Tuesday, 17 March 2009

In the Garden

It was a beautiful sunny day on Monday and I spent much of the morning in the garden doing some of the first serious tidying up and weeding of the year. Although there are a couple of pairs of frogs in amplexus in the ponds there is no sign of frogspawn yet. Everyone else is reaching the tadpole stage so it’s not very promising for this year. I also came across a lone male – presumably looking for a female.

I found my first male Smooth Newt of the year – you can tell his sex by the bright belly and the crest down his back though the latter tends to lie flat and be very hard to see when he’s out of the water. He wasn’t overly impressed at being placed in such an undignified position to be photographed but he didn’t squirm. Usually it’s not possible to get a photo of the underside because they just turn themselves right way up since you can’t hold them tightly for fear of hurting them.

My favourite find of the day was a couple of catkins in the hedge. There is something really delightful about having grown a hedge from seeds and seedlings and reaching the stage where it provides flowers and seeds. I think these are the male catkins of the Sallow or Goat Willow whose female catkins are the well-known pussy willow.

Over one of the ponds there hang the dead stalks of a sedge which make an attractive photograph reflected on the water’s surface.

The daffodils, large and small varieties, are at their peak at the moment but there are none of the white Narcissi out yet.

The first of the Tulips have opened and the Green Hellebores and Christmas Roses are still flowering well.

In the front garden we get mushrooms (Agaricus bisporus) – the wild form of the Cultivated Mushroom every year under the hedge. The fruiting bodies always appear the third week in March and the first time I found them I thought initially they were St George’s Mushrooms which are said to appear on 23rd April every year.


  1. Perhaps he instinctively knew that he was in friendly fingers.

  2. YOur newts remnd me of hot afternoons in England lying by the pond with my kids watching the newts sunbathe by the lilypads like little fat swimmers having a rest.

  3. We've not found any frog spawn yet.


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