It is always exciting in spring to see the first of the pads appearing on our favourite pool. They seem to pop up the moment we turn our heads, lovely, round reminders of the approaching new season – a damp, green Advent Calendar – of sorts..
Our most common water-lily is the white (Nymphaea alba), though a couple of less numerous natives and a host of imported specimens may also be found. They create fantastic refuges for fish – with the pads offering haven from avian predators and the stems a hindrance to sub-aqua foes. Here too is a place where insect life flourishes, and some fish, such as the tench (see Fish we Like) will happily spend the whole summer in the sanctuary of a water-lily bed.
These are perfect places to cast to, either with a float or a lump of breadcrust for a wary carp. Just remember to strike early. A fish is hard to tease out from behind a single stem, let alone a dozen.