So I bought myself some chest high waders and that meant I could waid into waste deep water. Cutting back the dogwood was painfully slow about one metre a day. There were many branches growing into the water and below te surface they ran out upto 8m into the lake. They were all tangled and it was quite strenuous to pull them out. But with a lot of effort and quite a bit of pain, gradually, over nearly 3 weeks I was able to cut them back until they were level with the bank. When completed I had added 3 extra metres to the back of the pond and cut away all the underwater tangled growth. I also had a good idea what it felt like to be in the pond, what the bottom felt like and how deep it was.
I remember tackling the overgrown dogwood at the bottom of the garden exactly one year ago prior to the new fence being built. This year, in February I find myself back in the dogwood but this time in the pond. Its nearly 14 years since I adopted this garden and I'm ashamed to say I haven't once cut back the dogwood. Consequently it is now over 3m high and extends 3 metres over the pond and sometimes upto 5m along the bottom of the pond.
The pond gives us so much pleasure. It is the focal point in the garden and it is a haven for life on it and in it. Even at this time of the year there are usualy some ducks on it and our family of geese are frequent visitors. It is featured in many of my video films and it is a stimulus for my sketching and painting. Mostly I have just cut the saplings and brambles that spring up on its banks but this year I have decided to spend more time, effort and money on enhancing it and the first step is to clear the dogwood along its banks and perhaps on the small island used for nesting in the middle of the pond.
At this time of the year the pond is cold: in fact the surface is often frozen in the morning. It's quite shallow at the edge (around a foot deep) so I started off gingerly cutting the dogwood back in my wellingtons. But it was easy to slip off the narrow edge into deeper water and after a few wet feet experiences I realised this was not the way.
In March 2023 I began an experiential inquiry called Pathways to a Sustainable Future and many of my posts between March-September will be written for this project.
Diary Starts Here