In 1987, Tom and I bought our first house. (A real fixer-upper, let me tell you. . . ) I was so excited to be able to plant some flowers and maybe start a little vegetable garden in the backyard. (I wasn't a gardener yet, but the seeds had been planted.) What I didn't understand then . . . was that the house we purchased was situated in a town that, at one time long ago, had been a river bed. The entire area was a muck field -- with incredibly dark and rich organic soil perfect for growing . . . pretty much anything. This soil assured my early success in gardening. (I thought it was me; it was the muck.)
But that's all a story for another day.
Today, I have a different early gardening story.
The other day, as I was weeding in one of my garden beds (Front Door North, if you're interested), I noticed the big guy in my photo above . . . crawling around in my sedum. He was a really lovely toad. Bronze and shimmery. Sizable. Probably irritated that I was making him move when he'd really rather not. I love gardening with toads.
And that got me thinking about the first time I discovered a toad in my garden . . .
It was back at that first house . . . in the muck fields. Our first spring there, I brought home a flat of red geraniums to plant in the little foundation beds in front of our house. I was so excited! I had my flat of flowers, a little trowel (the one I still use, by the way), and my little gardener's kneeling pad . . . and I dug in. After planting the first few red geraniums, I found my gardening groove. And then, as I dug into the soil to plant another geranium, it . . . moved.
I had disturbed a BIG ol' toad!
I freaked out!
I shrieked. I threw the trowel and the geranium up in the air and over my head into the yard behind me. I leaped up and back into the yard in one fluid movement. (It must have been quite comical . . . )
I wasn't actually afraid of the toad. I was just . . . surprised . . . by the toad. Really surprised. I had never considered that I might encounter something live like that . . . right there in my front yard foundation garden!
Since that day, I have encountered many, MANY toads while gardening. Sometimes they still surprise me (they camoflage themselves so well, just sitting there in the soil), but never like that first time. I love sharing my gardening space with . . . creatures. Toads and garter snakes. Frogs. Insects. Birds, bees, butterflies. Squirrels and chipmunks and groundhogs and rabbits and possums . (Skunks . . . I'm more leery of. But I know they're out there.)
I make my garden a friendly place . . . for flowers and plants -- and for all the creatures that call my garden "home." And it all started with that one toad, so many years ago.
I hope you all have a restful weekend, with plenty of time in your garden (if that's your kind of thing).