Three bits of good news from the eco frontier this week. Last weekend and one day this week we generated as much electricity as we used - hurray! I must admit to doubting if this would ever happen over the winter months when we've been cold and yet still the meter's been spinning round but it does begin to look like the technology works - phew!
Last February, right at the beginning of the build, this pond was one of the first things to go. I'm not sure how old it was but it had become an eyesore and its proximity to the street meant that it acted more like a wet rubbish bin than a wildlife habitat so I didn't make much effort to save it. The Code for Sustainable Homes states that: "House building need not reduce the ecological value of the site; it may enhance it in many cases. There will always be some temporary disturbance to the local ecology, but wildlife will return once construction is complete, providing an appropriate habitat is provided".
With that in mind the builders dug this hole in the back garden before they left and put in a butyl liner and I've gradually begun to create a new pond. This is what it's looking like at the moment and I've just planted it up with some plants from Wetlandplants.co.uk. I've gone for all native plants so I will post another picture later in the season when the pond is looking prettier. I've never created a wildlife pond from scratch before and hunted round for advice on how to edge it but opinion is divided on what and how. Eventually, working on the premise that a messy garden equals an eco-friendly garden I decided to edge it with plants and grass.
The large pebbles that create small beaches at the sides have come from the garden itself; when the trenches were dug last year we collected all the stones that came up with the sand so it's our little tribute to the power of glaciation. They should form sunbathing spots for visitors to/inhabitants of the pond. In the spirit of Reduce, Reuse, Recycle I've used a left-over paver to form a small bench and rested it on two logs from the leyland cypress that was cut down this time last year. Some of the rest of the tree can be seen in the wheelbarrow at the back of the pond, where it's waiting to form a log pile in a quiet corner of the garden, once the fence is installed.
Also to the left of the pond is my version of a bug hotel. I was reading a gardening magazine this week where they had a very pretty hibernaculum for the price of a couple of trees and it struck me as a bit Marie Antoinette to spend a load of money on something that's supposed to be rustic. I created mine with a bee log I already had, an old basket, a log tunnel belonging to our late guinea pig and some hessian the builders left on site. I know you can create grandiose ones with pallets but I didn't really want something so dominant and if the local insects turn their probosces up at my efforts well, that's their loss.
And the third and final bit of good news? Despite the very best efforts of the local Columbae palumbae the grass seed I've put down is just beginning to germinate, if you zoom in on the top picture you can see a faint green tinge as proof. I can't say I'm going to miss the plain of stones and mud that I've got at the moment.