When I was young my grandma had a friend Rita that had a wooden barrel pond in her back yard. It always stuck with me because she told me about how the wood swells to contain the water, AND that they take their goldfish in during the winter and put them in a container in an extra refrigerator so they don’t die when the barrel freezes over. Since then I knew I wanted to have barrel pond someday. Fast forward to this spring when I was really struggling with the seasons changing and not being ready for winter to be over (it was yet another mild one). I was not looking forward to it being hot outside, and then I saw this tiktok about a wildlife container pond. I have watched this video dozens of times or more, showed it to just about anyone and everyone that I can, and created playlists on tiktok, instagram and youtube for all container pond related content. Months later and I still can’t get enough.
@marfskitchengarden Pure joy. Oh and the birds love it too! #buildapond #gardenfornature #frogs #wildlifepond ♬ original sound – Martha
The idea of starting a mini wildlife container pond on my patio was one of the only things that got me out of my pre-summer blues.
I recalled seeing whiskey barrels at Menards, so I bought a half barrel along with a liner. While I would have liked to have my pond directly in the wood barrel, in my “research” I had seen a video where the water was getting funky because of the charred inside, and these particular barrels at Menards smelled SO STRONGLY of whiskey too on top of the charring, even Matt was shocked when he helped me move it to our patio. Next I went to a local rock landscaping place and bought a bucket of smooth rocks, then to lowe’s for a bag of smaller river rocks and a couple bricks and pots. While it was still very early spring I was on a walk with family to a nearby park with a body of water and filled up a gallon water jug with water from the pond, hoping for some good microorganisms. I am hoping for a broad wildlife pond experience, after all. I didn’t get the pond set up for a little bit, and was hoping to return to the park to see if I might be able to get more water that might possibly have aquatic plant-life. and maybe a snail or some sort of aquatic creature, but by the time I went back the banks were pretty built up with tall plants prohibiting access to the water. I turned to etsy to buy some frogbit (that looks like mini lily pads) and actual water lilies. My friend Anika suggested a solar water fountain, as I want to keep the water moving to avoid mosquitos.
Early on I saw a suggestion to not over buy water plants because they have the tendency to reproduce quickly. The frogbit is multiplying, and I have two new lily pad leaves which I’m ecstatic over. I still need to add some branches and hopefully some taller plants for variety.
Meanwhile, probably because of all of the pond algorithm content, I started getting shown some aquarium content as well. I’ve had aquariums here and there my whole life, a few with plants, but I never had much luck with that. I saw an account that had aquariums that were growing “aquatic grass” so I bought some. A month later the seeds and aquatic soil balls arrived. I added them to a glass jar along with some landscaping rocks for visual interest. It took about several weeks for the seeds to grow tall enough that I could finally add the water. I thought it would be nice to keep the aquarium at work, a nice calming tank to have next to my computer. A coworker saw it and was so excited because the jar and landscaping inside looked JUST like a tattoo she has. It blew my mind.
Right now I’m happy just having both the pond and the aquarium fish free. I’m not looking for clear and pristine water. I’m excited for both to grow, evolve and have more personal character.