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Spring and the absent Frogs

Entry posted on April 28th 2019

Not so long ago I wrote about why I liked January, now I’ve forgotten all about January and am in love with Spring.

I think it’s the brightness of the green, the fresh, newly opened leaves which are so tender and full of hope.  I also love it because I always forget what’s in the garden.  This is partly because I have a gardener – a team almost – and so I don’t know exactly what is going to crop up where.   

Gardening used to be my hobby and my passion.  I still love it but when I stopped having enough time and the garden got away from me I never went in it because it made me feel miserable.  I realised I had to have help.

Having a gardener was a bit odd to begin with, sharing what had always  been mine alone (OH did the lawn) but now I love it.   It’s perfect for me because I can rush out there when Sarah is there and say, ‘I had this mad idea….’ And instead of saying, ‘that’s a mad idea’ she says ‘yes’ and makes it happen.  Pure joy.

So is it the fresh green leaves that makes spring special?  The bluebells which, not being native English bluebells could be classed as weeds but are blue and do smell lovely?  Or the primroses which always start at Christmas?  Lily of the Valley always get me excited because although they are good spreaders, before Sarah came I never had very many.  Or is it the more subtle things?  I love the way the first leaves of Sedum spectabile, who really do their thing in autumn  start like tiny green roses, close to the ground and pale.  I love the buds of geraniums (not pelargoniums)  like drops of blood, hidden under the dead leaves of last year’s plant.  (I wrote an early and rather spooky short story with those buds in once because they gave me such a shock the first time I came across them.)

I think it’s simply because I love the way my garden froths and fizzes with blossom, flowers and new life at this time of year and still the promise of summer to come. 

But there is one thing I miss and Sarah and I are going to address the issue.  It’s frogs.  I used to have frogs in my pond and rushing down each morning in February to see if the frogspawn had arrived was a ritual I loved.  Except the frogspawn stopped coming.  I tried to convince myself I’d just missed it, it had already turned into tadpoles and were now lost from view in the inky blackness of the water.  But then I was forced to confront the reality - my garden no longer had frogs.

Why, we never worked out. My cat at the time did eat frogspawn (and – er – rejected it in inconvenient places – disgusting) but I don’t think that was it.  And it could have been the fact I now have newts.  Newts eat frogspawn so unless you have a big enough pond they don’t coexist. Newts are apparently rarer and more unusual than frogs and so in theory I shouldn’t mind.  But I do!  I miss those slightly sinister globules living on the surface of my pond to be followed with little wrigglers, only visible near the edge.   And I miss coming across the adult version in the garden, eating the slugs and snails.

The answer to this lack in my life is a frogs-only pond.  Not quite sure where it will go, (quite near the house so I can keep an eye on it) but space will be made.  And I hope it’s a case of ‘build it and they will come’ and I can look out for frogspawn in spring once again.  

If anyone is near enough to be interested, the neighbours and I are opening our gardens to the public again this Summer on Sunday the 9thof June.  For more details or click the link below:

Rodborough Hidden Gardens and Sculpture Trail

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