the (mostly froggy, sometimes variegated) news from here

THE LIGHT-HEARTED news from Nowheresville as June begins: I am short on garden help these days and long on frogs. Too bad the latter just lie around having a hot stone massage for hours and hours (above) in between brief bouts of chasing each other frantically for you-know-what. (In frogspeak they call it amplexus. Sounds sophisticated but it’s just you-know-what.)

Um, yes, that’s one of the many around here: a gentleman caller, flocked in some tiny floating plants. The individuals who color up yellow during mating season are the gentlemen, at least among the species greenfrogs, like this guy, and their cousins the bullfrogs. (How to sex a frog.)

These two (the same individuals from the top-of-page photo) are still at it. A week before, she hadn’t yet discovered that his thigh was a dandy pillow, but now she knows. See her nictitating membrane (aka third eyelid)? Like built-in goggles for underwater vision, the membrane then keeps eyes moist when on land. And yes, it’s true; I could just watch frogs all day. #beatsmowing

When I am not crawling around communing with frogs, I like foliage a lot, too (more than flowers, even). This copper-leaf plant or Acalypha called Giant Leaf is a favorite (distributed to garden centers by Landcraft Environments, wholesaler source of many gems over many years; thanks Dennis Schrader and Bill Smith).

Most are from places like the South Pacific, and used here as “annuals,” but last year I learned that one of my most common “weeds,” an inconspicuous thing I have in ample supply, is a native Acalypha sometimes called three-seeded mercury that spans more than half the nation, Acalypha virginica (or maybe similar-looking, widespread A. rhomboidea; both occur in my county), and that California has its own native species, too. BTW the more familiar chenille plant is Acalypha hispida.

Being a plant nerd (or a frog nerd) isn’t a bad thing. After all, life is all about the connections, isn’t it?


  1. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    Your froggy friends are quite amusing. It is no wonder that you can watch them for hours. Interesting plant too. I don’t think I have seen this before. I will be on the lookout to see if it pops up here. Cheers

  2. Colette Kelly says:

    Nice to see other people interested in frogs and Co. Last February I was reading how to attract frogs and toads to your garden. Little did I know that the following day, one tiny American toad would jump out of a flower pot in my front room – said flower pot had been indoors since last fall (living in Ottawa, that is the kind of things you do to keep a nice exotic plant alive over winter). So now I am finishing a nice spot for her in the garden (already spotted another small companion for her there) to release her this week-end.Since that February day, I learned much about frogs and toads than I ever imagined I would!

    1. margaret says:

      They are the best, and there is always more to learn about their life cycles and biology. Fascinating animals. Glad the toad found you.

  3. Terry T says:

    I went away for 10 days and boarded the dog. Came home to pond totally emptied of fish and frogs. We are inclined to blame a heron that is known to make the rounds in the neighborhood. I loved my frogs, some of whom had gotten used to me and wouldn’t immediately hop back into the pond when I walked by. I do however begrudgingly have to admire the patience and persistence it must have taken for the heron (if guilty) to do what it must do to get by.
    So, do I install a plastic heron in the pond next time I leave? I can’t net it with frogs hopping in and out and I don’t want to trap the bird.

    1. margaret says:

      I only had this issue one year in my tiny pond. Here’s a photo of what I did — to make it less pond-looking and try to “fool” them — and in the comments some other folks gave their 2 cents I think years ago. But I did not havea persistent problem or a big pond — just wanted to prevent a habit forming of them getting used to stopping by.

  4. Patricia Robbins says:

    Love your big fat frogs! I may have some but never have seen them. Frogs are making a racket in the woods and last year under my deck but hide really well. I do get lots of tiny little guys, some of whom hide inside the watering can, then pop out to surprise me while I’m watering.

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