Caring For Your Garden Pool

A well balanced community of fish and snails and floating, oxygenating and marginal plants requires little attention to maintain it as a superb garden feature. Green soupy water a week or so after filling a new pool with tap water is due to algae feeding on the temporarily salts enriched liquid. Do not attempt to clear the water by draining and refilling. The algae will disappear when a perfect balance of fish and plants is achieved, and when the water is lightly shaded by floating plants. Blanket weed is a form of long stringy algae which can build up in the presence of sunlight. If it reaches choking proportions, remove what you can by entwining it round the working head of a rake. Use an algae killer if the water stays green, despite your efforts to cleanse it by shading it with plants.

Algimycin is an effective algicide. Use it according to manufacturer’s instructions. You will need to know the cubic capacity and number of gallons your pool holds. This is calculated simply by multiplying length by breadth by the average depth. The answer is the cu ft your pool contains. If then you multiply this number by 6(the number of gallons in a cu ft of water), you will arrive at the gallonage of your pool. Spring clean your pool by cutting off dead and yellowing leaves from water lilies and marginal plants. Replant in good heavy soil marginals and lilies that have outgrown their baskets, obviously using a larger sized container.

This is also a good time to divide large clumps of plants and either replant them, setting them elsewhere in the pool, or give them to your friends. April, May and June are the best months for this. Care During Autumn and Winter In autumn, spread a fine net over the pool surface to stop leaves falling into and fouling the water. In winter, stop ice forming over the entire surface by leaving a rubber ball in the water. It is important to keep a hole in the ice to allow gases from decomposing vegetation to escape and not build up to endanger the fish. And never break the ice by pounding it with a hammer. The shock waves set up can harm the fish. Preventing Herons and Cats From Stealing Your Garden Pool Fish If you suspect herons of taking your fish, the only cure is to stretch a net over water, and to keep it there. If the side of your pool is paved, check that the slabs are firmly fixed to their bed of mortar.

If they are loose and liable to tip forward, set them in fresh mortar when the weather is mild and not liable to be frosty. Cats have a habit of lurking beside a pool and deftly flicking fish from the water. If you discover your fish are being angled in this fashion, either use a cat repellant or plant low prickly shrubs round the edge of the pool. Water Lilies Without them, their vivid colors and exotic pad-like leaves, a garden pool would lose much of its charm. There are large, medium and small kinds for pools from 10-90cm/4-36in deep. Take your pick from the following hardy kinds. Best Water Lilies According to Pool Depth For water 10-25cm/4-10in deep, there is white pygmaea alba, pink laydekeri lilacea, red pygmaea rubra and yellow and orange pygmaea helvola.

For water from 25-40cm/10-16in deep, there is white Albatross, pink Rose Arey, red Froebeli and orange yellow flushed coppery pink Graziella. For water from 40-50cm/16-20in deep, there is white marlicea albida, pink Firecrest, red James Brydon and sulphur yellow Moorei. For water 50-90cm/20-36in deep there is white gladstoniana, pink Mrs. Richmond, red Escar-boucle and canary yellow Col. Welch. Water lilies are best planted in slatted plastic buckets of heavy soil top with stone chippings. Fish What grace and beauty they lend to the pool. How hypnotic their effortless glides among the lilies.

Goldfish, shubunkins and a green tench or two to act as scavengers, really bring the water to life. Wait a few weeks after planting the floaters and oxygenators before introducing the fish. Then they will feel at home in a pool that has had a chance to grow a little algae round the sides for them to feed upon, and to attract perhaps gnat larvae, those black wrigglers that the fish love to eat. How many fish will fit comfortably into your pool? Allow one per 30cm2/12in2 of surface area.

Feeding Tips Don’t over-feed them. In fact, there is no necessity to feed them at all, but it is nice to see them gather round to a side of the pool once a day when you bring them food, and this is a habit that both you and the fish are keen on cultivating. Don’t feed the fish from November to March, as their systems are sluggish and the water is too cold for them to digest their food properly. Should one become covered in saprolegnia fungus, a cotton wool like disease, isolate it from the rest and try to kill the disease with a little salt water, or consult your nearest aquarist.