Hello and welcome to The Compost Bin. I'm Compostwoman and I live with my family in rural Herefordshire. We have nearly four acres of garden and woodland, all managed organically and to Permaculture principles, which we share with Chickens, Cats and assorted wildlife. We also grow a lot of our own food, run courses in all sorts of things and make a lot of compost!

I am a Master Composter and have spent more than a decade as a volunteer Community Compost adviser with Garden Organic and my local Council.
I'm a self employed Environmental Educator so I run workshops and events where I talk about compost, veg growing, chicken keeping, cooking, preserving and sustainable living. I also run crafts workshops and Forest School/outdoor play sessions in our wood.

We try to live a more self sufficient lifestyle here, as best we can, while still having a comfortable life and lots of fun.

To learn more about us click on the About Compostwoman tab and remember to click on the photos to make them full size!

Thursday 4 July 2013

I want a(nother) pond!

Regular readers of The Compost Bin will know that, after 16 years of living here and renovating the house and doing all sorts of work in the garden and wood, we are having a major rethink about all the aspects of the garden and grounds. How they are laid out; where to put a greenhouse, whether to have another polytunnel, where to put any new vegetable garden and soft fruit cage. Nothing is set in stone here, all manner of things are possible. Especially as we have a JCB!

When we first moved in to Compost Mansions one of the things which made us fall in love with the place was the pool in the meadow (the other was the wood!) One of the jobs we are part way through doing at the moment is clearing some trees to make a bigger meadow area around the pool and a few months ago I talked about how we were planning on rejuvenating the pool .  

Having a body of water in your garden creates so much scope for enjoyment; attracting wildlife, helping birds drink, bathe and collect mud for nests, the joy of watching the changing plant life as the year progresses, the sound of moving water if you have a fountain arrangement, actually the list is probably endless.

At the weekend I went on a Master Composter training course at the Shropshire Wildlife Trust Visitor Centre , which was to do with minimising water use, especially in the garden. The SWT building is amazing and has the most wonderful gardens -  you can read the visitor guide leaflet here.

The gardens there gave me so much inspiration and ideas for what I want to do here. I am in the process (slowly!) of redesigning the main garden so there is less lawn and more flower beds, but with flower beds which are a bit easier to manage (and less filled with bindweed!) than the existing arrangement. I have actually got a lot of herbaceous perennials ready to go in to one new bed, some I have dug up from elsewhere, some I have grown from seed or cuttings. This, like all the planting here will be "cottage garden" planting with lots of insect attracting flowers.

Shropshire Wildlife Trust Visitor Centre

I also really liked the solar powered water feature I saw at the weekend and it got me thinking. Water adds a whole new dimension to a garden and, though we are still planning on digging out the large pool and re instating it again, I now find myself really wanting to have a pond in the garden area, as well. After all, why can't we have more than one pond? I want the new pond to be more of a moving water feature though, than a full blown pool.

Shropshire Wildlife Trust Visitor Centre

Although I could make this new pond by just digging a shallow hole I would prefer to have a pond liner of some kind. So, I have been looking at flexible liners on line again but this time in a much smaller size than for the wildlife pool. One thing I don't want to have to do is spend too much money (we have lots of other things to do here and a very limited budget). I was therefore very interested to read about SealEco Greensea EPDM Pond Liner. This is apparently a new high quality alternative to butyl liner. It is the same thickness as butyl making it just as flexible and tough but it made from a different type of rubber meaning the price is much lower.

I went and had a look online at a few suppliers and was pleasantly surprised to find that I could get this sort of liner for a good price at Joe's Aquatic World. They also seem to be good value for all the other bits and pieces needed to go with a pond, so I am in the process of costing up how much a smallish pond would be if I ordered from them.

 I have also been getting inspiration from all sorts of online sources; photographs of what other people have done; ideas both large and small and have put some on my Pinterest "Dream gardens" board. One of the things I have found are water feature blades which create a moving sheet of water into a garden pond and give a reflection from the water. Another idea I really like and which fits in with the water saving theme is a pebble pond, where water moves over the surface of pebbles and is continuously pumped round by a solar pond pump. I must admit I did not find a lot of the statue water features I came across very attractive, though!
So it looks like I may be using the JCB to dig out a small pond in the near future - I had better get digging up and splitting some of the pond plants in the meadow pool to put in it :)

If you are thinking about making a pond you can get lots of advice about wildlife pond making and planting from the Wildlife Trust  here , from Pond Conservation here and The RSPB here.

And if you are anywhere near Shrewsbury I strongly recommend visiting the Shropshire Wildlife Trust Visitor Centre - its brilliant.

1 comment:

  1. Hi, I don't know much about composting, even though I have two bins on the go, the little one, which is fabric and has a zip is a waste of time as it keeps falling over but the big one is much better.

    Can you please advise me what you do if you get Horses Tails please? They are forming an army in my garden and have gone from one side to another, in the course of a few years.

    I must admit to using a special product to attack them but wonder if there is a kinder way that will kill the roots.


Hello! Thank you for reading my blog and for commenting. I try to reply as quickly as I can and I really appreciate your interest in my life and doings here in The Compost Bin.