I HAVE grown some pumpkins this year. I planted two seeds early in the spring, although I can’t remember exactly when.

They shot up quickly and took me by surprise.

I potted them on and put them in the cold frame, then planted them out in a sunny spot in the vegetable garden, and then forgot about them.

But I had to take notice of them in the summer months because they spread into our potato plants and into our leeks.

Pumpkins were sprouting everywhere like triffids. I cut them back.

Three pumpkins seemed to blow up overnight and change from green to orange.

Now I am telling you all this, not because this is a gardening column or because I am just showing off, but because there was a surprise under one pumpkin.

You see, as the pumpkins grow and swell they get so heavy that they compress the soil underneath and soil settles around them.

Then one day when I gently rolled one of the pumpkins I saw a toad.

He bolted back as soon as daylight penetrated his under-soil cavern, but I could see that he had excavated a little tunnel where he could escape in case of danger.

The pumpkin had kept him safe and cool all summer.

Here was our toad in a hole!

He had a food supply of worms and slugs, which also liked living in his cool, dark space.

Eventually, the toad got used to me rolling the pumpkin aside a little and didn’t always hide away immediately. I was able to see his dark brown, warty skin before he slowly walked back down his hole.

And now here I am spoiling all that.

I could be demolishing Toad Hall.

But the pumpkins must be picked as they will rot as soon as there is a frost.

They need to be dried in the sun and then stored.

And I have another surprise because there is a fourth pumpkin hidden under the leaves.

I thought that I had cut off all late-comers but no, here was one that had sneaked in.

It is still mostly green because it came at the last minute and has run out of time (I know the feeling).

And the cold nights are upon us.

Toads will be hibernating soon – hiding in leaves or logs or holes. They will wait for spring.

I can remember once seeing our goldfish all collected together in our ornamental pond.

They seemed to be eating something just under a leaf.

I investigated and found that they were eating strands of toad eggs.

Toads don’t lay eggs in spawn like frogs.

Toads’ eggs are in double rows protected by long strands of jelly.

Of course, we pulled out the toad eggs and put them in our wild pond, which does not have fish.

The eggs hatched out and, in the summer, we had little toads in the garden.

One grew and made its home under one of my pumpkins.

I have carefully put a log over the toad’s hole.

Knowing how jovial Toady is, I am sure he will not mind giving up his pumpkin roof in favour of a wooden one.

He may move on, of course; toads travel a great deal.

‘Here today – in next week tomorrow.’