Sometimes conditions are just right.

There had been a quick run to the grocer’s that day. We are so lucky with our local supermarket. The produce is neatly stacked in an attractive arrangement, reflected by mirrors to help us to choose the very best head of cauliflower or the perfect pepper. Our very small town store is well stocked, clean and the staff friendly. We love going there.

Coming back home, we make the turn onto our street, passing good neighbor Mickey’s house and lovely garden, and approach our abode with Penn State flag flapping in the wind. We hit the automatic garage door opener remote located in a handy holder on the ceiling of the car between the front seats, always at exactly the same location each time, when we get to the next door neighbor’s driveway, that will allow the door to be fully open as we pull the gas guzzler into the bay. But as we pass by, it is noticed that there is something in the barberry bushes that is out of place. The brakes are applied for a closer inspection. Has some litter floated through the air and caught on the thorny bushes? It almost appears to be a cottony substance. After putting away the comestibles, we go outside to check it out. Then we go right back in the house for the camera.

It is early in the morning, and foggy. The weather forecast was predicting torrential rains to come around noon or before so we were one of the first customers at the grocery when it opened, not wanting to get drenched while loading our purchases into the rear of the SUV. It was so dark that the flash on the camera demanded to be used. Sometimes moisture, whether frozen or not will photograph better with the flash so a couple of shots were taken using it. This was not litter in the shrubbery, it was little spider web hammocks. They were all over. They were perfectly constructed, attached to the dense branches of the Berberis thunbergii ‘Rose Glow’, glistening with liquid fog. They were spell binding.

We looked around for more. So intricate and tightly woven, they did not have the same look as the lacy loose webbing usually seen on foggy mornings.

They were everywhere. We were mesmerized by them, for they seemed to glow in the dark, otherworldly.

These creatures, so many of them, have been very busy at the looms. Draperies of such exquisite threads, strong yet so thin decorated every shrub. The Fairegarden was awash in these linens.

They were the same and yet each was different, a different signature weave, like a fingerprint for humans. We went around to the back gardens to see if the same cottony masses were there. They were.

Each strand had caught the heavy moisture laden air, little bubbles suspended in time and space. Who were the artisans that created these masterpieces?

There has been only one type of arachnid seen this year. It is not known if this is the thread weaver or if it was another. We do know that as gardening chores are slowly being eased back into the daily routine, there has been the slightest movement felt across our face, like a stray hair. We try to brush it away, but with mud packed gloved hands, it is not always a success. Later in the evening, as we peer into the mirror as the bedtime tooth brushing ritual is carried out, one more little red mark is seen at the site of the tiptoeing, a bite on the cheek, the third such mark this month. Is someone hitchhiking a ride on my hair and taking revenge as we try to give them the brush off? It is a good thing we are not afraid of spiders, snakes, yes, spiders, no. But really, biting is totally uncalled for, even if you do add the most delightful accoutrements to the plants growing here.

Added: It has been determined that the biter(s) are some kind of vampire gnats, but the story flows better with the thought of it being the spider. Poetic license and all that jazz. ~The Editor


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38 Responses to Weavings

  1. gittan says:

    They really looks amazing! Mother nature surely have a lot of nice things to show if we just open our eyes to see. Have a nice weekend and don’t forget Earth Hour / kram gittan

    Thanks Gittan. At first I was sure it was some kind of litter, cotton bits of some kind that had caught in the bushes, it was that white. The photo does not capture the look, it was so dark early in the morning. I do hope your weekend is grand and you can get out in the garden to enjoy those bulbs! πŸ™‚

  2. Frances, much as the webs are beautiful, and I know spiders are very helpful in the garden, I still would rather see a snake than a spider.

    Thanks Deborah. I respect your fears, and share them, but only for the very large spiders, like tarantulas. But the webs draw me like a magnet. πŸ™‚

  3. Frances, I too admire the weaving skills of spiders but cannot come to like the weavers! Your photo seems to be one that is more wolf like and hunts his prey, but I could not say for certain. I do not mind friendly garden snakes but spiders (with exception to Grandaddy Longlegs) freak me out! The larger and darker they are the deeper my fear! Lovely photos of their shrub hangings!

    Thanks Carol. I am surprised by the comments so far about a great fear of spiders. They are so little compared to snakes. The very large spiders here, we keep at a respectful distance. We had to move a huge egg case, with mother attached that was by the doorway a couple of years ago. A very long stick was used. I will look for the link to the post. Ah, here it is:

    Eerie Times


    Beware The Zinnias

    I hope this is not too scary for anyone. It seems I have an obsession with spider webs. πŸ™‚

  4. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    Do you reckon that the fairies are doing their spring cleaning? I don’t think the wolf spider does that type of web. Beautiful post with most exquisite photos. It just goes to show that the garden isn’t standing still while we rest.

    I just read Gail’s post about your trip. I am so excited for you.

