Ladew Topiary Gardens

Named One of the Top 5 Gardens
in North America

Picture of the vernal pool at Ladew Gardens

Vernal Pool

Picture of a salamanderIn winter or early spring, the depression before you fills with
snowmelt and rainwater to form a vernal (spring) pool. During
breeding season wood frogs, spring peepers, toads and salamanders
mate and lay eggs in pools like this one because they contain no fish,
which would eat eggs and young.

Male toads and frogs attract females by “calling”. Listen for the wood frog’s quack in March, the peeper’s single-note “peep” from March through June,
and the American toad’s prolonged high trills from April through May.
Salamanders are silent; females may find males by detecting the chemicals
they secrete called pheromones.

Frog and toad eggs hatch into tadpoles; salamander eggs hatch into larvae. All metamorphose into adult form before leaving the pool. Even in the water they are not totally safe from raiding raccoons, opossums and some birds. Occasionally, the young even eat each other! Check the damp mud around the pool for signs of last night’s visitors.


View a map of the Nature Walk