Why I Call Toads a Gardener's Best Friend

comments (1) November 13th, 2015

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EllisWakefield EllisWakefield, member
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When I was barely at my teen age, we had a garden that was started by my grandpa which was then passed on to my dad. This was together with the old house of course. But anyone can see the difference between the garden and the house itself. I don't quite remember how meticulous my grandpa was when it comes to the garden but by seeing my dad almost every day and how he would say that grandpa really loved and treasured the garden, I can tell that they both take gardening seriously.

As days passed, I can see how my dad was becoming more and more attached to the garden especially after the first birthday of my grandpa after the year of his death. I don't know how and where it came from but we had this belief that when a loved one dies, they usually do visit or sometimes stay with good intentions in a form of an animal or insect of some sort, commonly a butterfly. Well, butterflies have always been flying around our garden because of the beautiful flowers that both my dad and mom had grown. So I thought, if that belief was real, then my grandpa is most certainly not one of these butterflies, it has to be something else uncommon and one that does not come and go.

I was able to tell my thoughts about this to my dad and he did not say a thing. I knew and I felt that he was quite disappointed with what I said but I was also able to see that he was probably thinking the same way. By this time, my dad was having a huge problem with bugs that pest some of the crops we have that were long planted and cared for by grandpa. I suggested that we use pesticide like anyone would commonly think of for the problem to be solved but he refused. He told me that his old man has always been an anti-pesticide type of gardener and will not think of using one for his crops. In fact, grandpa will rather see the crops wither over time than use synthetic pesticides.

I wondered how this was possible until one day, I stumbled upon something that I never thought would change the way I think of the garden. I nearly stepped on a weird looking creature for its colour and appearance does not really go that far with the dirt it was on. The creature then crawled away to a broken pot that is somehow installed upside down near the shrubs. I knew then that what I saw was a toad. By seeing this, I did not know what hit me but I vaguely recognise the pot. It was one of the few pots that grandpa bought when he was still around and I think he had around 8 pieces of them. (This was actually my last clear memory of him before he passed away because he took me with him when he bought the pots).

I shared this incident with my dad for I knew that my 10-year old sister is extremely frightened not by small flying insects, but by a bit larger one like that of a frog or toad. I really don't have any business with these creatures but I'm really annoyed with my sister's screams and cries whenever she sees one. I actually thought of just killing it but I was fiercely advised by my dad not to. He told me that the toad could be grandpa's reincarnation or it could be his friend who guards the garden. (Well, at this point, I was thinking like, "here we go again"...)

Days passed since I stumbled upon the toad that my dad named "Ted" and I noticed that the crops' condition was starting to get better and better. I asked my dad if he finally had chosen to use pesticide like I previously suggested but he said he didn't. What he did was clean the area around the broken pot that I saw and actually even added a mini-pond close to it. And he told me that this was the reason why the crops started to get better. I know that a toad's diet is mainly bugs but I didn't know that one can also be a garden's resident guardian. I've been told by my dad that Ted has always been in the garden and the broken pot has been its home. There has been actually a lot of revelations unfolded but the one that got into me the most was that the broken pot was not really broken all along, small opening was actually cut by grandpa and he was the one who installed it into the ground to be Ted's house.     

My dad admitted that like me, he was once not interested in the garden as well and he would frequently have arguments with grandpa when he was growing up. Dad also told me that Ted has been grandpa's friend ever since he could remember and the reason why he didn't choose using pesticides is because of it. Toads are known to consume literally thousands of bugs perhaps in one sitting all throughout a season. And if a garden owner makes them stay just like what grandpa did, they could really be a valuable ally, a pest-predator and ultimately, a gardener's best friend.  


But the most shocking and life-changing revelation for me that actually turned me into a garden-lover like my dad and my grandpa was that, my dad has had an older brother that died right after he was born due to some rare medical complication (during that time, medical technology was not that advanced and problems were more often not detected until it's too late), and his brother was named Theodore "Ted" Wakefield.

posted in: Gardening

Comments (1)

NeverTooManyPlants writes: Great story!
Posted: 9:08 pm on December 17th
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