I prepare a 50/50 mix of garden soil and well-moistened peat moss, fill the bog area to the top of the lower row of rocks, then dig a hole 15 centimetres deep in the centre of the bog. This is filled with enough water so it pools. As the saturated bog soil settles, I add more mix.
Next, I fill the pond with water to the top of the lower row of rocks so it flows between the ones on the dike and into the bog.
Hand-digging holes in the soft soil for the bog plants is easy. I carefully place marginal plants in black plastic pots on the sculpted shelves, and perch a potted-up water lily atop another pot at the bottom of the pond to raise it closer to the surface. Six bunches of hornwort (an aeration plant), each weighted to sink to the bottom, are added, as is a bucket of water from a neighbour’s pond containing floating duckweed, micro-organisms and tiny water creatures to kick-start the aquatic ecosystem started. [Note: You can omit this step. Once the chlorine evaporates from the tap water, nature will do the rest.] The duckweed shades the pond until the other water plants grow large enough, at which time it’s removed. I also add goldfish.
To finish, I place my submersible water pump in the pond; its plastic hose goes around the edge and to the top of a large edging rock so water can run across the rock and trickle in. I continue fine-tuning—trying various plants, purchasing a larger pump and building a waterfall. I add tadpoles (and discover that goldfish eat them).
Building a pond is more work than I had expected, but it’s an adventure—and results in a beautiful year-round focal point in the garden.