    Thanks Lisa, it is a nice thought to think of fairies doing the weaving, or maybe touching the nets with their wands to make them appear to humans. There must be a whole lot of this type of spider, whatever it is, the entire garden was covered in these webbings, front and back gardens. As for the trip, it is just far enough in the future for me to not quite be freaking out about the travel. Must remain focused on the destination and how fun it will be. πŸ™‚

  5. Hi Frances – looks like the spider fairies were hard at work while the world slept. hopefully the rain didn’t wash ALL of them away. Must agree that I would rather see a SMALL snake than a BIG spider.

    Thanks Heather, yes, it is the work of spider fairies, how could I not see that? lol I believe that they are always there, but are only visible to humans on rare occasions. No snakes for me, thank you, whatever the size. πŸ™‚

  6. gardeningasylum says:

    Your photographs showcase beautifully all the magical art that’s being made in our own back yards – it’s there for us if we will only see!

    Thanks so much, Cyndy. I am glad to hear that you find the webs fascinating as well. πŸ™‚

  7. Barbara H. says:

    I walked with friends yesterday in the woods and we saw these amazing sights, too. Many were two layers with a layer of space in the middle where the spider was waiting. There was a large multi level clustering along the driveway in the tall grasses. I thought of aliens resting their ships! Totally amazing.

    That sounds wonderful, Barbara. Thanks for sharing your alien adventure! The numbers of webs was astounding, and my photos do not convey how bright white they were. It was truly a magical morning. πŸ™‚

  8. Darla says:

    These are some pieces of art here…busy little fellows around your gardens. So glad your bite was not spider induced though…I read on Gail’s blog that Thelma and Louise will soon be making a trip together….sounds like a blast!

    Thanks Darla. We are glad it was not spider bites too, but really didn’t know what was getting us, darn gnats, another bite just yesterday, on the face of course. Ha about T and L, it sounds as though you have seen either Gail or I behind the wheel of a vehicle. Look out world! We are not planning on driving in England, they drive on the wrong side of the road and we would for sure have an accident while trying to correct that. πŸ™‚

  9. Gail says:

    Frances, We are lucky that you are a noticing kind of person, because we get to see dew covered spiderwebs and hear great tales (snake)…Wonderful photos! I think the spider in question is a wolf spider, not the orb weaver with the pretty yellow markings. gail ps I stained a window planter and Mr I neglected to tell me I had paint on my cheek all day!

    Thanks Gail. You would have noticed these webs everywhere, my photos are not portraying how white they were. I honestly thought there were cotton balls on the shrubs, escaped from the garbage trucks or something, and was actually annoyed about it until seeing what they were. HA, good ole Mr I, maybe he didn’t notice it. πŸ™‚

  10. nancybond says:

    The webs are beautiful, so intricate. Lovely the way the drops of moisture form like tiny crystals. But, eeewww. I’m so afraid of spiders, to the point where I’m sure it’s a phobia, not just a “fear”. I’ll have to study your pictures for some “desensitization”. πŸ˜‰

    Thanks so much, Nancy. I am sorry about your phobia, that is exactly how I feel about snakes. I don’t even like to see a photo of one, video or TV makes me run into another room until it is over. I appreciate your even looking at this post, you are so brave! πŸ™‚

  11. Spider webs are always so neat, until run run through one! Those vampire gnats are quite annoying!

    Thanks, Dave. Running through those webs is annoying, but probably more so for the spiders, messing up their hard work. We thought maybe with the cold winter that the insects that bite and eat plants would not be as plentiful. It is frustrating to already get bit this early in the season. I might have to wear my mosquito jacket, there have been bites every single day it is sunny and I am out.

  12. Wow. Are you sure some fairy designer isn’t creating sculptures for the opening of a new art display at Faire Garden, Frances? Those are lovely but somehow…disturbing. I almost expected Shelob to make an appearance, but was rather relieved by the fairly innocuous looking spider whose photo you snapped.
    Yay for good grocery stores! That’s an attractive produce department, even for very early spring. Makes me want a salad for breakfast.

    Thanks Jodi. The web hammocks were so numerous, it was hard to believe they were there, and it was quite cold too. No Shelobs here, thank goodness, I would even be afraid of one such as that. Our town is so very small, we are lucky with our beloved grocery. πŸ™‚

  13. Rose says:

    These are such beautiful works of art, Frances; I can’t help but think the resident fairies may have had a hand in helping the arachnids at Fairegarden. I’m glad those weren’t spider bites you experienced, but vampire gnats sound pretty scary. Like you, I don’t mind spiders at all, but snakes are another story–I would have been climbing one of your trellises to get out of the way of one of those!

    Ah Rose, finally another snake fearer, spider friend! lol It seems we are in the minority though. The gnat bites are awful, why do they have to bite me on the face? I guess that is the only part not covered up. I need a hat with netting, very fine netting though, these guys are so small, and why are they trying to eat me? Thanks for appeciating the webs, the photos do not begin to do them justice. πŸ™‚

  14. keewee says:

    The spider webs do look lovely when they catch moisture and the light hits them, just at the right angle.

    Thanks Keewee, glad you enjoyed the webs. It was amazing that morning. πŸ™‚

  15. Jenny B says:

    So beautiful. I think the spiders have been cavorting with the fairies, spurred on by their recent house cleaning activities. Celebrations all over Fairegarden announcing the coming of Spring, lacy decor festoon the garden.

