Last year, there were lady bugs and praying mantises, but the real highlight was this beauty:
This is a Garden Spider. It will eat just about anything it can catch. Isn't it just gorgeous? Oh, it was a welcomed sight! I wouldn't let anyone go near it for fear it would get harmed. At one point, its web was damaged and it seemed to disappear for a few days, but then it was back in the exact same spot.
So, today, I was fumbling around in the garden enjoying the sight of my honey bees working some flowers when I saw an orb web and, in the middle, I found this:
Look at that perfect web! It sensed my presence - I can't imagine why as I was only lying on my back underneath it to get this photo! - and it moved to the nearby echinacea plant. Then, I snapped this photo:
It's a little hard to tell because it's tiny, tiny, tiny, but I wonder if it could be a baby Garden Spider. I hope so! It definitely has some interesting markings. This spider was right in the thick of the garden. His web was attached to the hardy geranium that sits right in front of my strawberries and the echinacea that is next to my corn/bean/potato bed. From a predator's perspective, ideally located.
I also spotted this recently:
Another tiny predator, the praying mantis. This guy was maybe an inch if I am being generous. The tomato plant it is on is a volunteer that can't be a foot tall if that gives you an idea. But, there he waits for someone to be his dinner. I love it.
Right next to the spider, I found this:
This is a ladybug hard at work. She is actually working on a leaf of the same echinacea plant that the spider attached his web to. It's a little out of focus because she was moving so fast up and down the leaf looking for a snack. I have seen these in multiple places this year so far. I hope that is a good sign!