What’s It All About, Algae?

As I’m sure you know by now,  I’m not necessarily the handiest gardener in the greenhouse. In fact, my colleague Drew once described me as being to gardening what Kanye West is to modesty, but I do care about my little gardens (the one in London and the other one in Norfolk) and I do try to keep up with at least some of the required duties.

One of these is my little pond. Everyone should have a pond, or at least some kind of gentle water feature, even if it’s just some dodgy old planks lined with plastic and a sheet of water pouring out of a dirty pipe,  like my landscape gardening friend Brunhilde ‘designed’ for some rich and gullible client. “How much?”  I said when she told me the fee. “Yes, but you do understand it is rustic, and everyone is paying more for rustic this year?” she said “Besides, properly weathered old planks don’t come cheap.” Was her reply. Well  she should know. She’s a bit of a weathered old plank herself.

But I’m going off on a tandem. The point is that my little pond is suffering from a touch of algae and, what with the weather being so hot recently, losing a bit of depth too. I chatted to Drew and Dick and yes, apparently this is typical and just about the right time of year to refresh your pond and clear out algae, any other debris and blanket weed too.

Well. I certainly wasn’t going to risk my own delicate digits by dipping them into foul green soup for an afternoon so I called Brunhilde’s other half, Brody who is a great gardener, a generous man and one of the most miserable, cantankerous human beings ever to raise a fist at a small child for picking one of his raspberries.

He arrived on his bike, pony-tail flying in the wind with the kind of look on his face that just screamed “I was cut up by a van driver on the way here, I used every foul word I know and threatened to beat him with my bicycle pump but he got away and now I hate everyone”. Seriously, it’s like Shiva The Destroyer has decided to get on a Raleigh, laying waste to all and sundry. However, a cup of tea and one of my Lidl versions of a Jaffa Cake and he calmed down.

Brody knows what he is doing  and spent a little bit of time telling me about algae. Apparently there are more than  20,000 known types of algae, many are single celled and some are ‘filamentous’. His evenings with Brunhilde must fly by!

Anyway, the task. First of all, carefully using a net, Brody removed my one and only non-squatting pond inhabitant, a carp who I named after famous 80s rock singer  – Fish.

♪ "Kayleigh dum, de, dum, de, dum, de, dum..."♫
♪ “Kayleigh…dum, de, dum, de, dum, de, dum…”♫

Then he went in with a long bamboo pole and kind of twirled it around in the the water, wrapping the algae onto the stick –  almost like he was making candyfloss – if candyfloss was green, foul-smelling and putrid.

He also used a net to get rid of other debris and bits and pieces. Embarrassingly this included an old bikini top which had flown off the line in one of those gusty westerlies from a few weeks ago. He gave a kind of fourth from smirk I didn’t much take to when  he saw that. Lucky he’s a friend. After clearing all, the gunk out, he then topped up the pond with some fresh water, I popped Fish back in and and Robert’s your Father’s Brother… Holly’s pond looking good again. Even Beiber, the stone  cherub on the tiny island in the middle of the pond, seemed to be smiling a bit more.

Before Brody took off again on his bike to wreak more appalling destruction and havoc on the unsuspecting roads of London, he told me part of my problem was that the pond was in a very sunny area and this encourages the algae. He said when you first site a pond  you should think carefully about where it goes. He said I should have asked Brunhilde to do it and I said if I wanted a pile of old wood and a rusty pipe in the middle of the garden, I could go down the skip and save myself a thousand pounds. “And the rest” he muttered smugly “…and she’d have been at the skip before you” he added as he set off, pausing only to deliberately scratch a badly parked car on his way down the road.

So that’s it. My pond is sorted and all unwanted pond-life is removed. And talking of Pond-life… anybody been watching celebrity Masterchef?  Honestly, where do they get these people from? See ya!     Holly.






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