One of the most anticipated signs of spring in eastern Canada is the chorus of teeny frogs, the Spring Peepers. Their almost deafening peep, peep can be heard as early as March and is a sure sign that spring has arrived and warmer weather is on the way.
There are eight species of frogs native to Nova Scotia: the Eastern American Toad, Spring Peeper, Green Frog, Wood Frog, Leopard Frog and Pickerel Frog are all common throughout the province.
They are entertaining little fellows to watch, and they’re good for the garden.
To create a frog friendly environment in your garden, consider a small pond. Any clean, non-metallic container can be used to hold water. Even a child’s plastic wading pool can be used. Covering the bottom with beach rock or river stones makes an attractive little pool that can stay above ground, or be buried. Water should be free of chemicals, including chlorine. (Let chlorinated water stand in the sun for a few days to let the chlorine dissipate.) Spare, chemical-free water should be kept on hand to top up your pool as water evaporates. Ground dwelling frogs need a rough slope they can climb easily, or they may drown. A slant of rocks or branches leading from the water will work.
If you prefer, you can buy a pond kit. They come in various sizes, with and without recirculating pumps. We bought my Dad the pond kit below for Christmas one year. It’s fairly small, but large enough to make an attractive water feature in his garden — the birds love it too! This kit came from Sears and was priced at just over $100. Most garden centers and hardware stores carry the same, or similar, kits.
A couple of considerations while creating a froggy habitat — while you want a certain amount of shade, your frog pond also needs sun, so keep the position and density of your trees in mind when selecting a spot for this water feature. Avoid using any chemicals around your frog pond as insecticides and chemical fertilizers are easily absorbed through a frog’s skin and they may eat poisoned insects. And keep your pond free of debris, such as fallen leaves and twigs, or mown grass.
Things we have done to the environment have negatively affected frogs and their habitats. We drain marshes, fill in bogs, pollute streams, and clear cut forests, destroying areas where frogs normally live and breed. It’s a LEAP year! Be a friend and invite some frogs to your garden this summer.