4 November 2011
On the last Sunday Workday we were trying to sort out one of the garden's 'toilet' corners - these spots are a nuisance but we have to address these as best we can. The corner in question is next to the green leaf-bins, under the horse chestnut tree and it is dark and very dry. Last autumn a number of holly saplings were planted but the combination of hard growing conditions and the physical damage caused by squatting shitters had done for these. When a big Spotted Laurel, Aucuba japonica, was anonymously donated earlier in the year, roots wrapped in a black plastic bag, I was unsure where to plant it so it has sat, rather neglected, outside the office. These are tough shrubs, not to everyones taste, but are notorious for their ability to cope with difficult dry, shaded, conditions. Ideal for this corner.
The usual big planting hole with lots of added compost was dug and the laurel firmly planted. The loose compost was shaken out of the bag - revealing this bright eyed little fellow...
I am a big toad fan. You will probably think this is because of their slug-eating, pest-controlling ways. Wrong! It is because of; the perfect balance of comedy and dignity in their expression, that they swallow their food using their eyeballs to push the food down (how cool is that!), and they defend themselves from being picked up by emptying their bladder all over your hands (how silly is that?!) They are wonderful!
We do not have toads at the Phoenix, their wandering ways would mean they would soon get pancaked in the road. Frogs are much more sedentary so can survive here. This little fellow after being photographed, videoed and fed a worm (very hungry after the summer in a bag) went off to be re-homed in the suburbs.
Back to the laurel. 1 day later it is broken in half with a large turd amongst the broken branches. Blighters!