Saturday, 23 December 2006

The pea-soupers

All these questions occupied us as we watched the water going from the hose, ever so slowly, into each pond. We never imagined that it would take the best part of a whole day to fill each pond. The day after each was filled they looked so pristine and crystal clear. The soil in the bottom had re-settled. The water looked very inviting but even in late summer, it was very cold on the fingers. After a few days, we woke up one sunny morning to discover, instead of crystal clear water, we had two pea-soupers.

At first we wondered how it could have happened so quickly. But then we reasoned that, late summer or not, there was still sufficient sunlight and warmth to heat the empty ponds and thus create an algal bloom. We decided to scoop out jam jars of the pond water for a closer inspection. There were millions of tiny microscopic algae moving around. These thrive on high nutrients, and it is inevitable that a new pond filled with tap water will have high nutrient levels. There was no way we could have saved enough rainwater to fill our ponds. But there was no time to delay in thinking about that now. We would have to down tools and go to a garden centre which stocked aquatic plants.

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