We had our roof replaced and the house sided last month. Looks pretty good now, like a brand new house outside. Too bad the inside does not match… I definitely need new floor treatments.
However, during the course of the work, the siding guys simply had to walk next to the house, which involved walking in the garden on the north side. This garden mostly consists of hostas, with a few hellebores and bleeding hearts thrown in. It started out as a real shade garden with several varieties of shade lovers in it, but over the years the less hardy plants died out.
Truth to tell, some of the original plantings, which I established with great forethought, turned out to be unwise choices. One of those, notably, was the lily of the valley, which was summarily evicted after I discovered it busily strangling the hostas nearest to it. The violets that I was so sure would look very nice along the house turned out to be a noxious weed and empire builders. I have been trying to eradicate them for some time, and if I live long enough I may eventually succeed.
But I digress. I decided that the north border needed to be revamped. To that end, I removed all the rocks I had placed next to the house, leveled out the area and edged it with some pound-in edging. The rocks got thrown into a pile over near the pergola. After the edging was in place, I lined the rock border right next to the house with black plastic. The idea is to have a strip of decorative rock between the house and the garden so that I do not have plants right up against the house, in the interest of proper air circulation.
It has taken me about a week to get ready to put my rocks back. These are mostly very cool rocks that I have brought home from various gravel bars. While I was doing the prep work, though, behind my back the rock pile became habitat. I was not particularly surprised to find pill bugs and centipedes living there when I started moving the pile. The big wolf spider also did not seem very out of place.
But this fellow surprised me!
He (or she — I’m not good at sexing amphibians), had taken up residence under the pile of rocks and wished sincerely that I had not moved them.
I did pick the little fellow up, because I certainly did not wish to hurt him during my job.
As you can see with the scale of my glove added, this is a very small being indeed. I think this may be the eft stage of the red spotted newt. This is very interesting, because for a long time I have been aware of having what I referred to as salamanders living in the pond. It turns out that the red spotted newt has an aquatic stage, and the guys in the pond are more than likely the red spotted newt in that aquatic stage. This little fellow has found its way out of the pond to transform to its terrestrial stage.
I took it over to the rain garden, which seemed like a good place to relocate it out of harms way.
Indeed, it found the location satisfactory, and crawled back in and under the rocks there.
I am happy to find yet another individual creature that appreciates the habitat we have created here at the Havens. It is really very exciting!