The builders departed and the gardening of the small courtyard began. I wanted to bring the garden into the house, so to speak. All shade plants, big and small ferns in our small space but most of all a small bird- bath / pond.
Within the year, all was growing well and a hadeda arrived. In our small space he looked like a dinosaur as he came and went during the day. He was a clever pilot to miss the high walls surrounding the garden. I was amazed that he was not such a dull brown but had many colours in his feathers, including pink. He was also such a gentleman as he never made a noise while in the garden.
Early one morning I jumped out of my skin to see Hardie with a girlfriend. How did I know? She was pretty and shy. But he must have told her not to be afraid, that we liked him and would like her too. Months later they stopped coming and I really missed them. I could not blame Max and Blue, our cats, as they had never bothered the birds, which are rather large – even for a cat.
Then one day, lo and behold, we heard haaa, ha-ha-haaa, a dreadful racket. I ran outside and there on the neighbours roof was not one or two, but three hadedas. Hardie had returned to show us his family. Although he has never come back to the garden – it is much too small for three – he does visit our neighbours’ roof and I like to think he had his honeymoon in our little garden.
We were not alone for long.
A new arrival
I did not tell you that our little pond has a darling sculptured cement child sitting with his toes in the water. It reminds me of my grandchildren but of course they are so much bigger and never remain still. Early one morning there sat a tiny frog about the size of my thumb. Day by day he remained in and around the pond and I began to feel sad that he was all alone, except of course for the cats who use the pond to drink. They are not interested in the little frog. He has the biggest smile you have ever seen so he must be friendly.
Time passed and our little frog grew but not anything like the size of the famous leopard toad, his cousin. I looked him up in a book and decided he must be a reed frog. Maybe he came in on some plants from the nursery. I am always gardening and at one stage I did buy some water plants. His true identity will remain a mystery till some clever person tells me otherwise, but I decided he had to have a human name. When our children were past teenagers they needed a car and we bought them an old Mini Minor. It was green and looked like a frog, I guess, because my son called it Fred. Great name for our new little frog – after all, he is a mini frog.
A friend, finally
Very early one morning, lo and behold, there sitting side by side with Fred was another little frog. How had she arrived, how far had she travelled? Now we had to find another name. This could be difficult. Fred and who? I know that if you kiss a frog it might turn into a prince , so I decided that we have Prince Frederick William and Princess Catherine, in honour of the soon-to-be married Prince William, or it could be Diana, godess of love. Come to think of it, Fred could be Diana , I have no way of telling. But now I have started another pond in anticipation of little tadpoles. After all we don’t want them to fly or hop off like the hadedas.
I must tell you that frogs and cats have things in common. Both can jump very well and both sleep most of the day and go hunting at night. My, how those frogs bounce around my garden and you know what? They eat up any mosquitoes so I never have to spray that awful smelly stuff in my house. I think people forget that everything has a purpose and use. Well, except maybe for flies but they give our arms a lot of exercise, so there.
By Jo Saggerson