bookends to a great gardening season

littleguyWE OPENED THE SEASON HERE WITH A SALAMANDER, whom I’d fished from the little pool out back while mucking out debris.  Trusty garden helper and small-game handler Susan held him for his portrait, and we both enjoyed the moment (not sure he did), a special kickoff to spring. This week, as we began fall cleanup, another omen: The littlest frogboy ever hijacked a ride indoors.

“Susan,” I hollered, “I need a hand…literally.” And so as she got him ready for his photo op, extracting him from the bromeliad he was hiding in (the one that used to outside, not inside, the kitchen door), I ran for the camera.

littleguy3He was hard to key out in the guidebooks, frankly (a step I always take when I meet a new frogboy). He was tiny like a spring peeper, but lacked the typical dark X pattern on his back that they have. And he was too small (and in the wrong ‘hood by many, many miles) to be anything else, or so it seemed.

But finally, thanks to the University of Michigan’s Museum of Zoology website, I got the secret: He’s a yearling gray treefrog, which accounts for his mere half-adult size. Read more about this changeable creature, whom we gently returned to the place where the houseplant had been, and watched as he hopped through the grass and up a large leaf nearby.

littleguy2I live for these serendipities: When we began opening up the garden, we were served an Eastern Spotted salamander; when we began closing it, a gray treefrog. Bookends on an eventful debut blogging season, with a red newt and a lot of big, sexy frogboys in between. Magic.


  1. Tammy says:

    I had two bright green tiny tree frogs for two years in my back yard (Dallas,TX). I had no idea where they came from and sadly they disappeared this year. But, I do remember the excitement of their sightings.

  2. margaret says:

    @Laura: No, I figured you wouldn’t let me off the hook that easy. We have a long way to go together, all of us: We must clean up the spent bits, and revel in the stuff that’s still to come. A year-round deal I guess here, huh? Maybe a little slower now through February than March to September was, but at least a couple of days a week of new stuff even in the quietest of times. And you never know, I may get energized and post more in winter than I think.

  3. Judy says:

    We love our amphibians here in the Pacific Northwest. In 2007 the pacific chorus frog was actually named the State amphibian. I copied the below information from the internet. They are, in my experience, hard to photograph, so I appauld your efforts and the results. I have one of a frog landing on a very large orange pumpkin, but it is a bit fuzzy.

    State Amphibian
    Pseudacris regilla
    In 2007, the Pacific chorus frog was designated as the official amphibian of the State of Washington.
    Because Pacific chorus frogs live in every county in the state and on both sides of the Cascades, they are an excellent choice as an emblem for the whole state. The Pacific chorus frog is charming and makes beautiful sounds. Less than two inches long, they swell their throat sacs to three times the size of their heads to send their calls into the night. This amphibian is useful because it eats insects, including mosquitoes. It is recognizable by the black stripe through the eye to the shoulder, and can be brown, tan, grey or green. A native amphibian, it is preyed upon by bullfrogs, snakes, raccoons, shorebirds, hawks and ducks.
    A third grade class at Boston Harbor Grade School in north Olympia, demonstrated excellent knowledge about the political process in making this proposal to the Legislature as the project involved science, research, art, and persuasive writing.

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