Sustainable Pond Strategies

Puddock Hill Journal #26: Seeking Ecological Pond Balance in an Imbalanced World

One of my greatest regrets as a backyard steward was a decision I made in Bedford, NY, in the nineties. In those days, I wasn’t a fully enlightened, ecologically-minded gardener, just a guy trying to improve his yard.

We had bought an old house that overlooked a small pond on our property. A well-established weeping willow hung over the pond on the far side, and an old apple tree grew nearby. The latter was originally engulfed by a multiflora rose and Japanese bittersweet vines so vigorous that they required a chainsaw, loppers and a great deal of tugging over the course of two years to remove. Some fall weekends, I returned to the house bloodied by vengeful multiflora rose thorns.

But, I digress.

The pond, which sat in the midst of a meadow, attracted much wildlife. It had resident green frogs and bullfrogs, received frequent visits from a Belted kingfisher (Ceryle alcyon), who dove for little fish, and we occasionally saw both Great blue herons and Green herons. Other birds flitted about nearby trees. Foxes and deer came to drink. And leeches occasionally attached themselves to our dogs!