POOP, poop!’ Imagine the scene, as the eccentric, narcissistic Mr Toad comes careering around the corner dressed in gaudy Harris tweed, behind the wheel of his bright-red sports car. The toad portrayed in Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows is a far cry from the real Mr Bufo bufo, the common toad, although it is ironic that Mr Toad’s reckless addiction to automobiles is one of the creatures’ main perils.
Far from gaudy in real life, this mottled brown amphibian waddles about on short, stout legs—warts and all—unlike the more athletic, sleek frog, which propels itself by hopping and the occasional leap. A toad has semi-webbed feet and long toes, whereas his hopping mate’s feet are fully webbed.
Intriguingly, toads spend most of their lives out of water, hiding during the day
Mr and Mrs Toad are a true gardener’s friend, fond as they are of predating on a host of wee beasties that feast on cherished plants. They are, therefore, to be welcomed and encouraged, with the overuse of pesticides carefully considered.
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Oh, deer–are they out of control?
With most of our six deer species increasing in range and numbers, Joe Gibbs considers what can be done to bring populations back to more manageable levels
Thoroughly modern mansions
In the 1930s, COUNTRY LIFE found one of these four Home Counties beauties ‘stimulating’ (although Betjeman wasn’t keen); another has water canons and ‘intelligent’ technology
Circumstances have forced the Masterpiece fair online, from which we display a small sample from the 1,000 or so items on offer
In a bit of a bind
Although treasured by children for the pop of those white trumpet flowers, bindweeds are no friend to gardeners, says Ian Morton
There's no place like home
Picture-perfect cottages in the Home Counties
As others see us
Watercolour paintings served as an important visual record of Victoria and Albert’s lives–both of whom were keen and knowledgeable collectors– as well as a comfort in times of sorrow, says Huon Mallalieu
Rosa ‘Gertrude Jekyll'
BRITAIN GREATEST MASTERPIECES
Reaching towards the horizon
The inspiration for the garden of The Manor, Priors Marston, Warwickshire, was to create a landscape to meander through, with talking points along the way, reveals Tiffany Daneff
All ages of England
Elton Hall, Huntingdonshire, part II The seat of Sir William and Lady Proby In the second of two articles on this remarkable country house, John Goodall looks at the history and changing face of the buildings from the Middle Ages to the 19th century
An English classic
The recent auction of John Evetts’s Wormington Grange collection is the perfect excuse to revisit the unostentatiously beautiful furniture of Georgian great Gillows, says Rufus Bird