Dear Readers, what ever time of year we go on holiday, it always seems to be the wrong time. Last year we went in April, and 90% of our adult frogs were eaten by a heron. This year, we headed out on 13th March (remember the days when you could actually go on holiday?) and on the morning that we left, the frogs were mating but in the shallowest part of the pond.
‘That’ll cause trouble, mark my words’, I thought to myself.
Ten days later and, as I feared, the long dry spell had caused the water level in the pond to drop, and many of the eggs had dried out. All I could see was a sad layer of jelly and the little black specks that would have been tadpoles smeared across the stones. It was one more sadness in the middle of a desperately sad time.
‘I think the frogspawn has failed, for the first time in ten years’, I told my husband.
‘You might still be surprised’, he said.
And, when I got back from Dad’s cremation, I had another look in the pond, and discovered that life is rather more resilient than I thought.
Look at all these tadpoles! At the moment they are vegetarian, and are getting stuck into the algae on the rocks. Some of them appeared to be trapped in tiny rock pools, so I have rearranged some of the stones so that they have access to the main pond when they’re ready – we don’t have any rain forecast, and I don’t want to top the pond up with tap water if I can avoid it. Later on, when they get little legs, they’ll become tiny predators, munching up the invertebrate life in the pond. I am a bit concerned that it’s still pretty bare around the edge following my major tidy-up last year, but I am trying to remedy that (more on this later in the week).
The replanted marsh marigold is doing very well too, and often attracts hoverflies.
And my water hawthorn is tentatively popping out a few leaves and a single flower.
The water, which went bright green after the work that I had done in January, is gradually clearing, and I hope that my oxygenating plants will soon be bouncing back. One thing I am definitely thinking about doing is planting some pale-coloured flowers like nicotiana by the pond to attract moths, which will also help feed the bats – we had at least three regular visitors last year, and I want to encourage them.
There is such solace in sitting in the garden and seeing what’s going on, even if the tadpoles are so full of activity that it isn’t exactly restful. They have only a short period of time to grow up, and lots of competition, so I don’t blame them for getting stuck in. And here they are, the tadpoles that I didn’t think I’d see this year. How they lift my spirits!