Thursday, November 25, 2010

Raucous toad's habitat

This is what I hear first thing upon waking in the morning and last thing before I fall asleep at night.  Meet our Raucous Toad...

I'd brought him home as a teeny tiny little thing, truly no larger than the nail on my ring finger.  He'd hopped across my path and I took it to be serendipitous as I'd been wanting a frog to take up residence in the pond (we'd tried unsuccessfully in the past to relocate tadpoles).  Anyway, I assumed he was a little frog, of the sweet, clicking, chirping kind.  Looks can be so deceiving.  He grew up to be this Raucous Toad (seriously, that's his zoological name, and raucous he certainly is...but in a very nice way, thankfully, as he serenades us all...night...long!  I added the floating pond weed just for him and he LOVES it :)  Remains suspended for hours at a time, trying out his repertoire of croaky notes and sometimes strings enough of them together to make us believe he's working on a melody!  The photograph is courtesy of my husband - now, HE knows how to take a great picture! I have lots to learn.

Hi, Everyone - I'm rather raucous and a bit of a toad, really, but, warts and all, I'm kinda cute if you'll take the time to get to know me!  Look at my lovely string of pearls beneath my chin.  I'm really quite a handsome fellow - would you like to kiss me, then?

Please click on the read more button below to continue this post...
This is what I see first thing each morning upon opening the blinds of my bedroom window and again, last thing in the evening when I close up for the night...the garden is lit subtly throughout at night and that's when it's at its most appealing to me.  I love the stillness and can spend hours out there, quietly taking it all in.

Looking directly out of the window ahead - one of my garden benches has pride of place here, so I can watch the wild fish in the pond and enjoy the view of the garden from this favoured spot.

Turning my eyes ever so slightly to the left, this is what I see.

Looking ever so slightly to the right...

Seen from a few steps to your right...

Nose almost pressed to the windowpane now...

Looking across to the window from the far side of the bedroom (I used the zoom facility on my little point 'n shoot to take this shot).

Still inside and close to the window, but looking up at the trees now...this one is the Japanese elm.

And glancing left, but still skywards, you can see the weeping willow tree, favoured by nesting squirrels two years in a row.  It was a real treat as we were entertained by their antics whilst lying in bed.

Still inside the bedroom, but now looking out of the open window to have a clearer view of the pond.

Slightly zooming in a bit in this one.

Now, focussing more over to the righthand side of the pond (love my rock with a natural indentation in it - I have peace-in-the-home growing in it).

The sun pushing through the treed canopy just at this moment...

And now, we'll step outdoors and take an even closer look at the pond...
Peace-in-the-home & pond weed clearly visible here

Both statues visible here - the one behind the clump of arums pours water into the pond from her urn.  Water gently tumbles down the rock feature to the right of the second statue and also comes down the basins visible in the centre of the picture.  The pond pump switches on at 6h30 and goes off at 9h00. 

A nice closeup of my treasured rock.

Arum lilies are indigenous to the Western Cape and grow wild - I never tire of their magnificently regal blooms.

Close-up of the OCD lady - she cannot help herself - pours water all day!

The pond surround and the waterfall are artifical rock. 

Oh, now she wants to pose for a close-up, too!  See how the moss has covered the natural rock nesting in one of the artifical rock basins - I love moss!  You can see my greenhouse peeping through the trees at centre.

Sorry, I just can't help myself - I want to look at it all up close!  It looks even more lovely when I've waved the hose over everything - then it all glistens and the rock takes on a darker hue.  I'll have to take a few more pictures of that, too, sometime.

For now, I'll add a picture, taken earlier today, of the moss that's started to cover the brick floor in my greenhouse and, since the theme today is water, I'll
include a couple of others (also taken in the greenhouse today), of my little water feature.

Those new bricks have gradually become cloaked in glorious soft green mosses giving my greenhouse the aura of age that I so love!

Floated a few pansies in the waterfeature today...
This is all the magic I need to feed my soul :)

The maidenhair fern is lush and spreading, the fuchsia is covered in beautiful white flowers that have a soft pink central stamen.  I tried to take a close-up but failed hopelessly.  I'll have to enlist my husband to do so for me this weekend ;)

For now, it's over & out from me - hope you all have a wonderful day!

