A helping hand


Have you seen any yet? I keep going to my pond at the bottom of the garden to check, so far there is nothing to see. But I do hear a little ‘plop’ every time. I think that the frogs are back because as well as hearing them I see little ripples on the surface.

A toad has appeared walking along our grass path going from the woodland towards my pond. You can tell it is not a frog because frogs hop and this one was certainly walking. In the Shropshire town of Ellesmere, the toad volunteers are out again collecting buckets of these creatures crossing the roads to get to their breeding ponds. The trouble is we have built on their habitats and of course they do not know the dangers and simply walk on the road as they travel without checking for traffic.

We used to see lots of toads here in our garden but now one is an exciting event as we look out for them. That last one I saw lived under an old ivy-covered damp log, it was coming out of hibernation, it needs a damp environment and ivy is just the thing to hold the moisture in.

I heard that some farmers are now encouraging ivy on their trees to help wildlife. As a farmer’s daughter I was aways taught that ivy was harmful to trees and should be cut at the base of the tree. But we know now that ivy does not damage the tree it is only using it as a prop, clinging on to get its leaves up to the light. There is a lamppost near here with ivy growing almost to the top. It is thriving and that proves to me that the ivy does not need any nourishment from a tree it only needs a lift to the light. Mind you I would not want it covering the branches blocking the light from the tree or making it topple.

Blackbirds are going backwards and forwards flying into ivy growing up our silver birch tree. The ivy brown ‘fingers’ are holding on to the white bark. The ivy berries are ripe at this time of year and the birds are having a feast to get them through the winter.

Thinking of wellbeing have you tried e-consult on your doctor’s website? You can contact your doctor online now if it is not urgent. I gave it a go yesterday when I was in a long phone queue, which I abandoned.  There are easy to follow questions and the last one is ‘What do you need help with?’ I had a reply within a few hours.

(Taken from my column in the Shropshire Star)

Ivy growing up a lamp post to get maximum light for its leaves.


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