Is it my imagination, or are the leaves coming down faster this autumn?

We’ve had a week or so of brilliant colour, and now it’s like a wall of yellow confetti. I can’t help feeling a little cheated: autumn is my second-favourite season (after spring, of course, silly) – something to do with the sudden onslaught of colour on senses bleached by the white light of summer.

But onto more prosaic subjects: each autumn I get into trouble. This is because I net my pond, a job I carried out about a week or so ago using a roll of reasonably small-gauge plastic netting I use every year. I weight this down with bricks to keep it taut and work the occasional length of wood underneath to keep it clear of the water.

Trouble is, my uber-wildlife-friendly friend tells me this is absolutely not what you should do if you want to be nice to nature. As of course I do: this is after all meant to be a wildlife pond. She says I’m trapping all the lickle creatures in the water so they can’t get out. She gets a bit more fuzzy about what exactly happens then: after all, I said to her, I surely would have found rafts of drowned newts floating on the surface in spring if it really was a problem.

I say they can find their way out through the gaps (alongside, for example, the bricks) if they need to, and besides, it would do the wildlife a whole lot more harm if I let all the leaves fall in and rot into a stinking and stagnant mess on the bottom.

So who’s right? Since we’ve reached something of an impasse I thought I’d hand it over to those who know more about these things than I do. Has anyone out there got any light they’d like to shed on the matter? Any intensive research studies on the winter habits of pondlife and the effect thereof of plastic netting I should know about?

All authoritative conclusions gratefully received…