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Ups And Downs In The Garden

1st of May 2011

After two hard winters in a row I suppose it’s no surprise that there are dead plants in
the garden. My Phormiums have suffered terribly; three are dead and three are just
hanging on to life. They did not like the cold and when their long straight leaves were
bent over by the snow, bank voles decided they were just the place to shelter. The voles
chewed through leaves and made nests right in the middle of the plants. Just before the
snow melted foxes came and dug out some of the nests making soggy holes that filled
with melting snow. Too much for my once ten feet tall plants which are now reduced
to a couple of straggly leaves or worse, a pile of rotting rubbish.
Frogs don’t seem to have fared too well either, as there was not as much of their spawn
as usual in the wildlife pond. The frogs always arrive before the toads and choose their
side of the pond and then the toads arrive and lay their long strings of spawn as far
away as possible. If the pond was smaller it would be either a frog pond or a toad pond
but ours is big enough for both. The frogspawn is usually hatching just as the toads are
laying theirs. When the tadpoles become meat eaters as their back legs develop they
would eat the toadpoles as soon as they hatched, if space was short. In our pond they
don’t realise that lunch is just across the pond until the toadpoles are too big! It takes
about sixteen weeks, depending on the weather, for the tadpoles to become frogs but
another three years before they are breeding adults.
It’s not all doom and gloom in the garden though; I have just been wasting my time
watching Mike and Carole, the first lambs of the season, running races round their
mum. New lambs can always raise a smile.
Wendy Bathurst

This page is edited by Tony

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