I was creeping about yesterday afternoon with the long lens on the camera. Very slowly, so as not to be seen, I got closer to the scene of carnal abandon. There was an incessant low singing purring sound. An occasional splash as another jumped into the water. Spring is definitely here.
All those blue/grey blobs are frogs. They started to arrive a week ago on 6 February, the same date as last year. I think they're ahead of last year's lot now though, as they haven't been interrupted by getting frozen into the pond.
Here's a couple of them in contemplative mood:
The mild weather's brought out a lot of flowers too. These are the only snowdrops that have survived so far in garden. It's a bit wet for them I think, the soil a bit heavy. But I did plant 50 new bulbs last spring. About ten have come up. I can't remember where I put the others - I had a rake of different bulbs all planted at the same time.
Primroses are coming into flower all over the place. They seed themselves freely on banks, beside the river, in flowerbeds.
And this pretty thing is a Pulmonaria officinalis, common name Lungwort. It has other common names: Jerusalem cowslip, Jacob's coat, Soldiers and Sailors, Mary-spilt-the-milk. It was a herbal remedy for (no surprise here) lungs, and its use was based on sympathetic magic, the idea that like would cure like - the blotches on the leaves were believed to have a similar appearance to ulcerated and diseased lungs, so were used to treat these conditions.
The mild weather is lovely and its wonderful to see everything growing. But this also means The Slugs Are Awake. And doing their usual. Last year I bought a gorgeous day lily at the Rare and Unusual plant sale at Birr Castle. When I looked up about it the blurb said slugs will go for its early shoots so you need to protect it.
The blurb was right. It's already been nibbled down. You can just see the shoots in the middle of all that brown stuff. That's something called Slug Off. It's a course material which slugs dislike with a coating of something else they don't like. If that doesn't work the bright blue (organic) slug pellets will have to come out.