when the ground was broken for the garden pond. I went out to the back yard and got a garden hose, laid it out in the shape I wanted the pond to be, and began digging. The boys and I dug the hole which is about 10 feet long, 6 feet wide, and three feet deep. We dug down about 1 1/2 feet, then to make shelves, we went laterally about a foot and a half before continuing the downward dig.
In the process of making the pond garden - Beginning in 2003
You can see how eager we were to sit beside our little pond.
THEN I found old carpet and cut it into approximately 2 ft. strips that were about 22 feet long? I'm not sure exactly, but they had to go from the ground level down into the pond and back up the other side, always overlapping, to line the pond with carpet so that no rocks could work through and poke a hole in the liner that would later be laid on top.
THEN I found a huge piece of rubber roofing and managed, with a little fold here and a little fold there, to get it laid in on top of the carpet. Yes, so far we had all this stuff lying about the place. (Don't ask.)
Getting ready for the brick
Try not to notice the dog house in the background or the rusty old monster boiler that sits in the 18' x 71' dog pen. I guess the pen is for the boiler; the dogs are certainly never in there. They live in the big house with us. At least we haven't had to start paying them rent - yet.
THEN it was time to haul in railroad ties so I could plant my flower gardens around three sides of the pond. Kevin and the boys did all that, and we actually did purchase the RR ties from a lumber yard. The stones to line the stream were in a pile of stones out in the field (which the previous owners of the farm, with much sweat and toil, had removed from their fields.) We used the riding lawn mower and trailer to bring the stones from the field.
The boys hauled wheelbarrow by wheelbarrow of black dirt from a pile we had dumped at the top of the driveway - over to the pond gardens. (BLESS THEIR LITTLE HEARTS!!) (they were 14 and 16 at the time, PERfect age for this job. And they enjoyed it! This was not done in one day, of course.)
The brickwork is done (thanks to Kevin)
The boys, Kevin, and I hauled the old brick from a school building that had been torn down. So the brick was a good price - free. All we had to do was drive our truck to the location, scrounge through the brick to find unbroken ones, and haul them home.
Kevin built the stream bed, including a couple little waterfalls, and lined it with rubber roofing, tucking in the hose from the recirculating pump which we'd placed into the pond , and laid the stones at the edge of the stream.
The last thing to do was fill the pond with water and start planting flowers. You'll notice that I actually filled the pond as soon as the rubber roofing was laid to see if there were any leaks!
I planted a row of lilacs following the perimeter of the flower gardens so that they would grow up and hide the dog pen, dog house, useless monster boiler, clothes lines, etc. The first couple years, because the lilacs weren't big enough to do the job, two rows of corn were planted at the back of the flower garden. It helped - until the raccoons got to the corn.
Reflections of 2008
What started out as a part-sun garden is now mostly a shade garden. The maples, basswood, and flowering crab have all grown up and make it a challenge to find plants that will get enough sunlight to blossom. Of course the daffodils have full sun to blossom because they're up before the trees have leafed out.
What does manage to survive in the garden are the following:
They are strategically placed so that those that need more sun are in the sunnier spots.
To keep the pond clean all summer, I get four water hyacinths from the nursery and a bucketful of snails. It creates a great little ecosystem that all works together to make an enjoyable addition to the backyard.
My dad and Bridger taking a coffee break beside the garden pond
Summer of 2010 - It was my dad's last summer with us.
Largo, ready to dip into the pond
Yeah, he's a fake, but he's fooled a lot of people! (I move him from place to place.)
This little frog is the real thing! Isn't he cute!
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