a french garden

La Rainette comes calling

29 Comments

The night before last we had a visit.

I just dropped by!

I just dropped by!

We were delighted!  The little green frogs are one of our favourite visitors and we had not seen any since the spring.  It had been a very dry summer and not really frog weather but recently it has been raining a lot and I have heard them in the evening but not seen any.

I'm back

I’m back

I rushed out to say hello – as you can see they are not shy.

Just to give you an idea of size.

Just to give you an idea of size.

I was able to measure this one’s size through the window and the body length is only 3 centimetres (not counting the head), which is very small compared to the ones we have seen before.

La Rainette, Hyla meridionalis 1.4.12

Relaxing in the garden in April this year

I remember the first time I saw a Rainette.  It was a rainy afternoon several years ago and I had just started to draw closed the patio window to stop the rain coming in.  She was sitting comfortably on the hand grip of the door frame and I saw her just in time to draw back my hand without touching her.

We were both startled.  I had never been that close to a bright green frog before.  I didn’t move but neither did she, except to move her head to the side as if to ward off an imminent blow. I felt chilled by the thought that I could have inadvertently squashed her and then by the thought that she was expecting an aggressive blow.  She still didn’t budge and I realised she had no intention of moving unless forced to.  She was enjoying watching the rain from the window as I frequently do myself.  I retired leaving her to her reflections.

On chair in the garden

On chair in the garden

From then on she turned up in the garden whenever she fancied, usually when it is warm and damp.

Among the Wisteria in April

Among the Wisteria in April

I have identified the Rainette as Hyla meridiaonalis, a little green tree frog that lives in our garden and is common in this area of France.  They differ from any other frogs that I have come across as being much calmer and less easily startled.  I see them more often during warm, wet weather anywhere in the garden and our old well (see my post The old well ).   The well had no water this summer but a plentiful growth of ferns on its walls is a favourite haunt of the tree frogs.

Oooh that sun feels so good on my back!

Oooh that sun feels so good on my back!

They surprisingly enjoy basking in the sunshine.

Blending into the colour of the unfolding Arum Lily.

Blending into the colour of the unfolding Arum Lily.

Despite being bright green they can be difficult to see.

Inside on side-table

Inside on side-table

They occasionally come inside and can take you by surprise because once comfortable they can remain motionless.  This one appeared in the dining-room and I only noticed as I bent to put a cup of coffee beside her!

This year they were very quiet as usually we hear them calling from the river in the summer evenings.  Their call makes us laugh and I had missed it this year, so I am glad they are back.

You can hear their call if you go to this excellent site and press the button under the Call heading http://www.herpfrance.com/amphibian/stripeless_tree_frog_hyla_meridionalis.php.

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Author: afrenchgarden

Born in Scotland I have lived in England, Iran, USA and Greece. The house and land was bought twelve years ago in fulfilment of the dream of living in France that my Francophile husband nurtured. We had spent frequent holidays in France touring the more northerly parts and enjoying the food, scenery, architecture and of course gardens. However, we felt that to retire in France and enjoy a more clement climate than we currently had in Aberdeen we would need to find somewhere south of the river Loire but not too south to make returning to visit the UK onerous. The year 2000 saw us buying our house and setting it up to receive us and the family on holidays. The garden was more a field and we were helped by my son to remove the fencing that had separated the previous owners’ goats, sheep and chickens. We did inherit some lovely old trees and decided to plant more fruit trees that would survive and mature with the minimum of care until we took up permanent residence. The move took place in 2006 and the love hate relation with the “garden” started. There was so much to do in the house that there was little energy left for the hard tasks in the garden. It was very much a slow process and a steep learning curve. Expenditures have been kept to a minimum. The majority of the plants have been cuttings and I try to gather seeds wherever I can. The fruit trees have all been bought but we have tender hearts and cannot resist the little unloved shrub at a discount price and take it as a matter of honour to nurse it back to health. This year I have launched my Blog hoping to reach out to other gardeners in other countries. My aim is to make a garden for people to enjoy, providing shady and sunny spots with plants that enjoy living in this area with its limestone based subsoil and low rainfall in a warm summer. Exchanging ideas and exploring mutual problems will enrich my experience trying to form my French garden.

29 thoughts on “La Rainette comes calling

  1. Lovely images of your frog, she/he is such a strong vibrant green. Christina

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  2. Oh, what delightful creatures. I can understand from your photos and descriptions why you are so pleased to have them back.

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  3. They are lovely little creatures – I like the photo on the arum lily. I’d be pleased to have them in my garden too!

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  4. Wonderful photos! Such a tame animal, the perfect kind of photo subject. We have a similar (but without the eyestripe) tree frog here all summer, and I love finding them in the bushes and on the walls of the garage or house.

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  5. Gorgeous, I love frogs. As a child I used to pick them up to save them from cats.

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  6. How wonderful to have all those fabulous frogs in your garden, they’re totally adorable! I love the arum lily photo 🙂

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  7. If frogs can ever be cute – and why not, indeed? – these are they! RH

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  8. The little frog looks so contented! Almost like a cat sitting in the sunlight.

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  9. I love frogs. What a little cutie!

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  10. How sweet. I have never seen such green frogs, but I really wouldn’t mind! 🙂

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  11. We had a frog that looked just like this living in a pipe on our verandah when we lived in Darwin which is in the tropics. It was so loud I had to turn the TV up really high on nights when it felt like croaking.

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  12. Oh, I am so jealous! I love frogs. We used to get them here but not recently. Probably a result of the ever increasing development of our neighbourhood. 😦

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  13. I love frogs, these look very handsome! 🙂

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  14. The cutest ever, love them, you are so lucky to have these in your garden!

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  15. Pingback: Living in France | a french garden

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