A chance conversation with a waterscape designer led to an invitation to a Pond Building Party this weekend. That's the kind of party where instead of BYOB the invitation says: Bring Your Own Shovel .
Strangely enough, this kind of party seemed like just the way to spend my Saturday. I've been trying to make connections with other gardeners and horticulturalists of various types. I have an inkling if I ever decide to make a career change, this is the field I'd like to be in.
Doesn't hurt to network, right?...Well, unless you hurt yourself networking by carrying large rocks to build a pond. Nah.....I'm stronger than I look. :)
In the beginning.....There was only lawn.And then there was digging. A whole lotta digging. It was like that show Two Feet Under . Or something. Of course, with fifteen people digging, the work seems a lot less arduous than you might think.
Also, our spirits were kept buoyed by good coffee and treats from Tim Horton's.
Three feet deep is not extraordinarily deep for a body of water, but regulations classify anything deeper than that as a swimming pool, so we had to keep our depth to about two and a half feet. It may not sound like much, but that's a lot of dirt when the pond is going to be eleven foot by sixteen foot (plus a ten foot stream with waterfall). The dirt that came out was recycled into a large berm that the stream would run down.
Dave (our very charismatic pond-building teacher) taught us how to dig a pond in several tiers....
The shape and size and location of each rock is important to the overall effect of the finished pond, Dave taught us in his enthusiastic manner. I've seen some of his stream/waterfall work around town and in gardens and he has quite a talent for making the whole effect seem genuinely nature-inspired.
He showed us how to construct "fish caves", natural hiding-places for pond fish fleeing from the inevitable herons and raccoons attracted to backyard ponds.
I learned about pumps and filters, acid-producing rocks, PVP piping, Ph levels, and the biological cycles of pond bacteria.
I learned nifty ways to lift boulders using two-person slings, the value of constantly applying sunscreen, and to never ever get any of that black gooey stuff used for sealing rocks together on your hands. It may never come off till you're dead. :)
When the pond was filled and the first water came tumbling and rushing musically over the edge of the waterfall that I had toiled to build, it was a beautiful moment. Sweaty, but beautiful.