John Auld

Saving Frogs


John talks about how his friend Lig (Ligida) would save frogs from the winter conditions of the fountain in the Italian garden. John and his friend Fred would help her with it as she developed various ways of saving the frogs. He describes her behaviour as something that “rubbed off” on them.
Interview by Anonymous, HIST*3560 student, University of Guelph.

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0:00 (Intro) This interview is with John Auld, a retired faculty member from the University of Guelph and now a volunteer gardener at the Guelph Arboretum.

0:14 His story Saving Frogs takes place in the Italian Gardens.

0:20And the frog story… we used to catch the frogs.

0:23 Did you tell me the story of the frogs?

0:25 Well, they’d…they’d end up here in the end of winter.

0:28 They pump this pond dry, right?

0:32 So the only pond, manmade pond that runs that ran year-round with the Japanese Garden.

0:41So we’d come here and we finally, you know, there’d been ice and then disappeared and then just from raindrops because they pump it dry.

0:49 But there was still water in the bottom and there would be frogs there.

0:53 So we’d catch them and then we take them over and put them in the Japanese Garden, which it was, you know, now, granted our gardener loves frogs and she tried to catch every everything she possibly could and put them in pails and moved them usually over to the, the, the natural pond, which is the beaver pond on goose trail or down to, near Zavitz, the Victoria Road pond.

1:19 Those are the two natural ponds in the, but the other 5 to 6 ponds, including the Reflecting Pond right out in front of her.

1:27 I came into the center and when that’d get filled.

1:30 She got 45 frogs in there.

1:32 One, of course, they had to pump that out there anyway.

1:36 So, and she had made this little raft that so the frogs could float on it and people, I guess, stole it or threw it away and then she made little steps up so they could even at this time of year.

1:48 So they, you know, get out because of the vertical sides the frogs couldn’t get out.

1:55 We’d go find a stick or something and throw it in there, on occasion when a frog went under.

2:03 And so they’d have something to sit on, anyway.

2:07 She loved frogs and that rubbed off.

2:10 And my buddy Fred and I, we’d always take a check out here in the fall and see if the  frogs

2:16 Had migrated, which they did a rainy day and the frogs left this pond and went to that pond.

2:22 That’s true.

2:24 But I never had an experience with an Italian garden before until this.

2:28 And, English Gardens were more what I was used to and I love Japanese, the Japanese garden as well and that’s when they all grow on you.

2:37 You know, they all have something unique