A Pond for the Herb Garden

Our herb garden is settling in but we have been waiting on the final part, which arrived last week. The large box delivered by a flummoxed driver - our road was closed last week for resurfacing work - and the driver panicked about coming down a narrow lane in a large van with a large box. Little D was instantly excited, this is his project, his idea and he's been asking for it for ages. 

herb garden, gardening, pond garden

Yes, Little D wanted a pond, not a 'large' pond but a 'large' pond in a child's eye. It should hold two fish, or a thousand fish, and when they get too big he's nominated our next door neighbour to have these too big fish in her larger pond. Obviously, she didn't know she would receive a thousand fish in the next few years and when he told her, she was somewhat flummoxed, more than the delivery driver, but unlike the driver she handled it with aplomb rather than a hissy fit about delivering to rural addresses in this day and age. We know. We know. Thank you for good neighbours and let's laugh at the collapse of our postal service. Anyway, this giving away of a thousand fish to one person happened because of the Blenheim Half Barrel form Stewart Garden. Our pond is 61cm x 41cm, and can be used for planting, or in our case for filling with water, 80 litres of it. We wanted a pond to bring in wildlife into the herb garden but we didn't want to dig a hole in the front garden for obvious reasons. It's not a large garden and a small hole in a small garden is just asking for a big accident. Little D wanted a pond at the height of him, the kind he can kneel beside and not fall into. The kind he can play in or even as he pointed out, bathe in. Yes, we stopped him climbing in because the half barrel is made of plastic, tough plastic but not tough enough to sustain fervent paddling from an over excited small boy.

small pond, gardening

So, with numerous trips from the kitchen to the front garden on the cards, we all got our shoes on and our watering cans out, Carol opted for a large jug and Andrew reached for his spirit level beside his favourite watering can. He also grabbed a small hand rake to help with leveling the pond. For a pond must be level.

gardening, life on pig row

gardening with children, gardening

It's important to get a pond level and when it's free standing like this to get some weight in the bottom so the barrel settles. There's a simple reason to have a level pond, if you just plonk it down in your garden and leave to the whims of the world, you will discover that your pond will look like it's just left a nightclub at three in the morning and seems forever to be staggering, slanting and slumped against the rest of your garden. It doesn't take long to get a half barrel level and we took out all the gravel beneath it, bedding it down on the sub soil below the gravel. We raked over the sub soil, making it friable (loose) and that meant as we filled the pond it settled down. Even on compacted surfaces you still have the problem that the pond could subside and this means you can fill the pond half full and then check the levels after quarter of an hour. If it hasn't sunk, you can carry on and fill it all the way.

gardening, life on pig row

It took around twenty trips to fill the small pond but we soon had it filled and we had a fish too! No, don't get too excited or worried, this was a robo-fish. A test fish, as Little D put it, to make sure that the pond was big enough for a thousand fish. This fish wasn't given to our next door neighbour. No, instead Little D showed that he may have a little bit of poacher in him.

gardening, pond garden, life on pig row

Of course, when Little D did this to the robo-fish in the photo below we did tell him he couldn't do this with a real fish. Yes, he plucked it out of the barrel in the wink of an eye, bringing a whole new meaning to shooting fish in a barrel. These poacher salmon tickling skills may feed us in future years but not from our pond (by the way, we don't advocate poaching or tickling fish).

gardening, life on pig row

So, our pond is in, it's filled with water and we're leaving the water to neutralise over a couple of days. It rained after this and that did help to push that pH towards neutral and we do have plans for the pond. We want to get frogs in next year, a small lily pad, maybe a water soldier but frankly this is new territory for us all, so any advice welcome.

gardening, herb garden

The pond though is there for wildlife too, with is part of why we are making a herb garden to bring in wildlife and wildlife needs water.


Welcome, the new but not final addition to a growing garden. It will please small boy, the birds, the bugs, the bees and butterflies. It will hop with life and will probably result in a soaking or two.

Stewart Garden provided the Blenheim Half Barrel for use in the Life on Pig Row herb garden. We'd like to thank Stewart Garden for supplying this product.

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