Thoughts on ponds, large
Wetlands are a very important vanishing
part of the ecology of the U. S. Many frogs, toads, salamanders,
dragonflies, damselflies, diving beetles and other critters need a wet
area to survive and reproduce.
Frogs, toads & salamanders usually
lay their eggs as gelatinous masses in water. Taking anywhere from 3 to
25 days to hatch, they then swim in the water until all legs have developed
and they lose their tail. Then they come out on dry land;
while toads spend most of their life on dry ground, frogs go back &
forth from wet areas.
Dragonflies & damselflies also
lay their eggs on the water. The larvae (called naiades), can live
in water for up to 5 years (more like 1 year) before reaching the final
life stage of a dragonfly. Dragonfly larvae shed their exoskelton several
times before reaching adult size. They crawl out of the water to
do this so it helps to have some grasslike plant protruding out of the
water for them to climb.
Despite some trivia that is passed around,
dragonflies live as adults about 3 weeks, sometimes more, sometimes less.
Regardless of their life span, they bring a joy to the summer and fall
garden that cannot be replaced by any other creature.
YOU can create a Water Feature in
your garden. It need not be large .... it need not be very deep.
A sunken dishpan, a small excavated area with a rubber liner; or a larger,
more ambitious project can be home for toads, dragonflies, frogs &
many other water loving critters.
A few small rocks placed in the bottom of
the container, one or two plants (if it is a small container), add water
and you have a water feature. . The smaller the container,
the more often you need to add water. Do not let it dry out! Choose
a sedge or rush as one of your plants. In almost all cases, if you
provide the habitat, some critters will come to it and make a home.
I find that children are very fascinated by the tadpoles and other creatures
that show up in pools.
Following is a List of Plants that
love moisture. Some are tolerant of wet feet. Some plants cannot
exist without wet feet, but like to be on the edge of a pond. Others
actually want to be in the water continuously, then there are those plants
that tolerate seasonal flooding. Finally, many of the plants listed
will do very well in ordinary garden soil.