Communications

I haven't received any emails since placing my order?
Have you checked your Junk mailbox? For some reason some mail servers decide our emails are not worth reading -how rude! If not, did you enter your email address correctly when you placed the order? If you didn't there's not much we can do as we can only use what gets typed in. If you are not sure please call, and we can check for you, and we can update your order so you receive subsequent emails. You should get an email on placing your order giving you a copy invoice, and a further email on day of dispatch confirming your plants are on their way. A link is included in the latter email to a PDF of our planting instructions for reading and printing if required. If you would prefer a hard copy of these instructions sent with your plants please make a note in the comments box on the check-out page.

Collections

We have a pond which needs its plants increased. We are trying to attract Great crested Newts. Do you have any suggestions for plants that will attract newts where they can bread and lay their eggs?
The 2 best plants for egg laying are Water forget-me-not and Water mint as they like to lay them on the leaves and then fold them over to protect them. You also want plenty of submerged plants to provide cover in the pond, so best here are the oxygenators: Willow moss, Hornwort and Starwort. Great crested newts don't roam far from the pond unlike some of the other newts so it's particularly important to provide habitat near to the pond for them to shelter and hibernate in. Piles of stones and logs are perfect for this. Plants surrounding the pond are also good if you have a boggy area as this will provide cover for them going to and from the pond. We do a small collection for newts in our Wildlife pond collections section, although this is supplemental planting unless you have a very small pond (1sq m or less).
I have dug and filled a very large pond and would like to plant it out. I was wondering what plants you include in your ‘plants for a small lake’. Also, there will be ducks eventually, are there plants you can recommend which might be duck proof?
For the 'Small Lake' collection you would receive a large selection of the native plants we have on our website, these would include plants like Marsh marigold, purple loosestrife, water mint, Spearwort, Carex, Juncus to name a few of the marginal plants. The oxygenators would be whatever is available at the time of purchase, for example Water crowfoot or Hornwort. For the deep water plants we would include the native Alba water lily and fringe lily. Ducks and pond plants don't mix very well, the only way you can stop them eating the plants is to protect the plants with wire cages; chicken wire works well for this. There aren't many plants the ducks don't eat as they like the new growth. Carex pendula, Purple loosestrife and sweet galingale stand up to ducks better than some plants but not until they are well established.
I'd like to buy the frog collection and the newt collection. Obviously, a lot of the plants are duplicated, would I be able to get 20 different plants, or is it pot luck?
We try not to duplicate the plants if you order more than one collection but this isn't always possible. It does also depend on which plants are available at the time you order. We usually include at least 5 different types of plants in each collection so you would probably get at least 10 different types of plants (2 of each type) with the 2 collections you mention.

Payments

I do not wish to put my card details online, how else can I pay for my order?
You can complete you order on line and select either the ‘card by phone’ option, and we will ring you to take the details or the ‘cheque’ option and pop a cheque in the post to us. You can also make a BACS transfer to us, details are on the checkout page.

Delivery

I have visited your website to order 1 water soldier and was surprised to note that postage was £8.50 which seems a large amount for 1 plant. I tried to purchase this item last week with my first order but there were none available, I would have delayed my first order had I know it was only a week until you had more stock. I will not be proceeding with the order at present as I am unable to justify that amount of postage for a plant which costs £4.50. I spoke with Richard prior to my initial order and he advised to add a comment when ordering that I also wanted a water soldier but was unable to find a suitable place to add this comment.
I agree its a lot for one plant and we always wince when people do order only 1 or 2 plants. The reality is that on small orders under £30 unless the plant is small (which depends both on the plant and the time of year) £8.50 doesn't quite cover our courier cost, let alone the packaging. For small plants, oxygenators or certain pond products where we can fit into a predefined small box size it does cost a little less, but our system isn't sophisticated enough to let us differentiate. The cheapest we could do a single Water soldier by overnight courier would be £6.50 (whilst they are still relatively small!) just to cover costs, but I guess that's still quite a lot! The only other alternative is by Royal Mail 1st class unsigned at £3.75, but we can't guarantee how well it will be handled and in the past packages have gone missing so we try not to use. It's also a 10 mile round trip to the nearest Post Office, but if you are flexible on timing I could send next time we're in town. It's a shame you didn't check with us before the earlier order. We did put a notice up on the web site at weekend to say they were close along with Frogbit and Water violets. For future reference there is a customer comments box on the checkout page where you can add notes relating to the order.
Why can't I have my plants delivered the day after I order them?
While we use a next day courier service (Some areas of Scotland and Islands are only available as a 2 day service) it takes time for us to prepare and pack the plants for dispatch. During quieter periods if an order is received early in the morning it may be possible to send them out the same day. However, we process our orders in a strict 'first come, first served' priority. When we are busy this can add a few days to the lead time for orders. In this case we will post dispatch information on the home page of our web site so that our customers can see the approximate dispatch date for their order. We only dispatch Monday to Thursday.
Why do you not do free delivery, especially on larger orders?
To do 'free delivery' we would have to add a little extra money to each plant, so the more plants you buy, the more you pay for delivery. This would disporportionately effect larger orders. We believe that charging delivery as an extra to the order enables us to keep the plant prices lower and more fairly reflects the cost to our customers. We use a quality courier company and all plants are dispatched using an express 24 hour service, so plants spend the least possible time in transit and arrive in the best possible condition.
How are your plants packaged?
More of our plants are now supplied in planting pots or aquatic baskets, with the exception of oxygenators, which makes them heavier than plug plants. The plants are packed in plastic bags within strong double-walled boxes with plenty of 'stuffing' so they can't move around, which ensures the plants reach you in the best condition possible.
Why do you not send orders on a Friday for Monday delivery?
Because plants are living things, we want them to be in transit for the minimum amount of time. If we sent on a Friday the order would sit in a warehouse over the weekend.

