A Watery World

A few short weeks ago, I was bemoaning the lack of rain at the Priory and how very low the water levels were.  (See “My Pond Leaks …“).   But not any more.

The west pond - December 2011

Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve had some seriously heavy downpours here in East Sussex.  The west pond (with it’s leak) was particularly badly affected by the lack of rain.  It’s now brimming and it won’t be long before I begin the annual will-the-house-flood-worry.
Ditches that have been bone dry since the spring, are once again funnelling water through the grounds and into the ponds.

The main ditch, which connects the two ponds, is also full.

Lovely; I like it full.  It generally remains so for the winter, affording the gardens a moat-like feature which is handy for deterring invaders and marauders.

Strong winds have swept the accursed duckweed from most of the east pond (gifting me the deep, enthralling reflections I’ve missed so much – and doubling the number of trees at a stroke)

A reflective east pond - December 2011

and forced it into the pond’s north-eastern tip.

The NE corner of the east pond with the slippy-slidey bridge. Cross with great caution as it's terribly slippy. And slidey.

Here in this tucked away backwater, is a rich habitat of reed mace and water forget-me-not, kingcup, carex, alder and willow.  And duckweed.  Lots and lots of duckweed – whisked here by strong southerly winds.

Concentrated duckweed - grrrrrrr.

Though the reed mace has been laid low by frost and battered by wind and rain, it seems to spring back to life in bright sunlight.
Often, when I walk past this area (across the slippy-slidey bridge), my heart leaps into my throat as, without warning, a pair of unseen mallard explode off the water and up into the chilly, bright air.  They catch me out every time.  I suspect they do it on purpose and chortle to themselves as my hand clutches at my chest, I gasp for breath and a spasm of undiluted alarm ripples across my face.
In early 2009, Reg (his real name) and his almighty digger scooped out huge amounts of mud and silt from this shallow part of the east pond.  It needed doing but it did look terribly ravaged and barren afterwards.

After Reg - April 2009

I’m pleased that it is now an overgrown and ungardened corner once again.

But I can’t be doing with those mallard and their practical jokes.  For one thing my heart won’t stand for it.  For another, I’ll lose my footing one of these days on the slippy-slidey bridge and break my neck.  A brace of roast duck for Christmas dinner, do you think?

18 thoughts on “A Watery World

  1. Hi Sara, I always wanted acres of grounds myself but I have to say that there is so very much work involved that now, I'd be much, much happier with a small courtyard garden. Even the one I currently have is proving to be too much work. But I do quite want mahestic trees!

    Hi Boys, the ponds do look beautiful don't they? Why did you have to drain your pond? Surely it has some sort of overflow?

    Dave

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  2. Lovely limpid waters and sharp reflections. In the acres that I garden in my head, there would be similar large pools with mahestic trees doubled up therein. Ho hum!
    The ducks are surely just keeping you on your toes…
    S

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  3. Hi Mr K, yes I have seen a group of mallard drakes harass a single female repeatedly. Quite distressing to watch. Perhaps I ought to thin out the boys. I have though been given a brace of shot mallard in the past. I found plucking them took ages and there was only a very small amount of meat on them; I'm not sure I'd bother again.

    Dave

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  4. Hi WW, there is a pressure washer at the Priory but I find it washes out all the sand/cement/dirt from between the bricks which I don't like the look of and the bricks are still slippery anyway. So I tend to leave them be. Coming over your way for a few days (to Nailsworth) so hoping the rain will let off – a bit.

    Hi Mr J, I haven't time for sitting and idling away the time. Goodness, no. Far, far too busy. And gosh, but you don't suffer ducks gladly do you?

    Dave

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  5. Did you know that domestic ducks are some of the randiest creatures around? I've kept one drake and three ducks – which I'm told is the minimum ratio if the poor females are not to die of stress. The other drakes are in the freezer. Luckily, your ducks are wild, so you don't have the problem of trying to sex them….not easy.

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  6. Fantastic reflections in the lake, what a great place to sit and idle away the time in … reflection. And I say shoot the ducks, you can't allow them to think they can get away with scaring you to death time and again; an example should be made of them!

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  7. Oh I do love roast duck but I hope it doesn't come to that. I should have cleaned my brick path it has become I slippery nightmare to walk down it to the log store. But pressure washering it would have taken all the characterful moss away from the lovely bricks so I left it. Just hope I don't end up regretting putting aesthetics over practicality!! Know what you mean about the rain it feels like it never stops here in Wales. Rivers look ready to burst.

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  8. Hi Faisal, the beech hedges do look good in low winter sun, don't they? And yep all my own work – sort of. Wouldn't really harm the ducks – they are my constant companions.

    Hmmm, it's actually terribly slippy, Jane. And slidey.

    Indeed, Shawn, indeed.

    Thanks Bridget.

    Yes, Helen it should disappear now that we're getting hard frosts. It also gets washed out when the ponds overflow.

    Hi Janet, I often do comedy running on the spot trying to keep upright on very, very slippy brick paths. Haven't come a cropper yet but it's only a matter of time.

    Hi Elaine, thanks. Had thought of the old chicken wire trick but much of the bridge is rotten and wobbly and in need of replacing, so I haven't bothered. Keep on thinking that bridge replacement is imminent but, of course, it never is. Should just use chicken wire and make it safe now I suppose.

    Yeah Stacy, nasty old duckweed depriving me of my views. Wouldn't want to start hurling pebbles about – might hit a duck. Which would never do (you realise, of course, that I don't really mind an explosion of ducks. Brightens up my morning no end).

    Dave

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  9. Your ponds both look beautiful–I see now what the duckweed deprived you of over the summer. You might try flinging a pebble into the pond before you set foot on the slippy-slidey bridge–scare the ducks before they scare you. Turnabout is fair play, after all.

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  10. You keep the garden in beautiful order and the photos are breathtaking. Might I suggest covering the bridge with wire netting to walk on like they do at nature reserves, that will save on broken ankles and legs.

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  11. Wondeful reflections and long shadows, Dave.you mind yourself on that slippery bridge….P went his length on our slippery path yesterday. Body and pride bruised but okay apart from that.

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  12. Dave, an absolutely stunning photo of the west pond. The tan hedge looks terrific. ( You spray-painted it especially, I suppose…) So good to see everything coming back to life!
    Would you really run a duckery? I can't see you doing that, at such an atmospheric site. I'm on the side of the ducks, myself. The more you can spook a gardener, the better!

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