Nature

Frog Friendly Garden

One of my favorite summer things to do is sitting on our back deck and listening to the sounds of nature.  There was a time, when I first arrived in South Carolina, that the noises of the night were downright intimidating.  Our first year here must have been the coming of the cicada, scary!  But as the light of day fades, the one sound that you can count on is the melody from frogs that come out to feed and play.

My garden is a wildlife habitat called WilliowDale Cottage located somewhere between ‘my aching back and heaven’!  And my favorite wildlife, besides everything else, are the frogs, including toads.  Since water is an important factor in attracting and sustaining this wild life, I have placed water sources throughout our garden.

Frogs and toads are amphibians hatched from eggs laid in water.  These friendly amphibians are invited to WillowDale not just for their music but also to help keep pests in check.  Frogs eat thousands of insect pests, including slugs, flies and mosquitoes.

So, now when there is nothing else to do in the garden (lol) is a good time to plan and build a Frog-friendly Habitat.  Since spring has sprung and hopefully no more hard freezes, you’ll be ready to start your planting around it.  Just remember, all wildlife needs a water source.  But to attract frogs and toads, a water source at ground level is a must.  A backyard pond is ideal but it doesn’t have to be elaborate.  Just make sure it covers enough area to provide adequate space for protection and reproduction about 4 x 6 feet and 1 to 2 feet deep with easy access in and out.  Just cover the hole with a liner or drop a pre-fab pond in the ground available at most box stores.  There is no need to stock it for as the saying goes, ‘you build it, they will come’!

Once that is done, you need to provide cover nearby to protect toads and frogs.  So, placing plants along your pond’s edge is important and, that will attract food sources, too.  You can also place shallow saucers with water next to your plants which makes for easy access for toads including turtles and birds.

Give them a house and you’re done.  You can buy cute ones at most hobby stores or I use broken terracotta pots with an opening on both ends.  Place them directly on leaf-covered ground so toads can bury themselves into the leaves and dirt.

And if you’re lucky, as I have been these last two summers, a tree frog may even take up residence in a small, protected birdhouse watching you by day and singing by night!♦

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