Planting

Do you send a planting leaflet guide out with the plants and are all the plants labelled so we know what they all are?
A link to planting instructions is sent with an email confirming orders are on their way on the day of dispatch. They are also available on our web site here. They used to be included in the documents enclosed wallet attached to the parcel but we found many customers were missing them. If you would like a hard copy sent with your order please add a notes in the customer commetns box on check-out. We include plant labels for each type plant in the order.
The planting advice leaflet says that deep water plants such as water hawthorn and lilies, should be planted in baskets first in shallow water then dropped lower as the leaves reach the surface. Is this necessary at this time of the year when the plants are dormant and (mostly) leafless? Can they go straight to their proper depth? My pond is only 80cm at the deepest point anyway.
Even though they are dormant they still need to go down in stages. Once they start to grow in the spring if they start too deep then they will struggle to reach the surface of the water, and as a result may not flower as they have used up all their energy! Start them off between 20-30cm (8-12") and once the leaves reach the surface drop down to double the depth, and repeat until they reach their final planting depth. Bear in mind the lilies prefer a sunny position in still water. Depending on the age of your pond they may also benefit from feeding early in the spring as they are heavy feeders and this will benefit growth and flowering.
I was considering letting the weeds grow for a period of time then spraying off before planting so the new plants aren't competing with the weeds. what do you think?
Not a bad idea if you have a problem with weeds! You need to be careful what type of weed killer you use as you don’t want anything that leaves a residue in the ground or that could wash into the pond. The best to use would be glyphosate (Roundup is the generic term used for this). This is wildlife friendly, will not leave any harmful residues in the ground to speak of and is systemic -i.e. kills the roots not just the top as some other weed killers do (sometimes referred to as chemical hoes!). It can be used in winter but will be slower acting, and needs foliage to do its job.
I have just received my order thanks, can I use soil from the garden or do I need pond soil?
It would depend on your particular garden soil if it would be appropriate. It would need to be a good quality topsoil without added pesticides or fertiliser, alternatively aquatic soil is available.
What is planting depth?
Planting depth is measured from the point where the plant emerges from the soil to the surface of the water. For a plant in a basket or planting bag this will be the top of the basket or bag to the surface of the water
I planted up a new pond with plants from you in October. I have a lot of what I think is blanket weed growing. What can I do to restrict its spread?
It is quite common this early in the season until the plants begin to grow. The only thing you can do if to keep removing it. You can also try adding Barley straw which is an organic treatment but takes around 4 weeks to start working so needs adding to the pond as soon as possible. Alternatively we sell Ecopond Extract of Barley Straw -this is a natural product derived from organic barley straw and is safe for wildlife, pets and humans. This is easier to use than barley straw and will work more quickly.
Dear Sonia, I got a Lifepond last September and your plant collection (first flowers in bloom!). I have newts, frogs and toads in it and unfortunately also blanketweed. I've been pulling it out but I can see this isn't very effective and I keep disturbing the other plants and the pond residents. What would you recommend to deal with it without hurting the wildlife? If it's the liquid barley, what would the dosage be in such a small pond? I'll buy whatever you recommend plus some new hornwort as that's all covered in blanketweed now. Many thanks Julie
I would recommend Ecopond barley straw extract as it is very effective. Pro-rata based on the Lifepond the initial dose would only be 1ml, and then on-going 1/6th of this. This is not very practical to administer, and as this is a very eco-friendly product which is harmless to wildlife it cannot be over-dosed. So for practical purposes I would use 5ml (1 teaspoon) initially and say 1/4 teaspoon as a maintenance dosage. The instructions say weekly, but you may have to do it more regularly for the first few weeks, say every couple of days, to break the back of it as once established blanket weed is quite tenacious. At this dosage level a 250ml bottle will last a long time!

Wildlife

Hello Sonia, I received my plants this morning and duly planted them in our pond. During the day, our pond was visited by a pair of Mallard ducks. This evening I can't see any of the Willow Moss, the Hornwort has disappeared, there are bits of Starwort about but it isn't in weighted bunches anymore and the Water Crowfoot seems to be just stems. I wasn't expecting that, Have I lost my plants?
So sorry to hear about your ducks! It sounds like they have used your pond as a salad bar! They are notorious for causing mayhem in ponds and will eat any pond plants and even frogs spawn, newts and tadpoles. They are persistent are difficult to put off, and whilst some plants are supposed to be duck resistant they need time to become established before they are exposed. I fear your new oxygenators may have been ‘recycled’ by the ducks. The only way to protect plants is using 25mm wire netting at least 50cm around the plants, but this obviously is no good for floating or submerged oxygenators. You could try netting off the whole pond, almost like a fruit cage, a bit drastic but should work. We have also seen kites shaped as birds of prey suspended from fishing rod like devices used to scare off any unwanted birds, but can’t vouch for whether these work or not.
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