When I was at primary school, one of the most exciting and most vivid memories I have of the nature table was the frog frogspawn. As children we would watch the little black dots in the middle of frogspawn every day to observe the fascinating life cycle and to see what hatched!

Now, my garden is my nature table and one sure way of attracting frogs is to have a supply of water. With almost over ½ of so many natural lakes and wetlands having been lost over the last century-breeding sites are extremely valuable and frogs have been very good at using ornamental garden ponds. They aren't fussy and it isn't necessary to have a large garden with a designer pond. Frogs have been known to breed in puddles of water! With a little thought and planning and even just a small pond, you could hear the mating chorus of amorous males echoing through your garden next Spring!

Shelter in and around your pond site is very important. Long proud water plants would provide great cover. Even a long slate or a pile of stones here and there at the water's edge would be ideal.

We all know that frogs leap and so getting into the pond isn't a problem, however, getting out again can be more difficult. This is also a problem later for the baby frogs. An adult can use large plants or tiles at the base of a fountain as a spring board to get out but a baby frog will have difficulties. It makes life so much easier for them if a log, stone or small tile can be used as a bridge between the pond and dry land.

When people have ponds they of course think of supplying it with fish, but, to have a truly frog friendly pond fish are not recommended as they will prey on the frogspawn and young tadpoles.

During the day, frogs like damp conditions while waiting until nightfall to hunt for slugs and snails providing free pest control! A wildlife garden should always have little nooks and crannies, logs or pot plants for all sorts of amphibians, insects and small mammals to live around. Plants in and around the pond are also very useful to give frogs cover as they make their leap from the garden to the pond. All of this will be an attraction to newts and toads also.

If you want, you can ask a neighbour or friend who already has a pond with frogspawn if you can have some to get you started. Local wildlife trusts may also be able to help as they usually have far more frogspawn that they can accommodate.

Frogs are one of the easiest types of wildlife to encourage into our garden and easily make home in the ponds we can offer them. Let's do our best for the frogs!

Susan Stewart