Whether it's a bleak December or the more mild weather we are becoming used to, you can still spend useful time in the garden. David Coton suggests the jobs that can occupy the shortening days.
During the winter months your pond will invariably get covered in ice. What should you do? Dan Everton's guide to keeping your pond from freezing over in the winter will provide the answers.
Although over winter fish and amphibians will survive under a frozen surface for some time, ice traps gases escaping from decaying material and prevents oxygen from entering the water. Snow cover also cuts off light, preventing plants from producing oxygen.
To stop this happening, it is always a good idea to try and clear snow off the surface of the pond if possible. Always take care when doing this and never stand on the ice.
All of this will clearly have a detrimental effect on animal and plant pond life. The answer is to either heat the surface of the water or aerate the pond so that movement of the water deters the formation of ice. And don't forget, if you make sure that a portion of the pond is unfrozen, birds will also benefit from this vital source of fresh water.
Pond Heaters will ensure that at least part of your pond surface will remain free from ice allowing oxygen in and letting harmful gases escape.
Oase IceFree Thermo Pond Heaters will ensure that at least part of your pond surface will remain free from ice even in temperatures as low as -20C, allowing oxygen in and letting harmful gases escape. Both 200 and 300 watt models come with 10 metres of cable.
The Bermuda Extra Power heater, will also see your pond through prolonged winter weather. It simply floats at surface level and employs a 300 watt heating element. Blagdon's 50 watt Affinity Ice Vent Pond Heater is suitable for temperatures as low as -10°C.
Hozelock market a 100 watt floating heater that will keep just the right area free of ice with minimum running costs.
Cloverleaf pond heaters are made from high quality stainless steel with a very efficient titanium element. They also feature a unique state of the art intelligent digital thermostat that will prevent burn out. Available in three sizes, 100, 200 and 400 watt, a complete installation kit is supplied.
Air pumps are an alternative to heaters and can be cheaper to run. Doubly useful, in the winter they can keep the pond ice free and during the summer will aerate the water reducing carbon dioxide levels.
Hozelock Air Pumps, the most powerful handling 4500 litres per hour, have a stylish weatherproof aluminium cage and their design allows the maximum diffusion of air into the water.
There are three Oase AquaOxy models, with 500, 1000 and 2000 litres per hour air displacement. Easily adjusted, these safe low voltage pumps are cheap to run and are suited to all pond types with each 'air stone' attached to a five-metre long air line.
Pontec PondoAir Sets have four air stones and a 1800 or 3600 lph capacity while there are five versions of Evolution Aqua Airtech Pumps that range from flow rate sof 70 - 150 litres per minute with an impressive maximum operating depth of 5.5 metres.
The Blagdon Pond Air 1 is designed for ponds of up to 2250 litres, the 4-watt pump giving an air flow rate of 210 litres per hour. The more powerful Air Pump 2 is for up to 4500-litre ponds and has two 8 metre lengths of air line and two 50mm air stones but still only consumes 5 watts with a maximum flow of 330 litres per hour.
The same company also produces powerful Koi Air Pumps for water to a depth of 3.5 metres with 8, 12 and 18 air stones and maximum flow of 25 litres per minute.
If you require any help or further advice, you can contact the Aquatics Department at GardenSite on 0121 355 7701 or email firstname.lastname@example.org The department is open to visit 7 days a week.
In order to promote and enhance biodiversity and conservation of our wildlife, there's a selection of habitats and boxes you can purchase that are specifically designed to attract various small animals and insects to your garden. Here we look at some of the products available which also make unusual and very engaging gifts.
With warmer weather and an early Easter, the garden centre is busy at the moment with customers stocking up on summer bedding plants - snapdragons, cornflowers, cosmos, verbena, phlox, petunia, As well as filling planters, hanging baskets and borders with colour that will last all summer, there are always plenty of jobs to do in the garden during April and David Coton has these suggestions.
Every gardener must have noticed a decline in the bee population over recent years. Intensive farming that demands the use of toxic chemicals, climate change and parasite infestation have all been put forward as potential causes, it's a worrying trend but one that we can all help to reverse.
As an excellent alternative to conventional products, Trimetals' storage solutions blend top quality manufacture with contemporary style. Their range has now been extended to include two new maintenance free sheds and Robert Hall has all the details.