Frogs and Toads- What is the Difference ?

Frogs and Toads are a huge part of our wildlife here in Britain, but do you know the differences between these to creatures?

FROGS

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  • Have long legs so are able to jump good distances . They have a mucus on they’re skin which makes them feel slimy
  • Their body is quite narrow and they have many predators .
  • They also lay their spawn in clusters . And they need to stay near water .

TOADS

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  • shorter legs and are more likely to walk- although they can jump a little bit.
  • Their skin is much rougher and thicker .
  • They lay their spawn in strands but don’t need to stay near water other than when they spawn . They have fewer prey as they can secrete a horrible taste and smell.

I have both in my garden. What have you got? 

Mysterious Holes! 

Have you ever been in your garden and wondered how holes are appearing in the leaves of you shrubs ?

Image result for leaf cutter beeThe culprit is a ” Leaf Cutter Bee”

This species of bee isn’t very big but they’re very industrious . The female cuts semicircular discs from your leaves to use in their nests . They usually nest in small crevices in rotten wood .Image result for leaf cutter bee

Next time your in your garden if you notice holes in your leaves . Keep an eye out as they will be back and it’s pretty awesome to watch!

Compost Better Than You Can Buy 

I hope you’ve all had a great Easter! Now, I’m sure you’ll be left with a lot of fruit, veg and other foods to get rid of today, which is where a compost bin comes in.

I like to recycle pretty much everything. So my compost bin is so well used I’m having to get another one!

Anything green goes in. Fruit , salad, veg and even paper.

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Did you know that paper helps break the compost down? And it’s a brilliant way to get rid of letters with your personal details on. It’s the perfect way to get rid of private documents whilst also helping out our garden!

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It’s also good if you put grass clippings in your bin. Layer it with paper and the paper helps to dry the grass out- which speeds up the process and reduces the smell. Also if you just keep putting grass cuttings in and nothing else it will never break down . 

What do you put in your compost bin? Do you have any tips?

Wildlife Night Camera 

So I’ve taken the plunge… I’ve decided to get a Wildlife Camera.

I’m up at 3.30 every morning and I always hear noises outside, and I’m hoping I will be able to capture the culprits . 

I’m suspecting they are foxes as they are digging up holes near my compost bin .

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Image result for foxSo I’m hoping to capture these lovely animals on camera. Maybe even some cubs if I’m lucky. If I do, I will be sure to update you all!

I think it’s a shame that our native mammal is classed as vermin … what do you think?

Frogs and Toads

camcorder 2 073camcorder 2 074camcorder 2 414Frogs or toads what can I say , they’re marmite aren’t they ? You either love them or hate them !

They’re a natural pesticide. Yes they’re slimy and yes they’re cold but they will reduce the need for slug pellets which are harmful to pets and other invertebrates which are so important to the natural balance of the landscape , 

I love it in the summer when there’s a rainstorm .they all come out of the woodwork.

This mild spring has caused me an issue . I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many tadpoles in my pond . So I’m going to give them a bit of extra help as the pond isn’t big enough to sustain this many. You find out more in my Frog Spawn and Tadpoles post…

The main thing which helps keep these little creatures thriving is regular water top ups to help keep the water fresh . And plenty of pond weed to oxygenate it.

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I’ve also installed a solar water fountain to also help oxygenate the water.

Also I’m going to feed them . Any freshwater fish food will do- however pellets are better as they float on the surface. I also slice up any leftover cucumber and throw that in. You could even throw them a few bits of raw chicken or beef (the bits you cut off and usually throw in the bin) and they love it- but if your struggling to keep the water fresh leave this out. If you look after your tadpoles in this way, soon enough you’ll have loads of tiny froglets emerging from your pond!

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I will of course be sharing regular updates on my tadpoles as they develop fully into frogs.

Devil’s Coachman

Ever seen one of these in your garden ?

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This a a Devil’s Coachman.

These are very good natural pesticide . They eat slugs , spiders,  fly larvae and other invertebrates .

It’s rare you’ll see them in the day as they’re nocturnal and like to hide in damp crevices or rotting wood .

