Bog gardens and mini-ponds
Amphibians, particularly frogs, require damp habitats. Whatever your size of garden any kind of water related feature such as a bog garden area or mini ‘tub’ pond that’s accessible will be beneficial to your local amphibians.
A bog garden can be a stand alone feature or be a perfect habitat accompaniment alongside your pond. A ‘tub’ style mini wildlife pond can be easier to install and manage than a larger sized wildlife pond, and are generally considered safer for children.
These damp, marshy areas are invaluable to amphibians during the summer offering shelter and foraging space and are very simple to make. They can be any size ad are best situated in open sun or partial shade. Dig a hole to a depth of around 30 – 45cm and line with a cheap butyl or plastic liner. Then pierce it with a garden fork a few times every meter or so to allow for some drainage to prevent flooding. Finally backfill with the removed soil: preferably with added compost to improve moisture retention. You are then ready to plant – choose native marsh plants from your local garden centre or order on line, for example, marsh marigold or purple loosestrife. Once planted you can water your bog garden until the soil looks fully soaked; rainwater is best. You could also add some old logs and rocks to the bog garden for added wildlife value. Cut back plants after seeding in the autumn when wildlife will be less active.
Ponds don’t need to be large to attract wildlife – frogs and newts may still lay eggs in small water bodies (1m wide or even less). Even if frogs and newts don’t choose to spawn in your tub pond it will certainly help them to keep cool and moist in the summer and many insects and other animals will make use of it. All you need is a container such as a large tub or a recycled sink or half-barrel. Sink this into the ground or, with safety in mind, alternatively leave it standing and simply fill with water (preferably rain water) and aquatic plants. If your pond is free-standing, make sure there are plenty of logs, pebbles and plants in and around the pond to provide access for wildlife.