Sharing Our Gardens

I got stung by a wasp today. It was the first time that has happened in many a year. One landed on my wrist as I came outdoors with the camera. I felt a slight pain, at first, then it intensified.

But I needed to snap a photo of one of the baby daylilies in bloom and it looked like it might start raining again any second so I went ahead to the spot and clicked before going inside for a quick ice compress of a bag of frozen peas. I learned some time ago that ice on a sting of any kind, immediately applied, will lessen the swelling, redness and pain.

This happenstance got me to thinking about how this garden that we created, and work many hours per week to maintain and improve is not just for human enjoyment.

There is no spraying of pesticides here, but there is the occasional flicking off of some insects and hand squishing of others. When we think to do so.

There are squirrels and others, who will remain unnamed, Kitty, who love nothing better than digging in newly cultivated earth. Heartbreak after heartbreak of newly sown seeds ruined by this sort of behavior has led to draconian measures, like hardware cloth, chicken wire and steel reinforcing cages.

There are other creatures whom we dote upon, making the best possible accommodations available to them.

They are beautiful and/or useful in the garden, providing enjoyment and helping to keep the destructive population under control.

We coexist, peacefully.

I seldom even notice the buzzing of the various pollinators. They are everywhere and rarely do they bother me in any way.

It was an odd set of circumstances that caused the wasp sting, and I bear no grudge.

It must have felt threatened when I moved my hand, for I have had them land on me before to get a little drink or just take a rest. I should have been very still instead of charging ahead to capture that blooming daylily. It was my fault.

Gardens are for sharing. One never knows who else might be making the Fairegarden their home.


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16 Responses to Sharing Our Gardens

  1. We are never alone in the garden. We can learn a lesson from others that inhabit the little plot of earth that we cultivate.

    You are so right, Lisa. There are lessons for us all that can be gleaned from the critters.

  2. I try to grow organically, but what ever that red and black bug is (photo 9) it wanted to destroy my entire garden. It ate and destroyed my rather large purple coneflower in less then 48 hours! Drastic measures had to be taken, and an organic insecticicle soap had to be used. My flowers are happier now and so am I. Do you know what kind of bug it is? I had never seen it before and no other gardener that I have shown it to can idenitfy it.
    Beautiful pictures as always.

    Hi Stacey, thanks. I am so sorry about your problem with that bug. We have lots of them and I have never seen any damage from those. I do not know their name. There are other similar colored bugs, the cucumber beetles and harlequin bugs that are very very destructive, especially the later.

  3. What a charming and thought producing post. One of the things that struck me is that, as wonderful as the human eye is all on its own, there is something extra powerful about it combined with a camera used by a talented photographer. Those images of our sometimes unnoticed garden companions are beautiful and delightful . And, ah ha, is the final photo a hint of how the fairy garden is coming along.

    Thanks Michaeale, you are always so sweet and do so appreciate you! The camera has much better vision than I do. Many times I don’t even see the insect until the photos are uploaded and it is such a pleasant surprise. The fairy garden is still very much a work in progress. I need to give it more of my attention this summer. The fairies might get fed up with the construction zone.

  4. Frances, got a big grin with you post this morning as I had just photographed a spider and her web in my garden after watering my new Sunset coneflower *blush*. My pot of parsley is really for the caterpillars more than me. Certain critters are not welcome but all the pollinators and birds give me such joy.

    Hi Georgia, thanks. How fun to capture the spider and web. Those always are so intricate and wonderful. The parsley and bronze fennel is planted for the catts, they are way easier to photograph than the butterflies, they stay still better.

  5. Diane says:

    Dear Frances,
    Good Morning, Diane again up in Vancouver, Canada. My very urban garden has a small family of raccoons and they seem to like sitting in my lupines. One friend said I should write a children’s book called”Who’s Been Sleeping in the Lupines?” A little annoying as they break the stems but everything else is fine so I just gather up the flowers and put them in a vase for someone. I always think that all these apartment buildings are trespassing on their space so I guess they have a right too. Do you think there are any fairies in a city garden?

    Dear Diane,
    Yes, I do. And that would be an adorable little book. Imagine the illustrations, fanciful little furry creatures, gorgeous flowers on tall spikes. And a fairy or two for good measure.

