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The Allotment Water Garden

Over the years, I have had many visiting customers to my retail nursery who have come to purchase pond plants for different water features that they have created in their allotments.  These small container ponds can be created very simply by using half Oak barrels, old Belfast sinks, old style bath tubs etc, and in fact, anything that is watertight and can hold water.  Most of the time, old Oak barrels will require a small pond liner to make them watertight.

Allotment water features are certainly not a new thing, but maybe an idea that many people with allotments have not considered.  Many people unfortunately these days,  are not fortunate enough to own a garden, however, if you own a pitch on an allotment, you can create a small water garden of your very own which will indeed attract all sorts of wildlife and pond life.  This will definitely make your allotment gardening hobby more rewarding and provide you with the freedom to express yourself in.

Arrival of Pond Life

Fresh water will always attract wildlife such as, Frogs and Newts that will hop in to make a home for themselves, also small mammals and birds will visit to drink, and numerous winged pond insects such as Water Skaters and Water Boatman that will also make themselves a home too.  Soon Damselflies and Dragonflies will arrive and lay their eggs under the water surface.  Once the Nymphs become adults, they will crawl out of the water onto any aquatic vegetation where they will dry off and then emerge from their shell like coverings to become winged adults.  It is important to excavate soil so the top of your water feature can be at ground level, and you could also create a beach area out of small stones so that visiting wildlife, can always make a safe entrance and exit from the water without risk of drowning.  If you’re lucky enough, you might even attract the occasional Grass Snake.

Most Important, Adding The Right Pond Plants

Most small water features will cope with the housing  of 6-8 pond plants.  I would recommend a small Water Lily, four or five Marginal plants including a creeping plant such as Veronica Becabunga, and a Rush such as Typha Minima and finally, one or two Oxygenating plants.  Please click here to see my full category of pond plants for container water gardening where you will find a good selection to suit everyone’s tastes.

Planting Process

Small water features can be planted up in two ways –   

1. Simply add a 4-6 inch layer of aquatic soil throughout the whole feature ready for direct planting into.


2. Plant all the plants into a 17 cm Round planting Baskets or even a 20 cm Shallow Oxygenating Basket.   All the Baskets should be lined with 45 cm Square Hessian liners or Cloth Liners and the advantage of planting this way is, that you can raise or lower the planted Baskets to the correct water depth requirements of your individual pond plants.  Put the Baskets onto bricks or flat bits of slate to raise or lower them and this will ensure that you’re not then restricted to what pond plants to choose.

Please visit my website to see my full range of water garden plants, pond plants and all the pond planting accessories required to bring your water garden to life throughout the spring and summer.

Click Here to read over 120 informative articles on all aspects of water gardening and all the wildlife that fresh water can attract to your pond and water garden.