A Stuck Foot In The Pond Garden


“The universe as we know it is a joint product of the observer and the observed.” ~ Teilhard De Chardin



One of the key areas in my wildlife gardens is the pond.  It was built several years ago to draw in wildlife, and be a place of solace and serenity for the gardener.  I adore the sound of water, and it seems to lull me into a peaceful state.  I have written about the pond often, but have not yet brought you along for a closer look.

The pond has morphed over the years, becoming more wild now.  A spot for frogs, toads, snakes, dragonflies, voles, birds, pollinators and the occasional new visitor.  And I love to perch on the big rock next to the waterfall and watch these critters make themselves home.

I thought it might be nice to look at one part of the Pond Garden as I join Lucy@Loose and Leafy for her Stuck Foot meme around the 21st of every other month.

What is a Stuck Foot post you ask?  As Lucy explains:

A stuck foot post is where you plant your foot firmly in a roughly random place and see what you can see without moving. 


This method of observation is a great way to gain a better perspective of an area.  And for this post, as we are close to the 15th, I am also linking in with Carol@May Dreams Gardens who hosts Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day the 15th of each month. 



pond from steps

When I step out the back door, and stand on the steps that descend down to the patio, I can look out over much of the garden.  But at this time of year, you cannot see the pond as it is surrounded by plants.  In fact, many who visit the garden do not see the pond at all unless I show them the way.  It remains a private spot where wildlife thrives.

The pond is just to the top right of this picture, where the cattails are blooming.  I let mostly-native plants self-seed around the pond to protect the critters from predators.  Let’s move to the right and take the long way around to where we are going.  





As we move to the end of the patio on this side, these steps will lead us along the path around the pond.  The grass here is mostly clover, and a favorite spot for me to sit and watch the world go by.





Here’s the view as I look up.  One of the garden gates and pergola, monarda, Echinacea, elderberry and phlox straight ahead where the hummers, birds, pollinators and butterflies like to linger.  Let’s move around the path here as we go by the near side of the pond garden (an area I have shown before, and we will explore more another time).




open path

As we come along the path, it opens up to the lawn, gazebo, Center Garden and White Garden ahead.  The Veg Garden is to the right behind the black-eyed susans.  




pond garden far side

Turning a bit to the left, we have come upon the area we will be exploring, the far side of the pond.  It’s about 9:30 am, so the glare from the still rising sun is strong.




pond from opposite view

Ah here we are.  A well trodden path through the plants and weeds.  You can just see the back door and steps we just descended, and a bit of patio.  Let’s go up and see what is at the top of this hill. 




pond view

And here we are at our destination…the pond which sits just off the patio.  This is the far side of the pond.  The Pond Garden was built to encircle the pond on a slight incline as you move from the patio to the trees in the Center Garden.  I generally take pictures of the pond from the patio side where we started.  But in early morning the light and shadows are magical here.

The edge of the pond has more grass and weeds growing than I would like.  And the gravel edge is well hidden now.  We have a project we need to finish by the time the song birds come back next year….clearing the edge and leveling it off on this side.  The birds used to wade in here, and bathe in spring and summer.  Now the edge drops off quickly and there is too much growth so they cannot bathe in the pond anymore.

I will not go into the plants growing in the pond for this post.  Perhaps a look at the plants in the pond next year would be a good series.





Some of the critters are awake and lounging in the pond already.  But here near the edge, there are a few that love to hang out in the plants…namely frogs.  This little green frog was born in the pond.  He did not move at all the whole time I was here, and he was very close to my feet.  We find the little frogs are less startled by our presence.  Other larger frogs jump in the pond as soon as we get near the pond.  




facing south

As I look south from where I stand, back toward the gate, I see milkweed, grasses, Echinacea seed heads and the funky curved spikes of Scouring Rush sometimes called Horsetail Rush or Equisetum hyemale.  I have not yet profiled this interesting native plant and will remedy that next year.




toward the fence

And looking up a little, toward the corner of the fence, you can see lots of Rudbeckia.




joe pye

Just in front of the grasses and Rudbeckia is the Joe Pye, now growing as a volunteer on the pond edge right in front of me.





Behind the Joe Pye and a little to the right, are the cattails growing in the pond.




look down and north

As I move left, I look down back to the path we walked up.  There are some asters (pictured at the top of the post) growing here, as well as daylilies, irises and lots of Knautia macedonica and Knautia arvensis.





Looking a little closer, you can see a hosta tucked in here too.




face north and up

From this vantage point as you look out at the garden, you can see the veg beds also hidden behind lots of plants.





