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on 15 July 2009
After two years of requests from my better half I finally got around to making a wildlife pond in an unused section of the garden. Though not much more detailed than other books on the actual construction of the pond, this book is hugely useful in the stocking of the pond so as to attract the wildlife we seek - notably frogs, toads and newts.
And there is detail the likes of which few other books provide, and certainly not so comprehensively. Page 38 has a box-out describing the use of barley straw to control algae, but with actual detail on how much to use based on the capacity of your pond.
The beauty of the book is its color photographs and drawn illustrations, but the most useful sections are the planting guides for submerged plants, free-floaters and shallow-water (bog) plants. The emphasis is on native (UK) plants and the author Louise Bardsley makes it clear about her opinion about the use of non-native species in no uncertain terms.
The joy of the planting-guide tables is that a number of web-based aquarium plant vendors have followed them, providing specific native plant sections on their web sites. Retail plant sellers haven't quite figured this out yet-continuing to sell a range of Californian and Canadian pond plants with no distinction between native and non-native species.
Finally the last section of the book - "Wildlife in Focus" is a simple compendium of the creatures your pond may attract - from water scorpions to hedgehogs, and this section is the one that ensures this book is always to hand, ready to be taken up to the pond whenever something new and unidentified is seen.