For flowers that bloom about our feet;
For tender grass, so fresh, so sweet;
For song of bird, and hum of bee;
For all things fair we hear or see,
Father in heaven, we thank Thee!
~Ralph Waldo Emerson


  1. What a beautiful garden you have, so lush and green and tropical. Thanks for making it feel as if I'm right there with you! This was a great up-close and personal look!

  2. Welcome, Alison! Thank you so much for your lovely message. It makes me so happy to know you've been able to visit my garden and to have enjoyed it as much as you did! You inspire me to try harder. Being so very new to blogging, I'm still finding my way and so it's great to have feedback.

    I'm looking forward to following your journey with you.

    Happy gardening!

  3. I imagined gardens in South Africa to be more like my own in Italy, but yours looks so lush and green, its lovely. What a great idea to take us on a personal tour of your garden, I enjoyed it very much, thank you, Christina

  4. Hi Christina - how very nice of you to pop over to my blog. I'm delighted to know you enjoyed your visit to my garden - please do come again.

  5. Lovely, all of it is so special to be seen from your large bedroom windows,wish I could do that from mine, but zero view from mine. thanks, Gina

  6. Glad to have been able to share it with you, Gina.

    I should imagine that with your very much harsher, colder winters, you need to be more concerned about insulating your homes. Larger windows would be counter-productive? Also, the way our house faces allows us to see the garden from most of our windows and so I have far, far fewer paintings/pictures on the walls, as viewing the garden is my living painting in a way ;)

  7. What a way to start and end the day. I love the natural feel of your pond. We've tried relocating tadpoles too and none either survive or stay. Maybe we need to find a noisy toad too.

  8. So glad you like my pond, Catherine, especially since you are the Queen of ponds ;) Ours is quite a lot smaller than yours, of course, but I absolutely love it. We have four resident fish (indigenous), but as they are dark grey, they are very difficult to photograph. It's also helpful as the birds don't know they are there and so they've escaped becoming a quick snack on the wing! I have wondered, though, whether the fish had snacked the "imported" tadpoles in the past!

  9. I absolutely love your garden and pond - makes me want to crawl into the photos and have a cup of tea!!! Beautiful!!!

  10. How wonderful to have you visit me on my blog, Susan! As you know, I've been an avid follower of yours since discovering it a few months ago (just before your wedding, if I remember correctly & then all through your illness!)

    Anyway, it's great to see you're "out and about," albeit on the computer visiting gardens. So good for the soul and especially for you, after all you've been through!

    I do hope you're recovering steadily and continuing to allow yourself time to heal fully. I hope you'll visit my garden often and feel relaxed, happy and revived after each visit ;)

    As always, big hug for both you & Ken. You make a terrific team!

  11. fellow toad lover, NoordhoekMarch 20, 2011 at 1:16 PM

    Hi Desiree. I discovered your blog while doing some research on the raucous toad - my husband and i have just been given a frog book and identified our resident frogs as being of that breed - we have about 6 raucous toads in the various ponds around the garden - my husband is a very enthusiastic pond builder and I would love to share some photos of our frogs - we even have some of them mating - and some photos of our beautiful ponds - I LOVE yours!! Everywhere we sit in the garden we can hear the sound of running water - our garden is our sanctuary and - thanks to my husband - "food for our souls" too!! So I can relate to how you feel about your ponds!! We also love our frogs - and have learned some interesting things about the breed. The males are smaller than the females and croak to call the females to mate - they each have their own little area which they are quite protective of - but work together when croaking in a chorus so as not to croak at exactly the same time as each other. The females choose their mate based on the strongest croak rather than size or looks!! The males lose weight while croaking as it takes a lot out of them!
    well maybe my husband and I will start a blog too so we can post photos of our garden and frogs!
    from fellow toad lover, Noordhoek!

  12. Hi, fellow toad lover :)

    How super to have you drop by! I think it would be a GREAT idea if you start a blog (let me know when and I'll be your first follower) and post the pictures you have of your toads.

    I'm not sure ours is still around as we haven't heard or seen him for about a fortnight :(

    We do have a clicking frog in one of other small 'water features' in our little wetland garden. He sings every night! I am really hoping our raucous toad has just popped off for a little holiday somewhere and will make his way back to us, soon!

    You're SO LUCKY that your husband enjoys building ponds!!! Please, please do start a blog so you can share them with us!!!

    Hope you pop back here again :)


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