The Garden Pond in Summer
Summer is the time to enjoy the pond, to watch the action and movement, to savour the fragrance of the flowers and listen to the sounds of water and insect life. The variousare flowering; the water start in warm weather with their cup-shaped flowers on and above the water surface, the marginals and bog plants a little less spectacularly.
Some plants need thinning during the summer months to prevent them from becoming too large for their allotted space. When this entails lifting the basket to cut back side shoots or to divide it, the water becomes muddy, and this can take a day or two to settle. But switch on the pump for the fountain or waterfall, and the filter will strain out the silt, so that the water will become less cloudy within an hour or two. New plants can be settled in, and old ones tidied up and fed with aquatic fertilizer pellets to boost their growth, especially the water lilies. Where insects have attacked leaves just above the water surface, push down the affected parts under the water and rest a plank or weight on them to keep them immersed while the fishes eat the insects as a bonus live feed.
This is the time of year when a rapid and unexpected growth of filamentous algae – usually called blanket weed – can occur, even in ponds that have been free from it for decades. Some say that this is due to amphibians arriving at the pond with tiny strands of the weed caught round their legs or bodies from another pond; when they swim the strand becomes loose and spreads speedily in its new environment. Insert a stout pole into the mass of green leaf and turn it; like a fork in a plateful of spaghetti, it will gather up all the weed, which can then be lifted out and removed.
The fishes become more active and need a supplement to their food if the insect life is not too prolific; but do not allow the food to stay in the pond to spoil and pollute the water. If the fishes have spawned and the tiny fry are seen swimming about, separate the young from their parents to prevent their being eaten. Take out the fry with a very fine net and keep them in a separate pond until they are large enough to rejoin their parents. New fishes should be kept in quarantine before being released into the pond; the plastic bag in which they have travelled should be immersed in a container or a separate pond until it is certain that the fishes are healthy and vigorous, when they can be moved into the main pond. One diseased fish can cause havoc in an otherwise healthy pond.
If evaporation occurs during hot weather the level should be topped up and the fountain or waterfall should be working most of the time.