If you go to touch one it will rear its hind quarters like a scorpion and opens its jaw and it can give a nasty bite if it’s really threatened . Image result for devils coachman

However they are a real gardeners friend so be glad you’ve got them in your garden.

“The Violet Ground Beetle ” Image result for violet ground beetle

This less aggressive beetle has similar tastes  to the devils coachman and will also feed on carrion (dead animals) – which is great for us because it gets rids of waste.

Females lay their eggs in soil and the larvae emerge as active feeders themselves.

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Violet Ground Beetle Larvae

I never said all nature was beautiful . But there is a balance where everything has its role to play. So remember that if you see these creatures in your garden, don’t hurt them, they are there to help!

Save our Bees

IMG_3045.JPGWhy isn’t more being done to save our bees ? Neonicotinoids are believed to result in a decline of the queen bees’ life span in colonies. This causes stress on worker bees to almost constantly raise a queen bee, leading them to try and forage while too young and to often die from this dangerous task.
The truth is that without the bee to pollinate our flowers , trees and crops we will starve .

What makes things worse is it’s all our fault Pesticides!

So the only thing we can do is ,

do our bit . Planting bee friendly plants as in my previous blog . But also reduce or stop the use of chemicals .

If you have got a medium sized garden try to loosen up on the weeding as these are a vital natural food source . Or maybe dedicate one small section of your garden to allow those ugly weeds that the bees need to feed well . 

Oh and please leave some water out even just a small dishful can make all the difference!

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Cats in the Garden

IMG_3147IMG_3148I love cats I really do . But I wish people would put bells on them . They’re a really good predator and it’s a scary time for the birds as they’re rushing around building nests , roosting or even rearing chicks .IMG_3002

I’ve been sat I the garden today and I’ve seen lots of species of bird . Long tailed tits , blue tits . Wrens which are nesting in my garden . The mischievous starlings are back and they always seem up to no good and I always fill the bird bath up as they love a good bath . Sparrows are always in but all the birds are wary of the hooligan magpies . And my latest cheeky friend is a robin who seems to have been watching Tony blackbird feeding on mealworms from the table.IMG_3150

I have a large amount of feeders all over the garden offering all sorts of tasty treats to encourage as many birds as possible . Mixed seed . Fat blocks . Peanuts and Niger seeds .

Why don’t you try and find time over the weekend to see how many different birds you can see . I was only out for five minutes and I saw all of these including the usual collared doves and woodpigeons practicing karate on each other in their fight for territory !!! 

He’s such a poser

Having a good wash

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Gnomezilla

I don’t like garden gnomes. I don’t know if you could tell.

Luckily, I have a new friend in my garden that takes care of the problem for me.

Meet… GNOMEZILLA

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Scary, right?

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It’s the perfect gnome-haters garden gnome. And you can get yourself one right > here <

He’s now sitting very proudly at the back of my garden ready to tackle any of those pesky creatures who wander in. Don’t worry though, he doesn’t attack any of the other wildlife in the garden! File_005 (3)

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Bumble Bees 

It’s still a little early to see bumble bees . But the ones you’re seeing now are out to find they’re new nesting site so it’s a good time to start looking at flowers that will encourage them if you want to help these struggling and vital insects .

I have a few favourites that always seem to be swarming with bees .

Buddleia are a very good attraction to bees and butterflies hence common name “butterfly bush ” it’s really easy to grow and maintain plus you get the best of both worlds with aromatic flowers.

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Forget Me Not

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Foxgloves

although I advise against these if you have dogs as they’re poisonous to them

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Wallflowers

( very vibrant colours and extremely aromatic )

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Ceonothus

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Ribes 

A member of the currant family

Another good idea is to try a cottage garden seed mix simply scatter and see what happens.

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This was mine last year!

If you want to buy bedding plants . I’ve found poppies , French marigolds and cosmos also draw our striped friends in.

If you plant just a few of these plants in your garden you will see an increase of bees in your garden .

Have you ever looked closely at a bumble bee ? There are around 24 species of bumble be and nearly 250 species of bees in the UK!

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When these furry friends do make their way into my garden I will be sure to share more with you, but for now- why not get your garden bee ready?