Pond in a bath


I am always looking for an excuse to increase the water in my garden apart from the stuff that comes down from the sky.  I have been thinking about having a small pond on the patio for a while now.  We have a reasonably sized wildlife pond which seems to be thriving if the size of the tadpoles is anything to go by but its up the garden and I wanted something that we could enjoy closer to the house.  I also think its important to provide lots of watering spots for wildlife.  They have quite a selection here ranging from a hanging bird bath to the wildlife pond.

The other weekend I took my sons to a flea market at the Three Counties Showground in Malvern.  I have to say it took alot of imagination to see this as the same venue many of us enjoyed in May at the Spring Show.  They have these markets fairly regularly and it never ceases to amaze me how many stall holders there are and how much ‘rubbish’ they have to sell.  I think this is an ultimate form of recycling and am constantly amazed at some of the things people buy.  Saying that I came away with a number of purchases including a tin bath at a cost of £18 (a bargain).  ‘Why’ was the cry of my mother who throws everything and anything away.  My response was I’m either going to use it as a herb garden or a pond.

The herb garden meant drilling holes in the bottom and this wasn’t very appealing at the time as it was quite warm so I went for a pond.  I have had great fun selecting some plants to go in it.  The waterlily is Perry’s Red Glow.  I know its not the smallest but I had to go with what was available at the garden centre and this one had the smallest eventual growth.  I also planted a Sagittaria japonica (Japanese Arrowhead) and a couple of irises (any excuse) and some good ol’ oxygenating weed.  I had to use some old house bricks to bring the marginal plants up to a suitable height and also some Malvern stone to make a landing spot for the birds. 

I am really pleased with the finished result – my only concern is that if we do indeed have a hot summer (I doubt it personally) then will the tin make the water too hot?  Hopefully the size of the bath will stop this happening.  If this does happen I will revert to plan B, put the plants in the big pond and plant the bath up as a herb garden.

18 Comments on “Pond in a bath

  1. Oh what a sweet little pond Helen and excellent recycling ! You may have inspired me – I have an old tin planter that could do with a new lease of life. I am sceptical about this predicted so called ‘barbecue summer’. I had just started to read your post a while ago when there was a big clap of thunder and then about twenty minutes of torrential rain. I have only just decided to turn the computer back on – hope that I am safe now 🙂

  2. I like your reuse of the tub. Hopefully you’ll get more birds coming through your garden. We have a couple of in-ground fishponds that seem to be magnets for anything with wings–birds and interesting pond insects. The recirculating waterfall feature in particular is really popular because it offers shallow spots for the birds.

  3. It looks fantastic. I agree you can’t have too many ponds. I wouldn’t worry about the heat. I was talking to a frog expert at an RHS show recently, and he said frogs really really like warm water, and that’s why they hang out in my container pond, which is like a low bowl, rather than the big pond. I don’t think it will do the plants any harm.

  4. I’ll have to show this to my husband. He’s not the gardener of the family, but he likes to make water gardens each year. He has a tub similar to yours, plus a whiskey barrel with a fountain and a couple fish.

  5. Looks great. Flea markets are the best for all things-especially gardening. I don’t think it would heat too much for the plants. Plants live in hot bogs all the time I would think. Time will tell.

  6. I’ve got a little water garden in a half-whiskey barrel and just love it. You should look into a curly wurly juncus. Very cool water plant.

  7. What a brilliant idea – I think container ponds are a great solution for tiny gardens, but if I see another in a half wooden barrel I might lose the will to live.

  8. I’m glad everyone likes the bath pond – I just need to sort the area out around it. I am also wondering if it will freeze in the winter – will have to wait and see.

  9. A gardener after my own heart. Over the years we have collected many similar vessels. Some have Hosta in and others ivy but the Hip Bath has a water lily which I am hopeing will flower despite of the dog attacking it earlier in the year.

  10. An excelent idea – and a nice twist on the half barrel (as Martyn has pointed out already) and the ubiquitous blue pot solutions 🙂

    Just float a tennis ball or similar in the winter to stop it from freezing over and all your wildlife will thank you for it.

  11. I think your little tub pond is wonderful. I want to add a couple more small ponds to our yard — our large pond is a little farther from the back patio, and I’d love to have something either on the patio or next to it. One thing I’m learning is that you don’t have to look at typical pond plants — there might be a local moisture-needing plant that would work great in your pond, too, as a bog plant.

  12. I’m also fascinated by the little pond, both because I’m thinking of doing one and love getting all these ideas from post and comments, and because there’s a satisfaction in these little worlds we create which goes beyond what I can explain. As for you and your mother: you’ll never be able to explain why an old bath is so cool and so worthwhile, and she’ll never convince you to get rid of all that old junk – er, heirloom stuff. My sister and I are the same way (I’m the packrat).

    Water can get too hot for plants; it can also evaporate (speaking from California, here). But there’s an easy fix: shade. Either bring some big potted plants around or move it where it gets some shade in the afternoon (when it heats up most). Another possibility would be to insulate the bath in some way (moss? I’m just dreaming and speculating here) but then that might obscure the wonderful bath.

  13. What a great idea! And I like how you recycle and reuse what you have, very environmental friendly 🙂

  14. I’ve got a tin bath that I’ve been meaning to do this with and haven’t got round to.
    I have 2 questions for anyone:
    1) how can I best plug the drainage hole?
    2) will it be safe for fish (does the tin corrode etc – I’m no scientist!)
    Many thanks

    • Hi Steph
      I’m afraid I wont be very helpful. The bath I have doesnt have a drainage hole and I dont keep fish in it just have it as a wildlife pond. It has been full of water for about 5 months now and no sign of corrosion

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