Garden Gear - Gardening Books

Book Review: Pond Basics

Pond Basics: A Step-by-Step Guide for Water Gardeners
by Peter Robinson; Sterling Publishing;
softcover; 128 pages;

Having never installed a pond in my garden, I can hardly claim to be one of the water gardeners identified in the subtitle of this new book. But taking heart from its main heading, Pond Basics, I waded in to see whether it would prove a good launching point for a landlubber whose only experience with a water feature consists of maintaining an aquarium. The verdict: mixed.

True to his title, Robinson covers the basics, beginning with ideas for planning types of ponds and situating them in a garden. Other chapters on excavating the site and installing preformed ponds, flexible liners, raised ponds and clay-lined ponds give step-by-step outlines and lists of required materials. To make things clearer, particularly for jittery do-it-yourselfers, Robinson might have used more basic diagrams to illustrate steps, and fewer full-colour photographs.

Subsequent chapters address installing streams, fountains, bridges, edging and lighting. His final chapters cover troubleshooting and the 'pond year.'

Originally published in England, Robinson's book fails to specify whether his plant recommendations and maintenance practices apply elsewhere. I suspect not. A promotional release accompanying the book refers to frozen ponds as a 'problem' rather than the fact of life they would be in Canada.

An idea that caught my eye for a small garden was Robinson's pond-in-a-bucket'a submersible pump at the bottom of a pail or other container directing water up a pipe to splash over rocks lining the container's mouth. For any larger pond project, I'd want to supplement his volume with something written specifically for Canadian gardeners.
-- Andrew Vowles

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