Day four of 30 Days Wild is mostly about frogs…
I used to take frogs for granted. Every garden had them didn’t they? We had them, when I was a kid, because someone gave my Dad a moulded fibre glass pond for free. He installed it willingly. Not least because he needed to bury an old water tank and would be digging a massive hole to put it in – so it wouldn’t be much more work to install the pond. (This didn’t seem odd at the time, by the way, but does seem so now.) He built a rockery next to the pond. Rockeries were the height of sophistication in DIY garden landscaping in the 1970s/80s. He also made a path around the pond, out of broken paving slabs, which possibly devalued the sophistication leant by the rockery. Not that this would have bothered my dad, because actually the rockery was probably more about having somewhere to put the rubble from the hole the water tank was buried in.
All of this was at the bottom of our garden, in an area that was pretty wild and uncultivated and which was far enough away from the house to avoid the attentions of the lawnmower. Thinking back I realise that, albeit unintentionally, my Dad had engaged in some wildlife gardening some 40 or so years before we were all urged to take part in ‘No Mow May’ and to plant wildflowers for bees. (Bees were also plentiful in our garden back then, buzzing around fox gloves and other blooms).
Back to the present though. A couple of years ago, we were given an off cut of pond liner but it wasn’t quite big enough to make the pond we hoped. The water seeped away so my husband improvised with a flexi bucket because he had spotted a frog in the garden and wanted to make sure it felt welcome.
This year, our flexi bucket pond was full of tadpoles. We popped by for a look now and again but mostly left them to get on with it. This week I noticed my husband sitting by the pond, gazing down at it and clearly absorbed by whatever he was watching. I assumed it was more tadpole action, but I was wrong.
He’d been concerned about how tiny froglets would get out of the flexi bucket and so had gently and carefully installed a ramp for when the day came that they needed it. The tadpoles barely noticed, but it clearly drew the attention of some adult frogs. Apparently five popped out at one point, but by the time I went to see what was holding my husband’s attention only two were still in evidence (see pic above with blue arrows pointing to frogs!).
Sometimes when I’ve seen frogs, such as on my husband’s allotment plot, they have patterned skin with markings which put me in mind of lichen covered rocks. The one on the ramp is quite a plain individual by comparison, but no less welcome.