Dear Readers, there is always drama going on in the garden. Sometimes it’s spectacular, as when the heron visited a few years ago, or when the sparrowhawk wreaks mayhem with the woodpigeons. But normally it’s on a tiny scale, and I have to stand still and ‘get my eye in’ to notice it. Take this spider lurking on the hemp agrimony, for example. It looks like a blob of Tippex, but it has pale green markings on its abdomen and thorax – it’s on the right of the plant, towards the top. If you look closely, you’ll see that it has its ‘arms’ wide open, as if hoping to embrace an old friend. Well, clearly what it’s actually after is a tasty meal, because I only noticed it when it got very excited and moved after a honeybee landed. Oh the suspense!
Fortunately for the bee, it never got quite close enough for the spider to pounce, and so it made its getaway unmolested. The little moth on the left-hand side is a mint moth, also known as purple-and-gold, which is probably having a break from all the water mint that has taken over my pond this year. It shouldn’t be too relaxed, though – the spider will happily chomp a moth if one comes within reach. I think I now understand why I found a dead and desiccated brimstone moth tucked into one of the hemp agrimony flowers last week.
I’m pretty sure that this is the Common Candy-Striped Spider (Enoplognatha ovata), as a very similar spider was identified in the garden a few weeks ago. Why candy-striped when it’s clearly mostly white and green? Well, there are three colour forms, with varying degrees of pink stripy-ness. I was lucky enough to spot this one, which illustrates the point rather better.
What fine spiders these are! Apparently the females have a bluish egg sac, which they hide away in a rolled leaf. I shall have to have another look. The garden is always full of surprises.