  6. Beautifully written Frances. I’m sorry you got stung. I occasionally get stung, but it’s usually because I’ve forgotten where a nest is on the house or like last year, on my chair. They rarely bother me. We originally make our gardens for ourselves and later we become stewards of the home for so many creatures.

    Thank you, Dee, I appreciate your kind words, even more so since you are such a good writer yourself. I do feel like the garden is more for the wildlife, all of it, than it is for me.

  7. gail says:

    So very true my friend and so beautifully said…xoxogail

    Thanks Gail. I appreciate you!

  8. What lens are you using to take these close up shots?

    I use a Canon Powershot A720IS, a point and shoot, on auto using the macro function, Jim.

  9. gittan says:

    What a wonderful post Frances! Kram gittan

    Hi Gittan, thanks my dear!
    Kram to you,

  10. spurge says:

    Happy coexisting Frances! Some visitors are a bit easier to get along with than others. I love that stick insect (?) in one of your pictures – he is so cool looking! I’ve never seen anything quite like him.

    Thanks Spurge. My belief is that we have to coexist on many levels. That stick insect is a juvenile praying mantis.

  11. indygardener says:

    I am certain that garden fairies are quite at home in your garden, Frances, the same as the insects and spiders are.

    Thanks Carol! I hope to make all creatures large and small welcome in my garden space. They all contribute in their special ways.

  12. Sorry you got stung. I had a sting from something that came in the house after dark. I was just going to catch it and take it outside…..whatever it was, it was mad, stung me. Had to have some meds to get the inflammation out.
    I like the idea of putting the hardware cloth on top of the seedlings. Not sure if it was bugs or bunnies, but something ate most all of my newly emerged seedlings from Fling seeds. 😦

    Hi Janet, thanks for the sympathy. You have mine for the lost seedlings. That is so aggravating. Sometimes it is the snails and slugs that get them. No wire protection can help against those slimeballs. Stung in the dark, how scary is that!

  13. Frances I love your wonderful thoughts about gardening for critters…I net my veg gardens but I grow common milkweed and herbs for butterflies….they can have it all…and I share my blooms with pollinators who have stung me on occasion when I intrude on their area…

    Hi Donna, thanks so much. My susceptible veggies are also netted, but there is plenty of food for all sorts of critters to feast upon. I am sorry the wasp felt to threatened as to need to sting me.

  14. Crystal says:

    I ventured out into the garden just after I had read your post, to find my alliums had been bent over and a lily stem broken off. At first I thought it was the work of a squirrel or perhaps a cat, but then a large wood pigeon flew out of the flower border. As I tried (in vain) to tidy up the alliums and put the broken lily stem into some water, I remembered your post. And I remembered also that I do indeed share the garden, albeit with a bunch of vandals, but I wouldn’t be without them.

    Hi Crystal, I am so sorry about your critter vandalism. Believe me, I feel your pain! All we can do is try to protect our plants from such attacks. We need to co-exist and I am glad you are willing to share, even if it means losses sometimes.

  15. Aaron Garden says:

    Brilliant photos!

    Feel like I should run out and get a Powershot 😉

    Not too much critter vandalism this year fortunately. Last year, a squirrel (or squirrels) kept snipping blooms off the sunflowers, munching them on the porch and then leaving half-eaten sunflower heads under bushes etc.

    I didn’t mind in the least. It was nice to see the squirrel getting so much enjoyment from the sunflowers and he/she left plenty of other blooms for the bees and finches.

    Now the deer that keeps scraping the bark off my maple and crape myrtle trees? That does get my blood boiling a bit!

    Thanks Aaron. I am happy that you are willing to share with the squirrels, but that bark damage to trees sounds unacceptable. We have rabbits that will do the same thing to young trees here, causing death to several dogwoods. Boo!

  16. chuck b. says:

    I love the bugs. But I can say that because I don’t have any trying to destroy my garden. That might change my feelings about some of them. Your swallowtail caterpillars are much farther along than mine are currently. In my garden they’re still small and black.

    Hi Chuck, thanks for stopping by. There are good bugs and bad bugs here, but I wouldn’t say any of them were destroying my garden. My eyes sort of glaze over any damage. The swallowtails are so wonderful, I would let them eat anything they wanted too.

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