Wednesday, April 29, 2009

House for Toad

When you dig around in the garden you eventually encounter surprises. Mine was a toad. Moving a few lilies I unearthed a very surprised and then upset toad. It was a hot morning and little toad was nice and cool snuggled up under those lilies. Good for toad I was nearly finished when we met so I assume it was able to hop back to its spot once I left. Later that evening I saw toad again perched on our front steps enjoying the cool evening. It made me laugh. There it was sitting not unlike a guard dog taking in the night. I'm sure toad was hoping for a good lead for a delicious supper but I like to imagine it sitting there happy to be a part of our garden family.

Discovering that toad, a very large palm sized toad, reminded me that we share our home with all sorts of creatures. Just last weekend while digging the vegetable garden a small snake was unearthed. It was released into the tree line well out of reach of curious children. Also discovered that weekend was a reasonably sized lizard sunning itself on the rocks. It's still a bit early for the praying mantis to emerge but they were here last year so I assume they'll be back. We always have frogs, lots of frogs, so many frogs that every night you can hear them sing from their soggy stream bed. The frogs I most enjoy watching are the tree frogs. There are several varieties of tree frogs in Virginia and many live in our part of the neighborhood. I have found tree frogs in our car, garden boxes and birdbath. I love discovering them, sitting there watching us as we go about our garden fun. Besides being fascinating they are kinda cute all snuggled up in the tree branches.

Since our toad has clearly made itself a home in our garden I was thinking that we could help toad this summer by making a more toad friendly place to hide. Spring here is wet and very great for toads but once our summer takes hold finding damp cool places to hide become difficult to find. Toad was found along the front garden where the summer heat leaves nothing damp and cool. My thinking is a little toad (these are cute but we'll make our own) house made from an old terra cotta pot could be placed under a Holly tree or near the peony where it will be mostly shaded from the sun. The peony will be the best place since I know I won't forget to water it and that would ensure for a moist cool location. I am hopeful this will work. I don't want Toad to wander off, a toad of this size will be an asset for the garden. With all the bugs we get around here I'm sure Toad will be happy to help us get rid of them. I'll try to keep my excitement under control I'll rejoice once we see the toad taking up residence for good.

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