DIG A HOLE FOR A TOAD OR TWO - Well actually also for frogs, newts, snakes and lizards, holes in the ground are very essential places for them to hang out when winter comes.
So you might not be huge fans of these creatures, each to their own, but know they are essential in our web of life. So for a quick garden project, great if you have kids, dig in… literally!
Amphibians like to hibernate in cool places, not freezing though and this little how to could make just the right spot for these wonderful creatures.
Choose your location. Basically you need somewhere where you can dig a hole in the ground about 30-45 cm deep where you can part-bury your collection of logs and stones. A shady or semi-shady spot is ideal. It doesn’t necessarily have to be near a pond, but within a hop and a leap of one is no bad thing.
Dig a round hole with a flat bottom. Pile the soil to one side as you go. Once big enough, fill it with your assorted rubble and logs. The idea is that the bricks and rocks are stable enough that they won’t collapse and crush creatures within, but at the same time don’t pack it all down. Imagine you are creating a higgledy-piggledy underground maze. There has got to be a myriad of hidden winding corridors ranging from a few millimetres wide through to a few centimetres, all leading deep into the pile.
Continue to pile material up above ground level – it is really useful to continue to build the pile into a low mound.
To cap it off. If you've got some, put some builders ballast over the rubble and logs, followed by the soil back over the top. What you don’t want to do is close up all of the entrances - you still need to be able to see lots of gaps around the edges. You can pile the soil over the back half of the abode so that the front entrances are all clear of soil.
Finishing touches. If you like, sprinkle a little wildflower seed over the soil on top of and around the edges of your mansion – amphibians will love their garden path being damp and sheltered. Or you could just add some branches and twigs for camouflage.
Over time, rain and gravity will push some of the soil back down into the holes, so after several years you may need to create another home. But this one should last for a few seasons.
Why not pop out with a torch on a damp evening in spring or summer to see if any residents are emerging?
For more info and a video check out
Whatever you are doing in your garden this summer, please help our campaign to build Marlow's Nature Corridor and make a two minute pledge https://forms.gle/MtnF63K3ohckcCJd9