Making a nature pond and wildflower meadow

When I was still living in south London, I remember reading a blog piece about the making of a large pond surrounded by ox-eye daisies and other meadow flowers. It made me really happy to see that it was possible to create something so beautiful, and thought that one day I’d love to try doing the same… I realise now it probably played a part in our decision to move somewhere like this.

When we arrived in south Devon, we waited a year to watch and see what we had growing here through all the seasons, and understand how the land lay, while we worked out some detailed plans and designs. 

There had already been a small pond here when we arrived, but, inspired by the blog-post of old, I wanted to create something larger that looked like it was a natural part of the scenery and could provide food, water and habitat for a variety of different species. And, of course, I wanted to have a wildflower meadow around it!

In early 2017 the local landscapers I’d found who specialised in making nature-ponds arrived with their diggers, and over the course of the next  month or so created a pool with gently sloping edges, around a metre or so deep in the middle which was lined with a clay liner. 

We sourced a local pond-plant supplier who supplied the British native species I wanted, and planted it all up myself, in a very fetching pair of Marigolds!  Before the year was out it was looking like it had always been here.

The area behind the pond had previously been veg beds, which would be too rich an area for wildflowers, so we used the diggers to scrape off the top layer and impoverish the soil. Then, having been given plenty of valuable advice from my seed-supplier, I sowed the bare earth with a two different seeds mixes in early spring. One mix was a ‘nurse crop’ of corn-field annuals, which would give us a classic display of poppies and cornflowers in the first summer.

The other mix we seeded at the same time was perennial British natives, carefully selected for our specific landscape and soil that would give us a varied display from the second year onwards of ox-eye daises, knapweed, birdsfoot trefoil, wild carrot and other species found in real wildflower meadows in this part of the world.

A few years later the perennial British native wildflowers have become established and return with a magnificent display year after year!

Happily, the investment in good soil preparation, the excellent British native seeds and our yearly maintenance routine has paid off, and we’re now going into our fifth summer, with yet another wonderful display of wildflowers…

This wildflower meadow was hand-seeded in the spring of 2017 and gets more established each year, providing a beautiful mix of native British species including knapweed, ox-eye daisies, birds-foot trefoil, lady’s mantle and much more!

On Saturday June 25 we are running our first course here: How to Make a Sustainable Garden- Biodiversity for Beginners

This will include lots more detail about how we made and manage the pond and the wildflower meadow, discussing the important things we have learnt along the way, and the common pitfalls to avoid.

If you’d like to learn more about how to make a nature pond, a wildflower meadow and many other features that will help make your garden more wildlife-friendly and sustainable, please sign up to one of our courses. 

We look forward to welcoming you to The Sustainable Garden soon.