The first pieces of flair I added to the garden early last year was a collection of bird and bee houses that I affixed to the left front side of our ramshackle shed. Recently, high winds have been knocking them off and when putting them back up I happened to notice a few stray baby yellow garden spiders (Argiope aurantia) and a big egg case affixed to the back of one of the houses.
Since then I’ve been watching eagerly to see if there was any movement. And look what I discovered today…
…a massive cluster of brand new baby spiderlings! They are all stuck together in a tight ball with just a few that are beginning to break out of the pack. Before long I will be finding them all over the garden so I was glad to catch them while they are still so new.
Some organic gardeners are conflicted about inviting spiders into the garden. Yes, they are fantastic pest deterrents, unfortunately they kill rather indiscriminately, preying upon both insect pests as well as other beneficials. Still, I consider any help good help, and I believe that it all balances out in the end. They are always welcome in my garden and even inside our home. While I do not encourage spiders in the bathroom or bedroom (there are limits), we have welcomed another species in the kitchen since late last summer. His name is Spidey and he does a pretty good job keeping the fruit fly population under control.
When we first moved in, the yard was a bit of a wasteland with few inhabitants. It makes me so pleased to see how busy the garden is this year with so many pollinators, butterflies, birds, and other insects finding their way here to partake in the healthy habitat we are trying to create.
Of course, as I write this I can’t help but see the paradox in that statement as it applies to the unpleasant feelings I harbour towards some of the less helpful wildlife that have also found the garden appealing: namely the squirrel menace whose enthusiastically inflicted damage I spend hours attempting to undo or protect against over the course of the growing season.
Cue a rousing singalong to the Facts of Life theme song.