Monday, 27 August 2007

Our friend the frog

The wildlife attracted to our gardens gives gardening an extra interest throughout the year.
Today a real gardening conservation success jumped out from beneath a bush as I was weeding.
Garden ponds have helped the common frog (rana temporaria) immensely and it is now quite usual to see them. Their areas of highest density are now in gardens which provide a perfect habitat for them. A garden pond and plenty of hidey holes in shade plus an organic regime in which no weedkillers or pesticides are used meets their needs perfectly.
Unfortunately, there are large areas of Nottinghamshire where no 'common' frogs are recorded as living at all. These, as you would expect, coincide with the areas of intensive farming. Pools and marshes have been drained and the monoculture now pursued has completely eradicated this friendly amphibian from large parts of our county.
Frogs are, of course, the gardeners' (and farmers!) friend - greedily snapping up garden pests throughout the spring, summer and autumn. They live unobtrusively and it is only when disturbed that they hop into sight. Summer rain can also bring them out onto the lawn for a play.
At the moment I wish they would also snap up noisy bantams. They have been having a 'funny half hour' squawking, clucking and generally annoying the neighbours. I think one wants to lay.
I've come in for some peace and quiet!
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