Tag Archive | toad abode

Toad of Toad Hall

I have found a really useful project run by the RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds) called imaginatively, and appropriately, “Wildlife Garden.”

Many wildlife species native to the UK have declined in numbers over the past few decades, and there is a big focus on encouraging everyone to do something to help stop the decline and get children interested in nature. The RSPB has set up a programme where you choose activities to complete which form your “Personal Plan” and when completed, you confirm it online. Full instructions and the estimated time involved are given for each activity and you can pick and choose what to do.

After completing the hedgehog house and café and the bird feeding station, and with the bug hotel and pond under construction, my project for a rainy Saturday was to build the frog/toad abode. There are several models which you can buy ready made but I wanted to make one more akin to their natural environment and provide a damp, safe home for them to keep cool in the summer, and frost-free for successful winter hibernation.

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A ready-made toad abode

 

First job was to dig a hole about 30cm deep. I found a spot near the new pond and sheltered by the garden wall and the thick growth of ivy. I then layered some pieces of brick, which I had dug up when constructing the pond, with the logs I cut up yesterday. The idea being to create lots of nooks and crannies for the frogs and toads to crawl down. I kept adding logs and bricks above ground to make a mound. I even found a piece of brick shaped like a doorway to make an entrance.

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A mound of logs and bricks above and below ground

This completed the basic structure which was now ready to be covered in lots of twigs to make it look more natural.

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A good helping of twigs

 

 

I could have left it like that but my wildlife garden is going to be 5* so while I sat drinking a well deserved cup of coffee I thought of how I could make it more waterproof, comfortable and attractive to frogs and toads.

I happened to have an old hanging basket liner which was surplus to requirements so filled in some of the gaps in the twigs with coir, providing a good layer of insulation.

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Next, I found some old wooden lawn edging, again surplus to requirements, which made a very stylish pantile roof!

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It still looked a bit untidy for a discerning amphibian expecting 5* accommodation so I covered the roof in soil and a piece of turf to make a more natural mound.

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A few plants which I have been growing behind the scenes help to soften the landscape and hopefully, when I have finished the adjoining pond, bog garden and rockery, it won’t be long before the first residents move in.

If I was a frog, I wouldn’t hesitate.

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Creature Comforts

Now that my Hedgehog hotel is occupied, I can focus on making comfy homes for other wild creatures and encourage them into my garden.

It appears that I have already made great strides with allowing the weeds, like groundsel, to grow. Groundsel is a favourite of the Cinnabar moth larvae which turn into beautiful black and red adults. Although they are common and fly during the day,  I haven’t seen one in my garden before but they are very welcome to bring their striking colours along to brighten up any dull patch.

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Cinnabar moth in my garden

One of my next projects is to create a “Toad Abode.” I have spent some time sawing the apple tree branches which hubby lopped off in early spring into small logs and collected some old brick pieces and large stones to make one of these frog and toad homes. Part of the feature is built below ground and part above. This gives them access to the cracks and crevices between the stones and logs and somewhere which is cool and damp in the summer and frost-free in the winter when they hibernate.

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Logs for the “Toad Abode”

Of course when creating a wildlife garden you have to plan a complete ecosystem in your back garden. A food chain is necessary if the creatures are to survive. I was very pleased therefore that someone has very kindly donated a fabulous piece of tree trunk which is old and dry and is home to all sorts of insects already. These tiny creepy-crawlies will provide food for birds, hedgehogs, frogs and toads and so is a very welcome addition to my project.

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The creepy-crawly log

Old wood stacked up in piles creates a very simple home for lots of insects, amphibians and hedgehogs. I didn’t have to pick up too many branches to saw up before I came across a host of snails. They looked quite pretty with their multi-coloured swirly shells.

 

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Snail Trail

I have lots more to do and I have booked a weeks holiday in July so I can crack on with it properly. Now I’ve started I want to get the basic structure in place so I can plant up and get it ready for next Spring.

If you have any good ideas for creating a wildlife garden or tips what not to do, please message me. I will be very grateful for any advice.

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