As I swivel a little more left, right in front of me is the non-native variegated Giant Reed Grass or Arundo donux which towers to over 7 feet tall.  It does spread a bit, but very little.  I love the foliage and statement this grass makes at the edge of the pond near the filter.




look up

Looking up from this giant grass, you can see the tops of the ash and maple trees in the Center Garden.





And when we look down, we see sedum tucked in here.





And way on the other side of the Giant Reed Grass, at the far edge of the Pond Garden down toward the edge of the lawn, I can just spy another native coming back again.  It loves it in this location, as it stays a bit shady and wet.  This is Lobelia cardinalis or Cardinal Flower a favorite of the hummingbirds.  I used to have lots of this plant, but it does fade after a number of years.




helianthus waterfall

As I make a final turn left, I am now facing the pond again.  I can see some of the perennial Helianthus  that grows right behind the waterfall.  It is a beautiful flower that signals later summer, and the coming of fall.





And if we shift our gaze a bit down and to the left, you can see the waterfall graced by more of the Helianthus that has volunteered to the left of the waterfall.

So there you have a look at the far side of the Pond Garden.  Weeding, a bit of control of the volunteers, and uncovering the gravel edges are the main plans for this garden.  I hope to move some plants in and out of this garden as well.

I think this might be a very interesting garden to profile next year.  It has 3-4 distinct areas and vantage points, and a rich history with a story to tell after 10 years in the garden.



Have you ever stuck your foot in your garden or any space and looked closely to see what is there?  Give it a try.   




Join In The Seasonal Celebration:

As I feel autumn’s call to celebrate the coming season, I hope you will join in the celebration. I welcome those Down Under who will be celebrating the coming of spring to join in too.  

All you have to do is write a post between now and September 23rd  telling me how you are celebrating the new season.  Then leave a comment on the kick-off post with your link so I can include your link in my summary post on September 28th.  

I do hope you will consider joining in the Seasonal Celebrations meme as we celebrate the new season in your corner of the world.

And as always, I will be collaborating with Beth@Plant Postings and her Lessons Learned meme at this same time.  What lessons have you learned this past season of summer here in the Northern Hemisphere and winter in the Southern Hemisphere.  Write a separate post or combine your Lessons with your Celebrations for one post.



Next up on the blog:  

Next Monday, I will have another combined post for Wildflower Wednesday, and In A Vase On Monday.


All original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Gardens Eye View, 2010-2015.  Any reprints or use of content or photos is by permission only. 

55 Replies to “A Stuck Foot In The Pond Garden”

    1. I have to admit, Christina, my first reason for the pond was to add this new feature to the garden and for the sound of water….it has morphed into something far better than I could even imagine with the wildlife that found their way here.

  1. Thank you for walking us around your wildlife pond. I built my wildlife pond 10 years ago and it has two sloping edges densely planted/colonised, a marginal shelf on which I stand baskets of water plants and which runs around the curve. The fourth edge and about a quarter of the pond’s surface is under a cedar deck which makes a great viewing platform. I have newts, frogs and toads living in or close to my pond plus lots of dragonflies, damselflies and other pond critters. Whole families of young fledglings have been visiting the pond for a wash and brush up throughout the summer. I would not be without my pond.

  2. Sarah your pond sounds fabulous….I love that you have a viewing area….I think it is the best part of the pond…being able to sneak a peek.

  3. Your pond and pond garden are beautiful, Donna. I love how your pond looks so natural, like God placed it there! That’s my goal for my pond; still working on it! Love yours!!!

    1. I think you are right Beth…a higher power certainly guided my hand! Your pond is stunning and before you know it, it will look like it was always there.

  4. I love these stuck foot posts Donna. I wonder did you plant the cattails and the lilypads or did they just volunteer? So interesting. I would look forward to a series about the pond and its evolution. I love how natural your gardens are. I think it’s more difficult to maintain a natural garden with just the right amount of balance. I hear you in wanting to clear an edge of the pond. I am considering a platform patio at the edge of the Potager to make it square in design and to lessen the work. I wanted to put in a small pond this year and was very ready but now I feel I have to get my garden under control before I add something new. Next year? I’ll do it all – redesign my garden for less maintenance, put in a pond AND work out at our lakefront property building stone paths and putting in a dock (on top off gardening at the Park) – does that seem realistic? Hmmm.

    1. I did plant yellow and pink waterlilies before I new what I was doing. They are in cloth bags at the bottom of the pond and so they have never been divided although they seem to be controlled. The cattails were a present from nature….there are some right on the edge of the meadow that were here when we moved in….their seed made it to our pond I think with the help of a fog or 2. We have to pull many to keep control of them.

      Your plans sound like mine Kathy…..too many for one gardener. Getting control first will be the biggest issue before I make changes to many areas. Next year…there is always next year.

