Wednesday, 22 June 2016

#30DaysWild Day 22 – Shelter for froglets

Preparing for a positive outcome in the wildlife pond, that some tadpoles escape being eaten by Damselfly nymphs and make it to froglet stage, tonight’s gardening job was extra plant cover for their emergence from the water.

A Gunnera plant (commonly known as giant rhubarb) wouldn’t be the first plant to spring to mind for this purpose. However, I didn’t just plant one Gunnera on the edge of my small wildlife pond tonight – I planted two!

The giant Gunnera manicata can grow to 2.5m (8ft) tall by 4m (13ft) wide or more, although the one I’ve had, for a number of years now, has been very well behaved behind my front fence. Pond side, it was two miniature Gunneras I planted tonight.

Gunnera magellanica will make a great edge of creeping ground cover. Its round, almost glossy leaves are a dainty 2cm (1”) and it only makes a height of 15cm (6”) – a perfect froglet height!

As a gardener, I’m looking forward to seeing this new gunnera in flower but am aware that a creeping habit might mean it needs kept in check. It's hardiness in my garden may be in question too so I'll consider giving it winter protection. It's always interesting to see how an unfamiliar plant behaves, isn't it?


The grass line view for emerging froglets towards the miniature Gunneras


The sloping stone will make it easy for the froglets to get out of the water.


If the froglets go in the other direction they will find a terracotta house waiting. Plantings of bergenia, grasses and heuchera will provide more cover too.


Telima was lifted between the grasses tonight and replaced with Heuchera
which will give a higher canopy of cover along the gravel path which the froglets
will need to cross to get to the nearby border of well established plant cover.

Fingers tightly crossed that these little guys survive and get to explore life
outside the pond and come back as adults to visit us next Spring :-)


This post was published by Shirley for shirls gardenwatch in June 2016.

6 comments:

Midmarsh John said...

Most often I find our froglets hiding in long grass. I think they like that as it retains moisture and gives shelter on hot days. My garden isn't as tidy or well kept as yours Shirley so they have plenty of places to choose from!

Stella Jones said...

Frogs haven't found their way to our newish pond yet, unfortunately, but we do have a big toad that puts in an appearance every now and then. You have made excellent provision for the froglets to get out so everything should be just fine.

Lisa Greenbow said...

I love this frogs eye view of your garden.

Sue Garrett said...

We once had a giant gunners that was kept restricted by being planted in a sort of brickwork container that once housed our pond filter. The thorns on it were deadly too. The gunnera is long gone and the container houses another pond filter now.

Shirley said...

Hello again , to you all, thanks for leaving your comments, sorry I’m slow with replies :-)

John ah, long grass (where the lawnmower never visits) will be a great place for the froglets. I’ve had long grass areas in the past but grass seeds blew all around the gravel paths and borders and I gave up keeping it. Ah, I’m not pristine tidy, not at all, I’m a gardener of ground cover plants and the froglets will be very happy in my borders when they explore 

Stella, sorry to hear that, I understand you disappointment completely. This is our first year with tadpoles. We have imported frogspawn donated from a local restaurant. Your big toad sounds a great character to have visit. Thanks, I just hope all the froglets aren’t’ eaten before they get a chance :-)

Lisa, I like it too – had fun trying to get them too :-)

Sue, ah, yes, with not walking past ours I forget it’s thorny. A pond filter is a great replacement. Ours was restricted at planting too and isn’t in water or full sun. I cut open a used compost bag and laid it in the planting hole, piercing holes in bag before returning soil. The gunnera was planted on this – guess, like yours that worked too :-)

john g said...

it's amazing how far froglets travel for cover and where they will hide.