    Thanks Jenny. It did seem that there was something supernatural about the webs, there were so many of them and they simply glowed. πŸ™‚

  16. joey says:

    Totally amazing, Frances, and thanks for sharing. The webs are fascinating and though I’m not too crazy ’bout spiders, I do like Charlotte πŸ™‚

    Ah, dear Joey, may all the spiders be as kindly as Charlotte. All the webs are beautiful though, even if some spiders cannot spell out words. πŸ™‚

  17. Sweet Bay says:

    Frances, those webs are beautiful and truly magic-looking.

    Thanks Sweet Bay, glad you enjoyed them. It was amazing. The photos don’t begin to show how it really looked.

  18. Hi Frances, Wow what wonderful webbing! I have a lot of spiders, but I never find any webs. HUH?!

    Thanks Monica. It seems that fog is necessary for the webs to show up. I guess they are always there, we just can’t see them.

  19. RainGardener says:

    How lovely and magical they look. Busy little creatures aren’t they to do so much in a short time. Some of the pictures look like bits of snow tucked into the branches.
    Funny you should mention these as I’ve been looking for some good shots of webs myself.
    My daughter drug me outside very early a couple of years ago (freezing too) and she had spotted some really great webs. We took pictures and they were looser ones with water drops that looked like pearls strung on a necklace. Very beautiful. I’ve look for good pics of them ever since and nada. I even took off early about a month ago in search of some. Still not the beauties we found that one morning.

    Thanks RG. Every once in a while the webs appear, usually with a foggy morning, more so if the sun happens to come out. But not every time, and not in the same spots either. It is just luck to catch them and then hope the camera agrees with you. It was so dark that morning, or the photos would have been better, low light is not good, and I only know how to do it on auto. I hope you are able to find some webs soon. πŸ™‚

  20. tina says:

    Very cute. You have such a way with storytelling that I was right there. Good thing whatever bit you is not poison!

  21. Lona says:

    Hi Frances. What beautiful pictures. It is fascinating to see the designs that a spider makes. They are so pretty with the damp drops on them which makes the designs show off so nicely.
    Have a wonderful weekend.

  22. Beautiful! You’ve captured the webs so well.

  23. Town Mouse says:

    What fun! I’ve found those little webs hard to photograph, thanks for doing it for me.

  24. Les says:

    What an industrious little huntress, and isn’t she up early this spring?

  25. Great images Frances.

    How can you be so relaxed about spiders? i’m as fearful of them as you are snakes. My sister inlaw is over from Oz and goodness knows she has some spider stories.

    Thanks Rob. I don’t know why the spiders are not frightening to me, but the snakes more than make up for it.

  26. kimberly says:

    Frances, what an amazing web! It looks like a hammock to me. I would be caught in the web, without a doubt!!

  27. Charlotte says:

    Yet more wonderful pictures Frances! It seems as though spring is finally here, so hope I can make it up to Tennessee soon!

  28. easygardener says:

    The webs are beautiful – works of art. I am glad to see a thorough investigation has exonerated the spiders of any crime!

  29. gasgirl says:

    The photogrpahy is amazing. Brings spiders into a different light, they look misunderstood and beautiful, and then I remember the scarey nursery rhymes. Oh dear.

  30. I have never seen so many spider webs in a garden! I welcome spiders, and also snakes, to my garden. They are part of a good ecology. Inside my house is another matter!

  31. Lola says:

    Those puffs of white sure are pretty with dew on them. I’ve seen them many times. I too at first thought they were cotton.
    So glad your biter wasn’t a spider. They are no fun as I know first hand. Gnats, they are a different thing altogether. They would eat me up when gardening when in N.C. Those oak leaves didn’t help.

  32. I love that you took the time to admire the artwork of the spiders instead of taking their webs down as many would have done. Vampire gnats sound awful…I hope they leave you alone in the future πŸ˜‰

  33. Anna says:

    Was enjoying your post until the close up photo of the weaver Frances πŸ™‚ Fascinated by the veg display on the shelves which is so neat and tidy. Are those yellow courgettes next to the carrots? If so you are most lucky – not an item that appears in UK shops.

    Thanks, Anna. Yes, those are yellow squash, a common veggie here. Sorry to hear they are not offered across the pond. They are very easy to grow yourself, if seeds are available.

  34. Layanee says:

    I have seen webs like these on occasion and in similar patterns but I have never seen their creator. Ethereal aren’t they? Great shots.

  35. Sunny says:

    These photos are fantastic!

  36. Grace says:

    Hi Frances~~ Well written. Isn’t it interesting the twists and turns Nature takes? These types of webbings are evident here in the fall when the hobos are their most dastardly. Unlike your pretties ours are crafted with a funnel hole in the center which makes the whole thing look ominous, like an impending trip down the [albeit miniature] rabbit hole.

    As you were writing about the garage door opener and all, I wondered if you were going to tell your readers that you’d been robbed while grocery shopping. I’m glad this was not the case.

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