The frog children

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Earlier in summer the weather was lovely for ducks, and also frogs. While the pitter-patter of raindrops on the hive roof kept my bees indoors, the tadpoles enjoyed every splish and splosh in their buckets.

The tadpoles turned out to be the surprise success of the summer. After a busy frog had filled up the goldfish pond with frogspawn in spring, it was moved to buckets to keep the spawn safe during the annual pond clean. A few weeks later, the buckets were teeming with tadpoles and John was worrying about a plague of frogs of biblical proportions on the lawn. “What are you going to do with them all?” he asked, and I replied, “Don’t worry, apparently only a very small number will survive.”

They all survived. I don’t know whether this was due to daily feeds of lettuce and chicken, or diligent water changes every other day (tadpoles are ravenous and mucky creatures). Perhaps it is just a good year for frogs? Anyway, the tadpoles got bigger and they got legs. A trip to the charity store for bric ‘o brac (much cheaper than aquatic store accessories) and the tadpoles also got some new furniture to make their lives more interesting. A tadpole tea party.

Alice tank

One day a froglet hopped out while I was doing a water change. I was so surprised that I simply stared at it and it stared back at me. Then it hopped back into the water.

It was around about this time that I had been clearing up the garden and had rediscovered a disused frog pond under a pile of paving stones. With my dad’s help, we cleaned it up that afternoon and scooped up the tadpoles and froglets into their new home.

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Why hadn’t I thought of this earlier? The frog pond is like a deep well with earth, sludge and stones at the bottom which naturally seem to soak up the tadpole waste so the water stays cleaner. The tadpoles seemed to prefer the deeper, darker depths too, and the froglets were soon climbing out to explore their caves.

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I had read that froglets like to eat insects and rest in damp places out of the water. So I splashed out this time and bought them a frog house to sit by the pond and a solar lantern to attract insects at night. I did actually spy a couple of froglets sitting outside the frog house one evening and looking, I fancied, in the direction of the flickering light.

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Summer rain misted into warmer hazy summer days. I bought some more pond plants for the froglets and tadpoles, and occasionally scooped up some debris on the surface and topped up the pond with rain water. The tadpoles no longer needed feeding with the mosquito larvae and extra vegetation in the water, and the froglets spent hotter days floating on the elodea.

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Sometimes a froglet would come and say hello while I was gardening.

froglet on thumb

I always put them back in the pond, but they soon hopped out again to return to their favourite spot in the long grass at the end of the walled bed. The spot that I wouldn’t let John or my dad mow down.

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In the shady part of the garden where only the Japanese anemone and the lemon balm will grow, I made a small frog cafe from the old bric ‘o brac that was leftover from the tadpole buckets.

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I found a froglet clambering out of the buried ceramic jug cave just once…

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…for they seemed to prefer the slug-ridden holes in the crumbling brick wall. Build a home for nature and it will come in if it feels like it.

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Eventually all the froglets did hop away. At least, I’m fairly certain that most of them made it safely out of our garden without being eaten by birds or mowed down by humans. Only one froglet now remains, I think, and I sometimes see him, or her, hopping around the long grass when I go out to look at our late summer blooms. My niece Lauren has named the froglet Hoppy.

While I’ll never know what happened to all the froglets, I hope that I gave them a good start in life. And when the solar lantern flickers on after dark and the frog pond appears to come magically to life, I like to think there are a few more frogs hopping happily around Ickenham.

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The name ‘frog children’ was inspired by a beekeeper in Iran, @reza__beekeeper, who I follow on Instagram.

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19 thoughts on “The frog children

  1. I very much enjoyed your story! I must admit to a certain amount of envy as, although we have a pond it is a bit deep for spawn. On the positive side we do get frogs which I enjoy watching and there are newts as well but I think the newts would eat any frog spawn. Such are the ways of nature.

  2. Oh I so loved your wonderful success story of the frogs.. I am certain you have given the frog families a major boost in their population in your area.. Your garden should be slug and insect free for some time to come.. Wait till they start breeding,, Again.. Do the young come back to where they were born?? Hope not LOL.. 🙂 or your garden will be overrun come spring haha..
    So loved how you gave them their own place.. We had frogs in the Pond but I think if there was any spawn the fish ate them.. I never saw any..
    Loved all your pictures..
    Hope your fish are doing well too.. Ours are now fine after we lost two..
    Have a wonderful rest of August Emma.. Time is flying faster than ever as Summer is turning into Autumn..
    Love and Hugs
    Sue xx

    • I think frogs do return to where they were spawned in spring. John is quite worried about it 😉 I’ve noticed fewer slugs lately but the froglets were surely too small to eat the bigger ones. Perhaps we had a hedgehog… Our fish are doing well. Our last old big fish Bella developed ulcers earlier in summer but I treated her with antibiotics and they cleared up. I also got some pond snails and the pond looks much cleaner and less infested by blanket weed! Summer does fly, but I welcome my favourite season autumn. Love and hugs to you and yours, Emma xx

      • Now I never thought to introduce pond snails.. Our pond is alot clearer. Partly due to the waterlily which is covering most of the surface water with leaves not allowing the Sunlight to affect it.. So the blanket weed is also less.. We have a hedgehog, not seen him/her but seen where he has left his droppings so know we have one or two perhaps.. 🙂 Spring will be interesting for you Pond life lol 🙂 Loved your post Emma.. Have a great week as the Sun warms us up again.. xxx

  3. Ah I love the frog children! Btw how did you do the first photo collage of four with a circular one on top, is there a photo gallery option in WordPress that lets you do this?

  4. So pleased to hear all of your froglets grew up happy and healthy. I bet you were relieved when they all-but-one left home though.You may not have to wait too long before they come back though, frogs can start breeding very early in the year. Do you remember Paul McCartney’s ‘Frog Chorus’……..?!

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