I recently blogged about frogs in the koi pond, pleasantly surprised to see several ‘frog couples’ I quickly realised their spawning efforts would be in vain. Forty (or so) Koi most likely enjoyed frog-egg suppers and breakfasts. I did go spawn-spotting but never got the chance to save it.
The main pond
Just a few of our Koi
A few days after the frog visits we spotted a smooth newt swimming to the rocks (sadly my camera wasn’t to hand), this was very exciting indeed. Pond life activity increased on and in the koi pond during the recent warm weather, water boatmen and pond skaters have arrived too. We decided to help our amphibian visitors successfully reproduce by introducing a small wildlife pond near the main pond, with plenty of mature plants and large rocks to act as hiding places and cover, the elevated position inside the rockery will protect it to a degree from frost.
The rockery surrounds the koi pond, the wildlife pond is just inside the rockery in the photo
The wildlife pond is quite small, just a puddle in comparison to the main pond, but that doesn’t matter. We placed rotting wood logs nearby and planted grasses, foliage and creeping plants such as Ivy around the pond edge. Inside the pond there’s floating oxygenating plants, floating and potted water cress, water forget-me-not, a submerged lily and marsh marigold. Gradually the plants will mature and provide extra cover around the pond edge, the corners have shallow levels to make it easier for wildlife to climb in and out.
Happy frog in the new wildlife pond
Already a frog is visiting the new pond daily, every evening a pair of sparkling golden eyes blink back at me from the water. We realise it’s probably too late for spawning frogs now, but it’s there, ready and waiting to welcome pond life throughout the year.
Posted by The Garden Smallholder on May 10, 2013
There hasn’t been much going on in the vegetable garden lately, persistent heavy rain and gusty winds constantly prevent any real activity from happening. The greenhouse is heaving with plants crying out to be planted out, I’ve yet to sow a bean seed, carrots are just a disaster and I’ve just about given up trying to keep the summer raspberry canes tied in to their support, they’re trailing on the ground again and that’s where they’re probably safe to be honest. More high winds are set to batter our region this weekend.
Aside from letting the hens out early in the morning, some days I haven’t bothered to venture outside for fear of a tree landing on my head. Our neighbour suffered substantial damage to her fence and garden when a huge tree came down, the noise and destruction was horrific but luckily nobody was hurt. But, there’s some good news with all this wet weather we’re having; potatoes, strawberries and onions are thriving, the lawn is looking the best it ever has and lots of small frogs are regularly visiting the wildlife pond, and being quite brazen about it too.
I don’t miss all the watering this time of year usually requires, but, please, a break from the wet and wild weather would be nice. I’m starting to lose enthusiasm.
Posted by The Garden Smallholder on June 15, 2012
Yesterday I found a small frog amongst the rockery plants, a great sign that our small wildlife pond is still attracting lots of wildlife. We made the pond last February, using one of those rigid plastic pond moulds. It has 3 shelves for marginal pond plants to sit on but we added a few bricks and large rocks to make ‘steps’, this should make it easier for wildlife to enter or exit the pond. We also added a small rockery around one side.
How the new pond looked this time last year:
Buying plants for the pond was fun, there were so many to choose from but we tried our best to stick to native plants. Puddle Plants appear to have a good selection: http://www.puddleplants.co.uk/search.php?mode=search&page=1
So far the pond has a pretty water-lily (not a native but hopefully future baby frogs will enjoy using the lily pads), bunches of oxygenating pond weed, yellow flag iris, small rush, evergreen grass and a marsh marigold. The pond is a constant source of fascination for me, being a fairly new pond I’m amazed at the amount of wildlife it has attracted already. We added a few pond snails last year (the population has increased somewhat) and I saw water boatmen, water louse and pond skaters last summer.
I’m hoping frogs will spawn in our pond this year, that would be great. However, I’m currently enjoying planting around the pond to create a ‘wild’ look to give frogs and newts cover from predators. I haven’t seen newts yet but they should like the rockery seeing as there’s lots of hiding places.
The decision to include a wildlife pond to our vegetable garden was mainly to attract frogs to keep the slug population down, but the pond has become so much more than that. I find myself visiting the pond more and more, watching and learning about so many other fascinating water creatures. I highly recommend adding a pond to your garden if you can, it doesn’t have to be an extravagant affair, a recycled sink or raised pot/barrel are just some examples (Flighty’s Plot uses a shallow dustbin lid for a pond at the allotment). Children will be fascinated by water and pond wildlife (I know I was as a kid), with a little extra thought you can add water to your garden safely, especially important if you have young children. Whatever you choose, fill it with water, pop some pond plants in and within no time you’ll be hooked as much as I am.
If you already have a pond, are you also eagerly awaiting frog spawn? Many pond owners are already recording the first frog spawn! Use the Pond Conservation online survey to record your information, all entries go towards the Big Spawn Count: http://www.pondconservation.org.uk/bigponddip/BigSpawncount/BigSpawnCountonlinerecordingform
Posted by The Garden Smallholder on March 14, 2012