The Frog Blog

We’ve had a couple of ponds and a waterfall in the garden for more than twenty years now. Just as well we built them when we were young enough to heave all those big rocks around…

We started with tropical waterlilies – I’m hopelessly optimistic. And we did indeed get amazing purple-blue lilies up on high stalks for the first season. Then the frost got them and I bought some sensible hardy ones. Also bought half a dozen goldfish, because by then we had mosquitos. It was highly amusing watching the fish chase the larvae around in the water. Bye-bye mosquitoes.

But whoops – hello fish! They liked each other! They made dozens more fish in no time. It’s a good thing fish are cannibals. The big ones ate most of the tiny ones, and the population stayed more or less in balance. Over the years the odd one has floated to the top and been added to the compost, but surprisingly few. It seems they live a very long time. They're friendly little things, and always scoot over to side of the pond where they spot a person - no doubt after food.

Over the years we’ve had assorted visitors – including a pair of ducks who arrived several years running. I’m sure it was the same pair because the male had a bad limp. We’ve had monstrous dragonflies and much smaller mayflies, but the best of all are the frogs.

We’ve no idea how the frogs find us. We live on a very busy road, and the thought of them hopping across it because they can smell water on the other side is alarming. Can frogs smell water? We had one who lived in the pump box for several years (our little waterfall runs on electricity.) Last year a new frog arrived – a handsome thing that looked as though someone had dipped a paintbrush in gold and decorated it for Christmas. We Googled it – a Green and Golden Bell Frog. Several consignments were brought across from Australia in 1860. He or she apparently has no business being so far south in the world because they seem to have survived only a long way north of here. We feared it had fallen prey to one of our neighbour’s three cats, but maybe it simply hibernated earlier than we expected because it reappeared a few weeks ago.


 And now it has a friend - a wartier darker edition. This might be a Southern Bell Frog. Frog 1 is quite happy to converse with the lawnmower or the chainsaw (or maybe it’s complaining about the noise.) Frog 2 is quite huffy and won’t croak when spoken to like Frog 1 does. Quite a bit of mutual croaking goes on late in the evening or early in the morning though. Are they two gentlemen trying to scare each other away, or are they holding sexy conversations?

It’s nice to think they might be friends. Frogs are sadly much depleted in numbers – loss of habitat, agricultural chemicals, etc.They're almost all under threat of extinction these days. We might get tadpoles! The fish will probably eat them too… I’m keeping my eyes peeled!