About ten months ago I read an article about turning pools into ponds. It had a picture of someone plunging into lily-bedecked water. ‘We should do that!’ I said.
We weren’t good at pool maintenance — ours was never a sparkling blue expanse. Each summer it was a battle to keep the pool looking reasonable — running the pump, hauling chlorine up our 100 steps, scooping the leaves that fell from the overhanging branches. And it didn’t even get all that much use. The beach is only five minutes’ walk away.
I’m not the domestic type – I’ve never had much interest in house or garden, but the ‘pool to pond’ became my pet project. It made perfect sense. The amount of effort, chemicals and power required to keep our pool functioning showed that nature had other plans.
I am obviously a pagan at heart.
So we stopped running the pump and putting chlorine in. It turned green and smelly. At this stage we had doubts. But one month later I spotted a swimming insect in the pool. This was, I had heard, a signal that the pond was safe for life.
My son and I went out and bought a goldfish and released it into the murky water. Anti-climactically, it vanished instantly and remained out of sight for many days. We named it Scott, after Scott of the Antarctic, because it bravely went where no fish had been before.
Next, we bought some water plants – reeds which rested on the top step and lilies for the lower step. The water was still murky, but with the addition of plants at least it looked like it was intended that way.
A week or so later, we discovered Scott, lurking in the pool filter area. He was still alive, so we bought ten more fish. As we put them in Scott came out of hiding and joined the gang as they patrolled their new home. He’d just been waiting for some company.
Ten months down the track, the water is so clear we can see to the bottom and the fish have doubled in size. They must be happy in their home as tiny baby goldfish now swim with the pack. They are all practically oblivious when we put on goggles and swim gently through the lilies, lingering close enough to touch.
Several times a day I wander out and gaze at the calming sight of fish darting through the lilies. And I don’t know why we didn’t do this years ago.
For the full pond immersion experience click below or here.