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Simple frog ponds for your back yard.

This post was inspired by a young man with a burgeoning  interest in frogs. I thought I would publish some photos here of the simple frog ponds I have at home.

When my children were small I was the go to “frog lady” of my local area. I would supply a batch of tadpoles to the local primary school so that the children could watch the tadpoles turn into frogs in a living science project.

I live in the Southern Midlands of Tasmania, in an area of dry sclerophyll forest. There are places near me that have evocative names, reminiscent of wetter times. Tiny hamlets called Lower Marshes, Broadmarsh and Green Ponds, but with 200 years of European settlement and a piecemeal approach to land management, the marshes and the green ponds have all been drained and replaced by gorse covered hills and dusty paddocks.

This next photo is of a part of my garden. I was in the process of turning the blue clam shell into a new frog pond, when life intervened. I am so busy as well as very easily distracted, that before I had finished properly positioning the clam shell the rain had filled it up with water and the frogs had filled it with spawn.

This next photo was taken this winter, the large wooden box was a fish tank until it sprung a leak. The spouse fixed the leaks with some silicon and it worked really well as a frog pond for a couple of years. When it finally gave up the ghost and sprung multiple leaks, I  put an old eski inside it as well as the plastic orange container thingy. The frogs still use it.

This is a photo of it this morning. It is surrounded by a lovely tangle of raspberry canes, a self sown apricot tree and assorted weeds.

If you look very carefully at this next photo you can see the container of water. This is one of those large black 40 litre buckets with the rope handles that you can buy at any hardware store for about $10. I put it down in the garden and forgot about it. It filled itself up with rainwater, the raspberry canes and grass hid it from sight and the frogs moved in. It is absolutely chockers with tadpoles.

Now for some photos of my more elaborate frog ponds. This next one is an old bath that the spouse rocked into place for me. The dead sticks in the bath were just put there for the lizards to use as a ladder when they fall into the water. An echidna has also fallen in to this bath, just under the water is a large branch and a large ceramic pot which helped the echidna to climb out of the bath. Bull rushes are just poking through the surface as well.

This next photo shows my first frog pond, which is in the middle of a rather grassy garden. I try and leave the grass long so that the frogs have somewhere to hide when they first emerge from the water but it is a bit of a balancing act because it also gives the snakes somewhere to hide as well.

This is another shot of the clam shell frog pond. I have just removed some old shrubs that had shaded the pond and replanted with some grevillias and leucodendrons. The grass is winning at the moment and I should be doing something about it as opposed to just photographing the tangle.

Can you see that reddish coloured weed on the surface of the pond. That is duck weed and it is a great big pain. It reproduces by dividing itself and will quickly cover the surface of a pond or farm dam. I have a love hate relationship with the rotten stuff. I love how it gives the tadpoles protection from hunting birds as well as a surface for newly emerged froglets to hop onto while they take their first breaths of air. I hate how aggressive it is and how it will very quickly smother the pond to the exclusion of all else. I saw some of it in the water plant section of a large hardware chain the other day and I would strongly advise against buying it.

Here is a close up of  it. I don’t know its proper name I just call it duck weed. If you are going to buy water plants for your pond I would sit them in a bucket of water inside before I put them into the pond just in case some of this stuff has hidden inside the pot.

What I am trying to say is that a backyard frog pond doesn’t have to cost the earth or be an elaborate set up with pumps and filter systems it can be as simple as an old eski in a wooden box. All the clam shell ponds have rocks and gravel covering their base as well as rocks placed on one side of the pond up to the rim, so that if any frogs that cant climb hop into the water they can hop back out. The rocks also provide the lizards with a handy spot to wait for emerging frogs to hop up for lunch.

All the frogs photographed here are Brown Tree Frogs (Litoria ewingii).These are climbing frogs with large climbing discs on their fingers and webbed toes so the plastic sides of the clam shell ponds don’t bother them at all. Tasmania also has burrowing frogs who have claws for digging on their fingers and toes and they would become trapped in a plastic pond, as they wouldn’t be able to climb out.

There are some more frog photos as well as some links to more frog information here

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Wanderlust November 17, 2010, 6:32 am

    Ooh, I love that first picture, frog lady. My kids would be in heaven in your back yard.

  • Watershedd November 17, 2010, 6:33 am

    And again, I’m woefully ill-educated about ecosystems! not sure I’d make a good farmer’s wife!

  • Mrs. Oh November 17, 2010, 6:52 am

    Oh I love this one! We have two ponds in the backyard that fill with tadpoles every spring. I love the sound of their little voices croaking in the background of my life.

  • Barbara November 17, 2010, 7:58 am

    Lovely insight into your world. Thank you.

    Now please come and convert my garden for me!

  • Jayne November 17, 2010, 2:55 pm

    Love your photos and ponds 🙂
    Have got an old bath in the backyard (2 actually but one is earmarked for reclining in during the heat of summer) and I’ve been thinking of turning it into a proper pond.
    Now, I’m inspired enough to find out if we do have any local frog critters left around here!

  • Achelois November 17, 2010, 3:09 pm

    Kim thank you for this post. You have no idea how happy it makes me to read this. I just posted on Veronica’s blog similarily. Reading of your part of the world coming alive at this time of the year as winter takes it hold and keeps me as usual in the house is a breath of fresh air.
    You describe everything with such natural enthusiasm and patience it helps me understand more of ecosystems. I should know all this yet I had a mother who was a teacher and as soon as she put her ‘teacher’ voice on at home my ears stopped listening. Which retrospectively was stupid of me as it has left me with vast holes in my brain where knowledge should be.

    How I long for space around me to call my own. I guess thats why I love that you post your photo’s sharing your world. It helps make mine bigger. Thank you.

  • river November 17, 2010, 7:55 pm

    I would love to have a frogpond in my backyard, but I’m not allowed to let the grass grow long and there aren’t any other plants to shelter it, also I think the local cats might eat the frogs.
    I’m loving your pictures though.

  • Kelly November 18, 2010, 12:15 pm

    We have a ceramic frog pond on a farm of ours in FNQ. We have collected lillies from a local creek in a nearby town for years (they keep dying in our pond :(). Over in the tropics, we’re overgrown too!

  • Mary November 18, 2010, 8:34 pm

    You really are the Frog Lady. Great advice on frog garden culture.
    It’s been reassuring to hear & see more frogs in my own garden this season.

  • janet November 20, 2010, 10:56 pm

    Thanks, Kim. I’m really learning something here. We’ve had lots of green frogs in our little pond this year, but the cold as sent them into hiding for winter.

  • Argentum Vulgaris November 21, 2010, 11:14 am

    Great photos, great idea, great garden. Loved the concept. Couldn’t do it here in Rio though. Any stagnant water is a potential risk for the larvae of the mosquito that carries dengue fever, and Rio has an epidemic every summer with people dying from it. I would be considered a criminal if I did that, I’d love to.