Digging the Hole!
On the right you can see my preferred tools for digging holes in these parts. These are full body work out tools – a digging bar and a pickax. The only thing I didn’t photo are my work gloves – absolutely necessary to prevent blisters!
NOTE: Although it may look like this project was completed in a day, it actually took me several weekends to complete. It was hard & heavy work. Even if you’re not as young as you were (like me), it’s ok to undertake a project like this as long as you’re careful and take care of your body.
My original thought when planning my new bee pond was to repurpose this tank (for want of a better word) that had been abandoned by the previous owners. No idea of what it was originally for, but it’s heavy duty plastic and would have been ideal as a pond liner.
Rock, rock & more rock!
The first thing I did was mark the area for my new pond using the tank as a guide. I was doing this after recent rains so the soil was pretty soft and easy to get through. If I was doing this late summer the ground would have been as hard as concrete! Gardening is definitely easier after rain!
It wasn’t long before I hit rock! Big lumps of rock. I was able to excavate as much as possible by finding cracks and slamming the digging bar in & opening them up. Remember the full body work-out – knees bent, back straight, core engaged!
Because it was difficult getting all the rubble out of the hole, I had the brilliant idea of using my husband’s workshop vacuum to do the job. Never thought I’d be vacuuming in the garden – but if it works, do it!
I’ve now hit ‘rock bottom’ unless I wanted the expense of hiring a road drill – NO! The contours of my new pond are actually quite nice with a couple of shelves that I can build up with rocks. Bees and butterflies need very shallow water unless you want them to drown, so shelves are a good thing to have. This project really does illustrate the need to be flexible and adaptable when working with and in nature.
I have to admit that always at the back of my mind was the thought that repurposing this tank for the new pond was never going to work. Too much rock to dig out. But, I’m a stubborn person so I was going to give it a try! Not going to work… Move on to plan B.
Building the Pond
Plan B is using a pond liner that I got from my local Home Depot. I put it in the hole and filled it with some water to check the pond outline. Happy with the results but I now needed to put sand in the bottom of the hole to smooth out the sharper bits of rock & protect the liner.
As I was filling the pond it was a bit of a breezy day so I simply anchored the liner around the edge with some flagstones. Even full of water, it was possible to straighten out the pond liner to my satisfaction.
Finishing the project
Having removed a “ton” of rock to make my pond, I started putting more rock back. Remove it, replace it – sounds like a bit of an oxymoron. The flagstone I put around the edge of the pond was repurposed – I love reusing stuff! Luckily I had enough to put around the edge with only one piece left over! I also used limestone rocks from the hole to fill in the gaps between the pieces of flagstone.
A couple of bags of pond pebbles from Home Depot were then put into the pond. As you can see from the photo above the shelves are top right and on the left of the pond. These are the areas I piled the pebbles to give a shallow shelf for my pollinators. Also realized I needed more! It’s very easy to look at a heavy bag of pebbles and think you have enough. You never have enough! I’ll get a couple more bags of pebbles because they are smooth and won’t damage the liner. On top of them I’ll use rocks I have lying around.
What’s left to do?
Apart from some more rocks I want to get a small solar powered fountain to keep the water moving. And who doesn’t love the sound of water tinkling? And finally I have to landscape around my new bee pond with plants. It’s too chilly this coming weekend but after that I’m ready for action outdoors. Haven’t fully decided what I’ll grow here, but it will definitely be mass plantings of bee friendly plants https://chickensandcompost.com/planting-a-bee-garden/. I’ll post photos later in the season when it’s looking really pretty.
I apologize that this weeks blog is a little late – we had some technology issues and also, very sadly, lost our old fur baby Rigsby. He’d been ill for a while so we knew this was coming, but still very sad.