Leapy Year … Frogs in The Garden

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.

My daughter, a wildlife biologist, makes friends with frogs.

Consider making your gardens frog friendly. Frogs require very little: food to eat, a certain amount of humidity and shade, a place to breed and reproduce, and a cool hiding spot. Mulch and compost will attract insects to your garden and frogs love them. In fact, they’ll keep insects from destroying the plants in your beds. Slugs, snails, beetles, mosquitoes, cockroaches, moths and flies are some of their favorite fare.

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.

8 x 10 pond kit with recirculating pump

Many irises, lilies, violets, rushes, some hostas, and dwarf cattails are a few of the plants that do very well around the perimeter of a pond and will provide shelter and shade for frogs. Floating water plants, such as water lilies, provide an easy resting place for the critters once they leave the water.

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.

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Author: nancybond

A writer, photographer, naturalist from small town Nova Scotia, Canada.

8 thoughts on “Leapy Year … Frogs in The Garden”

  1. nancy .. wonderful post !
    I love the “peepers” .. I so wish we had the room and the energy to keep a pond going .. Ontario is so tricky with the West Nile virus problem ..
    I miss that frog song so much that I need to buy a CD with that and cricket sound .. it immediately lulls me into a relaxed state .. so helpful !
    I was so fortunate as a kid to live in Louisbourg Cape Breton .. we gathered tadpoles and watched them become frogs and heard their awesome chorus in a natural state. I will never forget how that feels.
    Thanks for reminding me nancy !
    Joy

  2. I love froggies and toads of all kinds…we have this huge wild pond out back that is filled with frogs. The green frogs will soon start their banjo-pickin’ sounds as they warm up on nice sunny days, and then not long after that, there will be peepers. I can hardly wait, Nancy!

  3. We love our Spring Peepers here in NW Washington State, too, Nancy. My husband dug out one of his raised planter beds and made it into a pond. He takes such loving care of his goldfish and water lilies. In our yard we mainly have native plants, with showier annuals closer to the house.

  4. I have a garden pond, and a big (artificial) frog that spouts out water into it. Last year, I took a photo of a little frog who would sit at the base of this fake frog. It was hilarious!
    Brenda

  5. Great minds think alike! Now I see why I missed your post yesterday – it was posted after I had logged off for the day. Even though mine focused on the environmental and extinction factor, I did incorporate a touch of gardening too. How neat is that?!! Excellent post Nancy with great advice.

    Warmly,
    Diane

  6. What a great idea for Leap Day :) We’ll be hearing the peepers too before long. Like Jodi, I can’t wait!
    I often find frogs in the garden and am always pleased when I do.
    Your dad’s pond is lovely. I had no idea you could get a kit that cheaply.

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