Installing a pond in your garden: military action

Frédéric Broniewski was a bioengineer, then director of the General Laboratory for Environmental Studies and Analysis in Le Havre. he is an author Create a pool, published by Olmer. This picture book shows how to create a rich and vivid ecosystem in your garden or on your balcony, and reveals all the little animals your pond allows you to observe.


water is life ! This expression has become popular. However, few of us know its full significance. Astrophysicists are constantly tracking water throughout the universe as a prerequisite for the hypothesis of extraterrestrial life. Who realizes that all life as we know it has been developed and tested in the waters of the oceans ? About 500 million years ago, these other animals, plants, and fungi emerged from the aquatic environment and colonized the Earth’s surface, taking with them the organs needed to capture and store water necessary for metabolism: plants thus developed root systems that, in symbiosis with mycorrhizal fungi, allow them to draw water from the soil.

It is therefore not surprising that water exerts such a strong attraction to living things. As a child, I was fascinated by the ability of the smallest pond to become filled with life crowded with tiny creatures that my new eyes allowed me to discern. I learned a few years later, thanks to a microscope, that I had observed copepods, daphnias, mosquito larvae and other aquatic creatures. Among these long hours of gaming and contemplation of these pond animals, I retain an endless wondrous memory. Since then, going to the water’s edge has been such a wonderful source of serenity for me, that, in my entire life, I have never been far from the water. I chose the biology of aquatic environments as a professional direction, and had the pleasure of digging into a laboratory for environmental studies and analysis.

A small mass of water is essential for biodiversity

To prolong contact with these living waters, and to take advantage of this proximity and the multiple functions of these vital neighborhoods, there is a way: to create a pond. Depending on the available space, garden, balcony or even balcony (in a waterproof container with a capacity of at least a few tens of liters), in the countryside or in the city, it is possible to create such a water point that can form an oasis of biodiversity. Business is within everyone’s reach. If you don’t have clay soil that is particularly waterproof, a rag, shovel, and a few tools will do. And with a budget of under €2000, you won’t miss out on much…Ah yes, your energy or that of a digger to dig the hole.

In the park, this small stretch of still and shallow water is a structural element that plays a major role in the site’s biodiversity and microclimate. It will serve as a habitat, breeding and feeding area for many insects, worms, mollusks, bastards, fish and birds. At the height of summer, the constant ballet of insects and birds in the shallow areas of the water body emphasizes their important role. Frogs and toads, wonderful helpers in gardens, will find an ideal breeding ground here. And so I was able to see the kingfisher, perched on a stump at the edge of my water body, tasting the triton I had just caught. This mass of water will also form a reserve of moisture to benefit the surrounding vegetation, according to the cycles of evaporation and condensation. Likewise, in winter, the pond’s surface can reflect sunlight in favor of the trees and plants that cover its northern shores.

There are a thousand reasons to install a pond in your garden. For my part, the main drive was to reconnect with the emotions I felt during childhood, during the long hours of discovering aquatic environments. Like a walk in the woods, being connected to the busy life of a pond or pond gives me this powerful feeling of being a part of nature, being nourished by its energy. My second motivation of course is to enhance the biodiversity and thus the resilience of my garden thanks to the multiple interactions between the orchard, vegetable garden and pond, which are closely related. In addition to using water for irrigation, or in the event of a fire (if the pond size is large enough), the restoration of plants and sediment during maintenance operations is, after fertilization, an important source of biomass and the fertility of the vegetable garden. You can also grow food plants, such as water chestnuts, or ornamental plants to make bouquets. Others will, again, aim to bring the natural shower of evolution into this environment that provides a strong sense of connection with nature.

I do not forget the attractive power and pedagogical virtues that the blessing represents to children, and often to adults, especially when its discovery is accompanied by a knowledgeable observer. Not a moment passes without the body of water coming back to life. Thus, the gerris, in their continuous convolutions on the surface of the water, the jugglers, sinking to the bottom with great blows of oars, the gerris and the Hydrometers, gliding on the water like skilful skaters and jumping on everything that moves. Or a dragonfly looking for prey or a partner providing aerial choreography on their acrobatic journey. There is always something to see and think about near the pond.

To create your own pond a tarp, shovel and some tools will do the trick

As you understand, the ecological interest of the pond is manifold. It is about the balance of natural ecosystems and the balance of humans. By doubling these water oases, we are actively fighting to mitigate climatic disturbances and creating the necessary conditions for thisexacerbation Areas abused by human activity. The installation of a pond in one’s garden is in this sense a military act, capable of compensating to some extent for the significant disappearance of ponds in recent decades – 90 % of them may disappear as running water reaches homes. Last but not least, we restore and revitalize the bond that unites us to nature. For many of us, nothing is more rejuvenating, calming, and helps meditation than frequenting a living pond. Blessed are those who have such a place in their immediate environment or within walking distance. Don’t miss the Fête des Mares from May 28 to June 5, it’s a chance to discuss the topic and lay the foundation for your future oasis. !

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