I was running 10 days late on the b**k by the time Pete was ready to start planting the pond, so when he asked me if I wanted to go to the wholesale nursery with him to choose plants, I was in a bit of a dilemma.
On the one hand, I should have been working; and having been in and out of London every day for most of September, the last thing I wanted to do was to spend four hours on the motorway (two hours there, two hours back) AGAIN. On the other hand, several herds of wild horses would have been necessary to prevent me from going.
The nursery Pete uses is called North Hill Nurseries, in Chobham, Surrey. It's strictly trade only, but I was very impressed by the range and the quality of the plants. Considering this was the beginning of October, they had a fantastic selection - most of the retail nurseries have either sold out of everything by now, or the plants look pretty sorry for themselves. These Actaea matsumurae 'White Pearl' caught my eye immediately.
I knew I wanted lots of grasses, because they give a very natural, fluid effect, and pretty good year-round interest as well. In winter, the fluffy seed heads add texture to the garden, and look fabulous covered in frost.
These are schizostylis, or kaffir lily, part of the huge selection of perennials available. I didn't buy these, but I have admired them in Patient Gardener's front garden, so it may be just a matter of time before I acquire some.
Cercis canadensis 'Forest Pansy'! I have been dying to get my sticky little paws on one of these for ages. A must-have - AND they are resistant to honey fungus.
More fabulous perennials. Pete was trying to persuade me to get some astilbes but I have an irrational prejudice against these plants. I don't know why - perhaps because I think the bright pink ones look so unnatural. I'd rather have something like Aruncus dioicus.
Hydrangea arborescens 'Annabelle' - a really lovely white hydrangea which looks good anywhere.
And here's the finished pond! Well, not quite finished, because the electrician has to come and connect the pump cable to the electricity supply. Pete and his team filled it with just enough water to submerge the marginals and the water lily in the centre, but we've had so much rain recently, the level has already risen by at least an inch.
The cats don't seem to mind the loss of their lavatory - they seem delighted with their new drinking fountain.
I can't wait to see the waterfall running. In the meantime, I am going to start planting the surrounding area to match the pond planting. Just before the waterfall meets the pond, there is a stepping stone across, so I'm going to create some sort of path around the pond here. I'll probably use gravel.
There are so many plants here: miscanthus; phormiums - a variety I hadn't seen before called 'Surfer Bronze'; Physocarpus (a purple one and a gold-leaved one); hostas; ferns; Eupatorium rugosum 'Chocolate'; hardy geraniums; foxgloves; asters; Japanese anemones ('Honorine Jobert'). The list goes on and on. It's got a sort of prairie look to it, which I love (if you can have a prairie next to a pond).
The best thing about the pond (apart from the fact that it's a gorgeus pond) is that it provides a focus for this bit of the garden, which has always looked a bit scruffy. I'm now much more inspired about what to do with the rest of it - I'll plant the same sort of things up the slope here and continue the theme.
Did I do the planting round the pond myself? Are you kidding? Pete and his team did it. If it had been left to me, it would all still be sitting in pots on the drive.