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There are two ways you can stock your garden pond; the slow, cheap, easy way or the quick and expensive way.

Water Lily

The slow way is to take a bucket of water from another pond and add it to your pond and then wait for nature to run its course. After about a month all kinds of insects and other creatures will have discovered your pond, seeds will begin to germinate and after a year you will have your own little wetland.

The other way is to stock the pond with a variety of suitable plants. Stocking a pond is best carried out during late winter or early spring.

Make sure you choose native plants as introduced exotic plants can quickly overrun their native counterparts. Choose a variety of submerged plants, floating plants and emergent plants - these are plants that have their roots in the water and foliage in the air.

These are some of the species you may wish to plant:

Submerged - water-milfoil, curled pondweed, hornwort, and water starwort.

Floating - water-lily, ivy-leaved duckweed.

Emergent - iris, meadowsweet, loosestrife, rushes, sedges, greater spearwort, water mint, water forget-me-not.

Remember that you must not remove any plants from the wild no matter how common it appears.

After a while you will find that your pond is full of life, although much of it will be too small to be seen with the naked eye. Larger invertebrates that you may seen in your pond include water snails and water beetles.

You may also find that your pond attracts frogs, toads and newts and should be encouraged as their natural habitats are disappearing. If you don't get any frogs add some frogspawn from a nearby pond.

You can put fish in your pond but large or exotic species such as gold fish and koi carp will eat your tadpoles, froglets and other small water creatures. They will also be vulnerable to herons so it is better to add some minnows or sticklebacks.

If your pond is large enough you may be lucky enough to attract dragonflies. Dragonflies need a fairly large pond to breed in with shallow water in which to lay their eggs and for their larvae to feed. They will also need emergent plants, such as irises, for the newly formed adult dragonflies to climb up out of the water.

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