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Posts Tagged ‘toads’


The puddles have been iced over most of the winter, but they seem to have survived quite well; the water lilies are sporting new shoots that are ready to head for the surface soon, and now that I’ve cleared out the algae it’s also possible to see that some habitants are still living there – and some have returned from winter hibernation on land.

Always have a toad in the Puddle

I spotted one toad in The Puddles, but the one pictured above is actually one that was rescued from the drain well where it had fallen in, so I had to fish him out and relocate him to The Puddles where he has a chance to get out of the water if he wants to. Or she; what do I know.

Newt

We also have two newts in one of The Puddles; that’s one more than last year, and I continue to be thrilled by these creatures. When I was a child my Grandmother took us over to the bog to catch salamanders to release in their forest pond, so I’m ecstatic to have them join me in the Flâneur Garden quite of their own volition. I’m hoping desperately that they will decide to use The Puddles for procreational purposes, but I’ll leave that up to them…

Aquatic snail

Another set of volunteer immigrants are the aquatic snails. I really have no idea how they got here, but I guess they must have come as stowaways on some of the plants that I’ve set in The Puddles. Somehow I like these much better than land-based snails and slugs. (Well, except for the Roman snails which I also love.) The largest one has a shell that’s nearly an inch long, so they are not completely tiny.

Of course we also have water beetles, water bugs and lots of other insects – including a population of mosquito larvae that is quickly being decimated by the other inhabitants of The Puddles, much to my satisfaction.

The area around The Puddles looks quite bare still, but the perennials are beginning to shoot and soon it will once again be slightly overgrown and the black edges of the three tubs will be obscured by hostas, sedums, wild strawberries and so on, so I’m chuffed to bits and full of anticipation.

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I guess it’s no surprise that the Roman snails that I moved to the garden are still lurking around, doing their bit to rid my garden of slug eggs. However, elegant creatures as they are, they really tend to call very little attention to themselves.

But… I also moved some 15-20 baby frogs to the garden – or so I thought! Upon further reflection it seems more likely to have been baby toads, and last night I got the proof:

Young toad

A tiny toad sitting by one of the ventilation holes in the foundations of the house. Isn’t it just adorable?

Young toad escaping - or not

It didn’t seem to enjoy the flash, though, so I left it to find some better place to spend the night. The little fellow was perhaps just over an inch long, which is still around 5 times as big as when I collected him and his siblings some months back while they were crossing a busy road, and he gives me hope that there might be others of his ilk that have also chosen to hang around the garden after I moved them here.

There is a very real risk that I might be as excited about the animals living in the garden as about the plants growing here; it’s just such a thrill to feel that we are the custodians of a plot of land where these protected species will actually want to live. They are proof that I’m certainly doing something right here.

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So yesterday I showed you my smallish (male?) toad relaxing in the pond. Well, last night I spotted some movement on the covered terrace, and there was a somewhat larger toad, which might be a female.

Another Toad

So we have two toads! How exciting is this!!! And toads eat the eggs and small specimens of slugs, so they are useful as well as exciting and – let’s face it – somewhat less-than-pretty.

The other day I also made another discovery in the old, disorganised compost pile in the less-frequented corner of the garden. Meet my new friend Hunter, a roman snail (helix pomatia):

Helix pomatia

I instantly moved him to the narrow border to the North-East of the covered terrace, since this is a favoured place for the slugs to burrow, and Roman snails are said to prey on the eggs of other gastropods. I’ll take any help I can get!

The Roman snail gives me a problem, though: I have to stop using slug pellets, as these kill ALL gastropods, including snails. So one is clearly not enough… So I went scavenging in the woods nearby and found a dozen more which I placed around the garden where I thought the conditions would be damp and cool enough for them to thrive. Some went into The Hedgerow, some at the back of The Ambitious Border and some in The Evening Border. (Putting a snail in The Sunny Border would just be unfair to the snail, I think…)

Now, Roman snails are protected in Denmark but you are allowed to collect them for private consumption, so I figure it’s probably also okay to collect them for your garden. After all, I’m sure the snails would rather be released in my garden than baked with garlic butter! (Though I do like snails…)

Besides my army of slug-fighting recruits I have also armed myself:

Spear or hoe?

This came with the house when we bought it, and I guess it’s technically a hoe, since it’s meant to be used to weed the cracks between pawing stones, but I’ve begun to use it as a spear when I walk around the garden in the early morning or late evening when the slugs are out and about. It might be slightly brutal, cutting them in half with a spear-like instrument, but I’m convinced it’s probably more humane than poisoning them. The other day I took out 102 slugs just by strolling around the garden with this tool…

Yes… The War On Slugs is definitely on in the Flâneur Garden! By all means possible.

 

In other news, I’ve also collected some more wildlife for my garden; 12-15 tiny baby frogs out of hundreds that were crossing the road a mile or so from here. Considering that several hundreds of them had already been run over by cars I think that it was okay to collect a few for The Puddles. Though of course their natural instinct when they have metamorphosed from tadpoles to frogs is to wander away from the pond they hatched in – hence the massacre on the road – so they quickly abandoned The Puddles, but maybe they will be back. Fingers crossed! After all, they might not eat slugs, but I wouldn’t mind if they made a dent in our mosquito population!

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