Introduction to Garden Ponds

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The terms "water garden" and "garden pond" are often used to mean the same thing. A garden pond normally contains plants and fish like goldfish, while a water garden will contain a variety of aquatic plants and may contain fish typically like gold fish. The term Koi pond differs entirely, from both a water garden and a garden pond because a koi pond will have a limited amount, if any plants in it, basically because the koi will eat most of them. In general, a pond is a small area of still fresh water. A pond differs from a river or stream as it does not have moving water. Some man-made ponds do have elaborate mechanism for water movement like fountains and waterfall but none of these are natural. A natural pond differs from a lake as they are typically smaller and much shallower, and normally filled by rainwater or by underwater springs. These natural ponds are commonly known as dew ponds.

Another less known fact is the history of ponds. For centuries every village and farm would have a pond. The water would be used by both animals and humans. When water supplies and drainage became readily available to the masses, many ponds were neglected and forgotten about. The animals would no longer trample down plants growing on the edges, and soon a combination of fallen debris like leaves and overgrowing plants would begin to starve the pond of its most vital ingredient, oxygen. Many ponds either became bogs, destroyed by pollution, or drained and used for other purposes especially on farms. As an example, sixty to seventy years ago Great Britain had many more natural ponds than today, so sadly they are becoming less common to see. Today however the popularity of man made water gardens and garden ponds is steadily increasing. They bring immense pleasure to many people who find that it�s a relaxing and fulfilling hobby. Depending on where you live, a garden pond can enhance your home and garden by attracting a vast array of wildlife. It's been estimated that over nine hundred species of animals can live in a natural pond environment. This figure is somewhat reduced for a man-made garden pond. A natural pond will attract mammals like voles and shrews, birds like ducks, herons and kingfishers. A garden pond may be frequented by some of the mentioned animals but will not be large enough to sustain them. In a typical garden pond you will find amphibians (newts, toads and frogs), herbivores (water fleas and snails). If you are unlucky you may also attract raccoons or other such varmints who think your pond was specifically built for their culinary needs!

As land is becoming scarce and with the ever increasing effects of pollution on natural ponds, the burden may fall on peoples backyard garden ponds to help species like frogs and newts survive. Why not consider building your own pond? One word of warning though. Just as with swimming pool hazards and concerns, please be very careful if you have young children. Please ensure that your children are constantly supervised.

If you do decide to create your own garden pond, you will be astonished at how quickly it will attract wildlife. You will also enjoy seeing how your pond changes throughout the months, and seasons. The pond will require your attention all year round, but it's especially rewarding to see your efforts flourish in the summer, as you watch the tadpoles mature into frogs, your plants become strong and established, and your fish flourish in a well balanced mini eco-system.

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Author: Steven Sannan
Steven Sannan is currently a member of the staff, with 35+ years of fishkeeping experience. Experience that includes extensive freshwater, saltwater and pond keeping knowledge.

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