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Pond Clearance

Tuesday, 11th June 2002, West Yorkshire

pond before clearancepond after cutting back vegetationThe frogs like to sit around in the thick fringing vegetation around the pond. The trouble is that it's so thick that birds can't get down to drink unless they can find a trailing branch to perch on, nor can they find a place to bathe. Worse, we found a young blackbird that had apparently got stuck in the pond and drowned.

I clip back around the margins. A blackbird soon comes to see what it can find amongst the remaining debris.

blackbird Cutting back changes the pond and the raised bed behind it from a visual barrier to a link in the design of the garden. The pond appears again as a feature, with a shape, instead of a secret refuge for frogs and newts. Water introduces a new element into a garden. I remember the day when we first filled ours, years ago, and the reflections of the clouds first appeared in it; I felt as if we'd introduced something of the light and movement of the sky to the garden.

A Lost Gosling

gosling A new orphan next door; a young Canada goose has been found wandering by a local lake. The resident family of geese disown it so it's now in the run recently vacated by the mallard ducklings.

Towpath Plants

bladder campion Down by the canal, bladder campion is in full flower, showing up well against the background of the dark waters. The pinkish bladders - their hollow shapes remind me a bit of cape gooseberries - are more conspicuous than the white petals.

bramble stem There's a slight breeze; enough to animate an overhanging stem of bramble which rotates in a graceful circular motion, like a hand gently beckoning. It touches the water every few seconds and leaves a little circle of ripples. It reminds Barbara of some creature leaning over to drink. I recall childhood trips in rowing boats on summer days, when I'd dip my hand in the water as we glided page

Richard Bell
Richard Bell,
wildlife illustrator

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