The Garden Pond in Autumn
Plants are beginning to look tired, and as soon as the first frost occurs many will be cut back. This is the time to remove dead withering leaves and growth, and seed heads should be removed unless you want the plants to seed. The plants in the pond, particularly those with leaves under the surface, should be cut well back and the growth removed. The exceptions to this are the evergreen plants, which should have their dying leaves removed. This will lessen any decay of plant life in the pond and avoid upsetting its balance. Spent leaves and blooms of watershould also be removed. Any tender plants that will not survive the frost must be lifted and removed to a frost-free place. The pond should be cleared of rotting vegetation.
Fishes should be fattened up; give them plenty of food so that they can have a good store of nutrients to help them through the winter months. They should still be active as long as the weather remains warm, but make sure that no food is left in the water to decompose.
Check that the edges of the pond net are secure, and that it will catch any leaves that fall towards the pond and also deter predators from trying to catch the fish. As cooler weather comes, the fishes will be less active. The more delicate specimens should be carefully lifted out and put into a frost-free pond or aquarium indoors for the winter. As most of the natural cover for the fishes has now been removed or allowed to die back, some form ofis essential to give them protection during the winter months when they are slow and in a near hibernation state – an ideal quarry for a predator. Lay a series of inert drain pipes on the pool bottom, in which the fishes will be able to hide and remain secure from the attentions of herons and cats. Protect pond-side plants that are not quite hardy by covering them with a layer of bracken or straw.