A room with a view
This week Ecospace started to install the ‘garden room’ in our ongoing Belsize Park project and this is the view. It will get better, and less muddy. In the foreground is the beginnings of the pond, that will be surrounded by wildflower meadow grass. The pond is a very important part of this garden, as almost any body of water, whatever its size, will have some wildlife value, even if only as a drinking place for birds. Many small birds will drink and bathe in a small pond. Some common species of dragonfly and damselfly will breed in ponds and they are also important for frogs. This pond has no pumps but relies on aquatic planting to manage the oxygen levels. As a rule of thumb you need 2 bunches or 9cm basket of oxygenators per m² of surface area but less the larger the pond size aiming for 30% of the volume in time. You need to aim for 60% of your water surface area covered by plants - either waterlily or annual surface cover plants. Blending out from the wet areas of the pond the wetland habitat planting should be dense in places to allow the creatures that come and go from the water at various stages of their life cycles to do so safely under the protection of plant foliage. Hopefully, by next summer this will not only be a beautiful garden but a wildlife friendly oasis in the middle of the city. Personally we would like to see more ponds in London as opposed to the largely pointless and often rather ugly ‘water features’ that seem so popular.