The Lake was created around an old gravel pit in the cornfield which became the Botanic Garden in 1846. The roughly U-shaped Lake was dug out and the soil mounded up in the centre to form a peninsula, which now protects the Bog Garden.
The Lake covers about one third of a hectare (three quarters of an acre). It was dredged in autumn 2016 and re-lined with puddled gault clay to make it watertight. The Lake offers an opportunity for us to grow marginal and aquatic plants, including Nymphaea alba (water lily), Typha latifolia (reeds), Iris pseudacorus (flag iris) and Menyanthes trifoliata (bog bean).
The lake is also home to several woody specimens which thrive with their roots submerged in the water – Nyssa sylvatica (black tupelo), which originates from eastern North America, and the swamp cypress (Taxodium distichum) whose roots develop knuckles, or pneumataphores, above the water surface which are believed to enable the tree to take up oxygen. Numerous trees surround the lake to create a textured backdrop.
Many of these take on autumnal hues to provide dramatic seasonal reflections, including Acer cissifolium, Acer ‘Sango-Kaku’, Cotinus coggygria (smoke bush) and a fine specimen of the sweet gum, Liquidambar ‘Worplesdon’ whose leaves take on brilliant reds and oranges. The lake also provides a valuable wildlife habitat for a range of creatures, including ducks, moorhens, dragonflies and kingfishers.