    1. Yes Aaron it is a problem if placed closer to the pond or on the edge I fear. Thankfully mine is at the top end and not too close to the edge. But I do have to dig a portion out to make sure it does not keep creeping.

  5. I can see why the critters love your pond and the whole area. It must be a wonderful place to sit and contemplate Donna. I removed the tiny pond I put in a few years back as it was just too small really. If I ever get round to taking out the decking and re siting the shed I would love a large pond. That’s way off thought and I’d like it to have the exact look and feel you have achieved.

  6. What a fun post – I love the wildness of the pond. One time we let our front “lawn” grow without mowing. It was on a slant and was in the country, with trees below. It grew into the most fabulous place – tall grasses that went to seed. We had kept a meandering pathway through it all summer and in the autumn we would walk the pathway – listening to the soft music of the seed heads in the breeze – it was one of my all time favorite paths and lawn. It is surprising what grows when you let plants take the lead. Love all the photos and the idea of staying in one place and taking lots of photos. Great post.

  7. What a wonderful magnet for wildlife! We have a tiny prefab pond by the front door and it attracts all sorts of critters. I esp. love the mating frogs in early spring, their music let’s me know that spring has finally arrived!

  8. I enjoyed being led down to your pond and then looking around at the rest of the garden too… The waterfall looks so refreshing and must be a real attraction to wildlife. Do you get dragonflies too?

  9. I’m with Aaron, loved the frog and the Cardinal Flower very much! Very interesting post, I liked your approach of being “led” down the path towards the pond. It does looks as though it belongs. A question I’ve always wanted to ask, especially of east coast gardeners: do these ponds cause you an inordinate number of mosquitoes in the summer?

    1. Thanks Susie…to answer your question, no the mosquitoes are not an issue if the water moves. The waterfall keeps the water moving and the water gentle flows to our filter keeping the mosquitoes from laying eggs as the water is not still enough. But we do put mosquito dunks in our bird baths, and keep water from sitting in pots, watering cans etc. Our rain garden has stagnant water sometimes when it rains enough, so we also dump dunks in it too.

  10. What a lot you can view from one “stuck” place! It’s nice to see your garden areas as the seasons change. Thanks for sharing! -Beth

  11. What a magical pond, all tucked away like that, and a lovely little tour to get there too. The wildlife are lucky to have such an excellent sanctuary.

    1. Yes I think it is a great meme that is fun to do….and yes we do have a lot to take care of which is one reason we are looking to redo some of it to make it more manageable.

  12. Hi Donna, i have not blogged for a few months, now am here again. You have a wide garden area, so it is nice to dileneate the different plantings. And i love that pond too, i envy your conditions as if it were here a lot of mosquitoes will be thriving and we are afraid of dengue. Where does the flowing water come from? Is it circulating?

    1. I have missed you….I am catching up with blog reading as I am weeks behind so I will enjoy catching up with you Andrea! The pond is circulating on a pump and filter which then prevents mosquitoes from breeding in it thankfully as we have loads of mosquitoes that carry diseases here.

  13. Your pond looks like a natural pond, not once created by humans, which is probably why the wildlife enjoy it so. I enjoy your “stuck foot” posts, Donna; there are so many places to explore in your garden!

  14. Oops, that was supposed to say “not one created…” I meant that it doesn’t look artificial in anyway….it’s still early, and I haven’t had my morning caffeine:)

  15. I love your pond as much as the frogs! What a wonderful feature to have as part of your garden. I also love Cardinal Flower, but find I cannot keep it going and have to say I have pretty much given up on it.

  16. I like the concept of the stuck foot. I do it occasionally, but should do it more often. Your venture through your garden is quite interesting and extensive. Love your flowers.

  17. Your pond is thriving, so alive. The frogs and dragonflies would be worth it to me. I once tried a pond but it was too shallow and small, so not protective enough. I like your cattails and Joe Pye weed, and all the water lilies.

    1. Ponds are tricky. We had a plan for ours and hired someone to build it…we were lucky to find someone who could take our vision and create this oasis.

  18. OMG! Ponds need extra care and you have done a lot of work. My temperament is not like that. I like ease and facility. Pond liner installment is currently terribly simple thanks to new technology I’d like Pond coating as suggestion for all pond owners.

    1. This post is mostly about the garden surrounding the pond….it is a wild habitat so no fish and lots of native plants which makes it easier. I don’t think there is much ease in owning a pond especially in the NE where a pump is essential given mosquitoes….so the pump has to be lifted each year before winter. And there is always weeding in and around ponds. But we love it and it is my husband’s special project that he loves to care for. I think I would always have a water feature of some sort in any garden I have. And I would say you are correct ponds need lots of work. Good to know there is a product if we spring a leak….something we worry about.

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