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Thursday, June 5, 2008

My Garden and a Spider

I worked in my garden yesterday morning, and I'm happy to say, I got a lot done. It was sunny and warm unlike Tuesday's mostly overcast sky. The rain that came down has filled up the rain barrels again, and this is what we're using to supplement the water for the garden.

The first thing I did though was hang my laundry to dry on the clothesline. That's when I noticed an itsy bitsy spider sitting on the line. Well, I had to go get my camera, didn't I? However, I had difficulty obtaining a sharp image of the tiny spider, plus the clothesline. I gave it up for the time being and finished hanging the laundry.

After lunch it clouded over, threatening to rain. I dashed out to bring in the sheets, and there was the spider still sitting on the line. She hadn't travelled very far in all those hours. I tried again to take her picture and managed to get two OK ones.

I like to identify all the bugs I photograph, or at least, try to, and here is where I went to my NEWLY purchased bug book, Garden Bugs of British Columbia, by Janice Elmhirst, Ken Fry and Doug Macaulay, 2008. It's a very nice book, and there on page 194 is my spider, aptly named the Crab Spider. What a neat spider - not harmful to humans. It doesn't spin webs to capture its prey, but is an "ambush spider". This spider will sit for hours, like mine did, until something comes by that it wants to eat and then, but maybe you don't want to know what happens then.

Just skip this part if you want. With "lightening speed," the crab spider will "lunge forth, grab its victim and give it a deadly venomous bite". The "insect's innards" become a "soupy liquid that is sucked out by the spider".

I called my spider a "she" because the female Goldenrod is white to yellow with 2 reddish streaks on the abdomen. The male is darker in shades of grey, brown and red.

The Goldenrod Crab Spider is also known as the Flower Spider because it usually sits (well-camouflaged) on flowers, waiting patiently for a meal, and this is another good reason to AVOID using insecticides.

(please click on picture to enlarge)
Crab Spider on clothesline

A corner of my garden - Iris in the background
alongside a Black Currant bush, and of course, the Poppies
which grow even on the outside of the raised beds (bottom right).

I began with a few poppies,
and every year I find a few more growing.

The wild Columbine have found a spot
in my garden as well. They are
all self seeded.

Rhubarb stalks

Garden Mint