Spiders. There are all sorts: web
spinners, creepy black-widow shaped spiders, stocky hunting spiders,
and the ones that build thick webs with a tunnel into their personal
spider lair. In rescuing spiders from the house, never stick multiple
spiders in the same jar. They kill each other (as I found out). I've
heard of almost-tame spiders, but I've never really wanted one myself.
Anyway, if you find a spider that's built a web, it's fun (perhaps
cruel?) to find a small insect and try to get it stuck in the web (I
like to do this with insects I dislike, the ones that eat my plants,
which I would kill by other means anyway). Webs are fragile, though,
so a large rambunction insect (most ants, for example, or relatively
large moths) will wreck the web and escape; tiny bugs like aphids,
however, are difficult to adhere to the web. (Last spider-feeding I
did was helping a green bottle fly (housefly) get tangled in a small
spider's web in the kitchen - I felt guilty afterward.)
Maple trees adventures. Well, saplings.
I had this crazy notion I'd bonsai some maples, even though I know
very little about bonsai techniques, and I'm too lazy to do it right
anyway. As a kid (long time ago), I had a bunch of little saplings.
One of them was a mutant: instead of two "first" leaves, it had three!
I was excited about this mutant. One day, the seedlings started to
die. I discovered little white wormlike larvae burrowed into them and
all throughout the soil: fungus gnat larvae. My precious
mutant maple tree was among the victims. Ugh! I've hated fungus
gnats ever since. In another maple sapling tale, I had a nice little
sapling growing in the sandbox (it was planted 1 inch from another
sapling I planted, which tells you how little I knew about gardening
as a small kid). Anyway, one of the main branches got broken and was
attached only by a strip of bark. In desperation, I fitted it back
into place and taped it together. Hey presto, it stuck, it healed,
the trees grew rapidly, and eventually my parents had to kill the 5-ft
trees so they wouldn't become a nuisance. But I've remembered the
trick with the tape splint, and I've used it on other woody-stemmed
plants to save broken branches.
Garden Scents to Remember