Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A case of mistaken identity

After posting the photos of what I believed to be "banana spiders", I found out that I had been misinformed as to their identity.Although the webs around the pond may appear somewhat "scary", the spiders are actually considered "beneficial" to gardeners.
Looking from the back porch towards the pond, it looks like someone has hung ropes and netting from the holly trees to the iris.

On closer look, (remember to click on the photos to enlarge), how many spiders do you see?
Look one more time, this time look for the zig zag, the "scribble", the "writing".
These spiders are not banana spiders. They are "scribblers" or "writing spiders", official name is Argiope aurantia - Black and yellow argiope.
The scribble is so obvious and the spider appears so ominous.
This photo and the next are to give you some perspective as to the size of these beauties.
Her abdomen is the size of the top of my thumb! Now that I know that these spiders are "beneficial", I appreciate them even more than I did before. However, I still don't want to have one crawling on me...
I promise some flower pictures in my next post.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Of Webs and Wings in the Garden

With the heat index today, it is about 105 degrees. Too hot to enjoy the garden. However, I took a stroll around the porch and in the shade around the house. First, I met a very friendly moth. (Remember to click on the photos to see the larger image.)
Then, I gazed over the porch into the knockout roses and saw...

Yes, another banana spider. I saw the zig zag web before I realized she was there.

I was weeding, a couple of days ago, and I know this spider was not in this location.

I don't like to wear gloves when I work in the garden as I find it difficult to pull up the roots of the weeds. However, I seem to have an allergy to one of the plants and my arms breakout in a very nasty, itchy rash and my eyes get swollen every time I work outside. Now that the spiders have taken over, I don't think I'll be putting my hands anywhere without really looking.

This butterfly paused just long enough for me to take this photo

and this one.

The dragonflies were resting on the sago palms.
One of them landed on my hand, but, the photo didn't come out the way I had hoped.
It seemed like this dragonfly was staring at me, but, with their compound eyes, who knows what he/she was really looking at.

I was enjoying their company when I realized there was another "guest" in our midst.

The dragonflies suddenly took flight and I saw the anole (lizard).
It wasn't a very large one, but, I'm sure it would have enjoyed a dragonfly snack.

The echinacea and bee balm need to be trimmed back and I was deciding what needed to be dead-headed I saw another banana spider!

"Enough spiders", I said to myself, and retreated to the porch where I found another lonely soul enjoying the cool comfort.
Yes, it was hanging upside down from the wall. Maybe it was cooler that way!
Thanks for visiting the Americus Garden Inn. Come back soon.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Butterflies, spiders and kitty cats

The web between the hollies by the pond is so intricate and intriguing, don't you think?
I think I am becoming obsessed with the spiders. Remember to click the photos for a better look. When I was a child, our family would go to Montauk Point and whenever we used the public facilities there were always spiders that scared me. So, I just like to keep an eye on them so I know where they are...
See the banana spider in the middle of the iris? The red rocket crepe myrtles against the backdrop of the D.D.Blanchard magnolias is so beautiful.
Squeaky is taking a break from the heat.

Looks like Rufus took Squeaky's spot on the step.

In the sago palms, we found a wasp nest and the web below.

The purple butterfly bushes have these smaller spikes.

Whereas the pink butterfly bushes have a much larger bloom with a very sweet, candy-like scent.

There were a couple of beautiful butterflies enjoying the nectar of the butterfly bushes.

I followed them around in hopes of getting the perfect photo.

These butterflies were very large and never stopped beating their wings.

With the temperature in the shade at 94 degrees, there isn't much activity outside during the day. Hope you are enjoying your day wherever you might be.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Hot and Sticky in Americus

It has been ridiculously hot here and I have not been outside much. However, the cats brought us this beautiful dragonfly.The red rocket crepe myrtles are absolutely beautiful right now. Obviously, they like this weather.

There are several banana spiders that have taken residence around the pond. The next few photos are of the spiders and their webs. Can you find the spiders? Hint: they are yellow and black and they tend to be in the part of the web with the zigzag design...

Can you see the intricacy of this web and the spider within?

How about this one? Remember to click on the photos to enlarge!

A side view of one of the spider webs really shows how intricately they are designed and how large they are.
Several years ago, there was a banana spider in one of our trees with a web so large and strong that a bird got caught in the web. We will relocate these spiders when their webs get too large...

To finish for today, a few flower photos:
black-eyed susans near the parking area
and a couple of water lilies in bloom in the pond.
Since I started this post, it has begun to thunder outside. Hopefully, the rain will cool things off a little. Thanks for visiting.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

The First of July Hummingbird Tour of Americus Garden Inn

While waiting for our guests to arrive, I saw a hummingbird and grabbed the camera.I followed the hummingbird around the garden.
The hummingbird went from one bed of flowers to the next.

I followed and tried to get a good angle.

The hummingbird seemed to sample every type of flower in the garden.

But, every time I tried to take a picture, he had already moved on.

However, I didn't realize we had new buds on the saucer magnolia.

Or that the lythrum has really filled in beautifully.
The bed of stargazer lilies has exploded with blooms so fragrant you can enjoy them throughout the garden.
And, the crinum lilies continue to flourish in several beds scattered through the garden

Last, but not least, a single water lily is closing its petals for the evening.

Thanks for checking out the hummingbird tour. Hopefully, next time I'll actually get a picture of the hummingbird!