Posts Tagged ‘frogs’

The pond, five years on

A holiday at home

Finally after six dry months we had a good rain the other week, around 60mm. We did not see the sun for over a week. All through it the children played outside, mainly on the big slide, the bottom of which fills with water, but much time was also spent on chairs on the back verandah.

On the big slide

On the big slide

The weather was so different to our usual intense days of blue skies and heat that it felt like we were somewhere different and exotic. Meals also were eaten outside, adding to the holiday mood.

Amaru outside for a change.

Amaru outside for a change.

However the holiday is over. With the ground soft at last, and no watering needed for a week or two, I have been busy working on pond #2 and pond #3.

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Monty Don, what have you done?

One thing about tough years is that the good memories stand out, and one of the highlights of 2013 was when my mother borrowed the Monty Don’s Italian Gardens DVD from the library.

Monty_Don's_Italian gardens

Over the months that followed this DVD was one of the things that made life a bit more bearable; there was even an element of hope to it, that one day, as well as all of the shit being behind us, my own garden would be something special.

One of the things which caught my attention were the fountains in the different gardens shown, which I guess is a direct result of living in a mostly dry place. Towards the end of the year I hunted high and low until I found a little solar powered water feature, and  after clearing out the pond early this month it is now in place. Gone is the swampy frog sanctuary – oh, Monty Don, what have you done?

The pond, after

The pond, after

Goldfish and a bit of weed has been added back, and that seems to be all it wants.

New again.

New again.

I now see that my Edna-Walling-inspired brick pond was not really the right place for all the other pond plants, frog log etc… looks like I might be needing another pond!

 

 

 

What a mess!

The other day whilst harvesting goji berries, I heard a little croak, the first all year. I had just about given up on frogs. Last year I’d brought in a few more tadpoles from a local waterhole but hadn’t seen any sign of them since.

At the end of March each year I remove the cover from the pond so I can see lovely reflections of the sky etc. I have to have the cover on over summer or I lose too much water through evaporation, but it looks ugly, and I’m happy when it comes off. However this is the sight that greeted me:

The frog pond

The frog pond

For over a year I have battled algae and plants which like to take over, and decided some months ago that when the cover came off again, I would have to pretty much start from scratch.

So this morning I wrestled with this awful grassy thing which forms big mats and cuts your hands to ribbons, and it is out! That big clump of sedge I will pull out and plant next to the pond, and the water irises will be repotted, I’ll have lots left over to give away if anyone wants any. I used to have purple and yellow water irises but the purple seems to have dominated the yellow ones and I haven’t seen one for a while.

The pond - half done

The pond – half done

I have come in for lunch and am tired – I think I might have to continue tomorrow!

 

Proper rain at last

After two years of very little rain, we have finally had several inches over the past month. It has been a great time for renewal, and lots of planting.

I have also almost finished the paving of the back verandah which I began at the end of January. To celebrate, I have put in another pond at the end and made a delightful shady corner there, which will be a wonderful place to sit, when summer returns.

The shady corner when it was all still in my head

Before.

The above photo shows what the shady corner looked like a couple of months ago, when it was still just in my head.  Below is what it is now, straight after last week’s downpour.

After

After

Of course in my mind the plants are way bigger! We have four little fish that we have put in this pond, because the children wanted them. We have not seen many frogs around our other pond as it was such a dry year, but we are hoping to hear croaking again in the future. I might bring in a few tadpoles this year to make sure.

Rain at last!

Very thankful to have received an inch of rain at long last, just when the tanks were so low I was thinking about water night and day.

The rain was a lovely slow and steady one, and the land greedily slurped it up. The garden, or what is left of it after many deaths over the months, is already looking refreshed. And just as planting season has arrived (hooray!) Over the summer I have had  a joy in my heart about the plants I would put in to replace the ones that did not stand up to that very dry year. It almost feels like the dawn of a new era in the garden.

P1090851

The land sighs with relief.

Of course for us to get good rain, further south must cop it. When we get really good rain it usually means that Melbourne is under water!

We have not heard from our frogs for a very long time. I wonder if they will wake up now.

Still waiting

While the first of the November storms have passed through, only about 5mm fell here. As has happened all year, good rain further north and south. About the only plants in my garden that get a good amount of water are those in my pond.

We are now at the time of the year when evaporation goes out of control, but I simply must wait until my water irises have done their thing. Once the flowers wither, on goes the shade cloth.

We are also still waiting for the first croak of the froggy season. Or is it that the frogs themselves are also waiting for rain this dry dry year. Perhaps they will stay underground this year. In the meantime there is only silence at night.