I spent today at an Infant School that I do quite a lot of work at. I have set up a bird feeding station, next box camera kit and delivered workshops to the staff and children… I even built their school website! I will be working with the school over the next year to develop their school grounds further. Today’s job was to tackle the pond. The school has a small area, between two playgrounds, that is fenced off. In here is a decent sized pond, four buddleias… and a lot of gravel! I have planned some insect planting and bug houses in this sunny spot and will be doing that element next spring. In the meantime, the pond had been a little neglected over the last few years and had become completely clogged with plants.
There are actually quite a lot of really nice plants in there… a good variety, but they had just become overgrown and the network of root systems threatened to completely overwhelm the whole area! This is what the pond looked like before I started……
I spent today in the pond, sorting and pulling out huge swathes of rather stinky plants, but ensuring I left a selection of all the species. I had decided to buy a pair of waders… had a feeling they may come in useful and today was the first time I got to actually try them out! Not the most attractive piece of clothing I have ever worn, but they certainly did the job… and gave the staff a laugh! It meant that I could get right in the pond… the only way I was going to be able to clear this!
During the day, different groups came for me to talk to them…. we talked about ,y very special attire(!) and I had also caught some fish and pond skaters to show them. I am trying to catch all the fish and remove them from the pond, as they eat so much of the natural life we want to be encouraging in a wildlife pond. The kids were really interested and had lots of questions!
After a couple of hours, I was starting to make some headway, but the plants had just matted into a huge, heavy, smelly ,ass of roots that was difficult to separate and remove….
It took me just about the whole day, but the end result was worth it… a clear stretch of water, with a good selection of plants still left to overwinter and multiply in the Spring!
In the Spring, the kids and I will plant up this area for insects and create a little haven in here… it is rather lacking in life at the moment, but is a nice little sunny spot and perfect for some nectar rich planting!
A couple of Yr 2 pupils came to help me measure the area so I can draw up a plan….. nothing like ‘real’ maths!!
A good day’s work done, I headed home for a shower…. I did not smell too pleasant! I am returning to the school next week to set up the bird feeding station for the winter, with the pupils and to make some bird feeders. Should be fun!