Frogs are one of nature’s litmus test for a healthy environment. The chorus of croaking frog is synonymous with sunset and spring in South Africa. They are also an excellent way, along with fish, to keep mosquito populations under control; after all they get to eat what bugs them.
Boiling frog syndrome in gardens
As the saying goes urban areas are seeing a dramatic decrease in biodiversity, gardens are becoming the new conservation areas and it is important to treat them as such by naturescaping.
Nearly one third of the world’s amphibians are threatened with extinction. Frogs are susceptible to pollution, disease habitat loss, invasive species, climate change and the wildlife trade.
In the context of gardens, they are extremely sensitive to pesticides and environmental disturbances because of their permeable skin.
Commons South African frogs
- Bubbling kassina
- Giant bullfrog
- Guttural toad
- Natal tree frog
- Painted reed frog.
- Quecketts River Frog
- Stripped Stream frog
The benefits of frogs in gardens and fishponds
Frogs are considered bio-indicators and if they are living in your garden, it’s a sign of a pollutant-free environment.
Frogs are also natural educators. The Princess and Frog teaches children appearance can be deceiving and to always keep your promises. The African folktale of the frogs in the butter teaches one never give up. The frog’s unique semi-aquatic life cycle and life stages of development are often used in classrooms as an educational tool.
These amphibians also play an important role in aquatic ecosystems. Great news for pond maintenance, tadpoles feed on algae and filter water. Frog helps keep insect populations down and the frogs themselves serve as food for snakes, ducks, fish, birds and monkeys.
Naturescaping for frogs
It is important gardeners do not use chemicals in the fishpond or water features and pesticides in the garden.
Frogs need water to survive but if they cannot get out they drown - pond gradient, waterlilies and foliage on the circumference of the pond help them out. There is an invention on the market, the FrogLog, that aids frogs and other animals that have fallen into pools.
Fish species can be predatory but that can be part of the lifecycle so long as the tadpoles have a place to hide in shallow water or reeds.
Frog need loose and healthy soils to burrow in winter so be careful where you dig near the pond. Gardeners should never underestimate the importance of a sunset sprinkler session or nightlights that brings swarms of insects for the frogs to feast on.
Submerged and floating aquatic plants for South African fishponds
- Cape pond weed (Aponogeton distachyos)
- Water parsnip (Berula repanda)
- Miniature papyrus (Cyperus prolifer)
- Cape blue water lily (Nymphaea nouchali Burm f. var. caerulea)
- Floating hearts (Nymphoides thunbergiana)
Marginal aqualtic plants for the pond periphery
- Arum lily (Zantedeschia aethiopica)- known for its association with the arum lily frog
- Dogwood (Rhamnus prinoides)
- Bloodroot (Wachendorfia thyrsiflora Burm) –attracts sunbirds
- River stars (Spiloxene aquatic)
- Orange river lily (Crinum bulbispermum)
- Bushgrass (Calamagrostis epigejos) – will bring red bishops
At Life Landscapes we have decided to live like the lotus at home in ‘froggy’ waters