by Diana Studer
- gardening for biodiversity
There are two forms of wildlife that make me shriek out loud. I have a totally irrational horror of grasshoppers, locusts. I will cross the road to avoid one. They don't bite. They don't hurt. But what if it would jump ON me.
The second would be these rain spiders INside. I am OK if they are outside. We had one on the sliding glass patio doors. High up, towards the centre, near the opening. That evening I slid the doors open to tell M'sieur Chocolat the kitchen is about to close - Final Orders?! And something, large, walked very delicately, across my forehead. Well, my fringe, over my hair. As I drew breath to scream, I realised it was 'just' that rain spider. Disturbed in her evening hunting, by me, opening the door.
|Rain spider from above|
|Rain spider from below thru the rain spattered window|
With the legs folded up, this spider is about the size of a child's fist. With eight legs spread wide, it is about the same size as my hand, with five fingers spread wide. So they are quite disconcerting, when you suddenly notice this dark shape. Especially if it is moving. Fast.
|Rain spider, missing a leg?|
'Nocturnal, wandering hunters that live in vegetation but often come indoors to hunt insects attracted to lights.' from Spiderwatch in Southern Africa, by Astri and John Leroy. 'Rain' spiders, because they don't like to get wet, understandably, and so they shelter in our house! More info at Biodiversityexplorer - 'for people the venom is no worse than a bee sting'. Palystes sp.
|Spider catcher with dead volunteer|
We often encourage our bio to be diverse back into the garden, not the house. Today a pair of doves, yesterday a dragonfly. Spiders we harvest with the Ungardener's spider catcher. A clear plastic cup and something flat to slide underneath.
|Paradise and Roses in January 2008|
|Paradise and Roses in January 2010|
|Paradise and Roses in 2014|
In January 2008 I caught this lovely view of the pink roses - Spring Promise - with glaucous blue foliage. Two years later the little tree - Dais cotonifolia had grown. And there are the promised pink pompoms for Christmas. It is a thirsty little tree, but it is in the rose garden, and gets watered each week. The wildeals - Artemisia afra, which smells delicious, like liquorice, has grown into a huge shrub. Melianthus major, after I read of it being cut back by frost each year in the North, has also been pruned hard. Just the little, younger branches left. And behind that Dusty Miller hedge, yes there are still rose bushes! We, the roses and I, are waiting for rain, and the autumn flush. In 2014 from the verandah we see ... (that plum tree has died and has long since been replaced by) a camphor bush.
|Autumn sunset on fire|
Autumn sky blazing in the fire of a sunset.
Pictures by Diana and Jurg Studer of Elephant's Eye
(in Porterville, near Cape Town in South Africa)
(If you mouse over brown text, it turns shriek pink. Those are my links.
To read or leave comments, either click the word Comments below,
or click this post's title)