Although the weather is feeling decidedly chilly for the time of the year, during May the threat of frost will pass and, with spring well under way, David Coton is in no doubt that this is going to be a busy month in the garden.
A pond must have plants to increase bio-diversity, enliven it and add interest, and one of the best ways to fill a pond with plants is to use aquatic baskets, Here's Dan Everton's guide to achieve the best results.
A pond basket is specifically designed to allow water to enter the aquatic compost contained inside it and not allow the compost to escape.
The dimensions of a basket should reflect the eventual size of the plant as sizeable plants need large baskets to stop them falling over
I would also recommend that only one species of plant is used per basket, this is because one type of plant will always dominate and the others will suffer. You may notice pre-planted baskets that have various plant varieties, these are great if you want to decorate your pond quickly for a garden party or similar but eventually you'll find one of the plants will take over to the detriment of the others.
You will want to line the basket with a hessian or synthetic hessian liner. This allows water to get to the compost but stops the compost from leaching from the basket clouding your pond. Synthetic hessian will last longer than traditional hessian.
Fill your pond basket between half and two thirds with aquatic compost. You do not want to fill it completely as there should be room to top it up with gravel.
Next you need to create a gap in the soil for your plant to slot into. Carefully remove your plant from the pot.
Place your new pond plant into the gap you have created, surround the roots with soil and then top up the basket, leaving a gap for gravel. Adding gravel also stops fish from digging out all of the compost which is a common complaint from new pond keepers.
Gently water your newly planted basket, this will help to compact the compost down, you should be able to add a little more compost into the basket after this. You can now top the soil with gravel.
Your basket is now ready to add to the pond. One exception is water lilies, these will need to be lowered over the space of a few weeks, dropping slightly deeper each week.
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A full guide to pond plants.
Dazzling with colourful interest in the brilliant sunshine, this year's Hampton Court Palace Flower Show will prove to be a tremendous attraction for everyone as it caters for both keen gardeners and families who just what a day out in magnificent surroundings.
After all the dry hot weather that much of the country has experienced over the last few weeks, the lavender in David Coton's garden is at its most colourful and scented, he's cutting the flowerheads to make lavender biscuits or drying them for pot pourri. Here are more jobs you can do in the garden during July.
At this time of the year you'll find a fabulous selection of summer bedding at our Garden Centre in Birmingham. David Coton will be planting the bedding in containers this month to achieve a wonderful display of colour and here are some other jobs to do in the garden in June.
As part of a project designed to sow ideas, grow inspiration and cultivate futures, 300 London schools are growing their own picnic this summer and their reward could be a £500 voucher from GardenSite.