One thing to be said for a backyard pond is that it will change your whole perspective about gardening. It is not just the plants or the sounds of the waterfall but it is all the new creatures that will begin to show up in the garden. From the first pond I ever built to the ones I build today it still amazes me. No matter where the pond is after it is finished some how frogs find their way to the pond and take up residence.
As fall progresses I see the water lilies are still pushing out some beautiful flowers even as their leaves are dying back for the upcoming winter. All of the border plants are starting to fade as they too prepare for the winter ahead and a chance to rest. The frogs however still sit on the ever diminishing lily pads hoping to fill their belly’s with a few more meals before they too will burrow into the ground and take a long nap. As the days grow shorter and the night cooler the rest of the plants will dye back and loose their leaves, all the lush growth of the summer will be gone and a more barren look will take over.
This is not the end of the pond for the season though. Until freezing temperatures take over the waterfall will remain running and the birds and squirrels will continue to flock to the pond for fresh water and an occasional bath. This is also a time to enjoy the rocks and the shapes of the bare branches and see the pond from a different perspective. Many plantings such as sumac provide for very interesting addition to the late fall water garden area. Early morning ice hanging from the rocks of the waterfall with sunlight glittering off them will certainly be a different view than what your pond usually shows you.
When most plantings are dying back it is a good time to look for weeds that where hidden by other plants during the year. You will also find volunteer plants that have taken root and now would be a good time to dig them out. A good tip is when you go out to empty the strainer on the skimmer be on the lookout for rocks that may have gotten out of place or need to be repositioned for one reason or another. It is much easier to see and adjust them to give your pond a nicer appearance until the plants start to return to growth in the spring.
Remembering that a backyard pond is a source of shelter and food for many creatures big and small even through the winter months will make you have more perseverance to await the arrival of spring and the re-awaking of you water garden.