Went out today to check on the garden. The gladiolas are starting to come out, and they’re a deep, brilliant scarlet. The dwarf Joe Pye Weed is working up a set of flower heads, the dahlias are growing vigorously, and all is right with the world.

Today I noticed the tiny little critters. A bee–black back end, yellow-orange middle, black head, like one of those cows stripes in thirds–is guzzling nectar from the Rose of Sharon. I deadheaded the heliotrope, and the tiny, tiny preying mantis sitting on the edge of the pot raised his arms threateningly. I decline his offer to arm wrestle for control of the heliotrope. He’s small enough that he could sit on my little fingernail and still have room to put his feet up. Some day he’ll get big enough to smite my buggy foes, and I am very glad to have him around. If he’s a juvenile, I hope he’s one of a brood.

A much larger beetle (by comparison–still only the size of the first joint of my pinkie) is munching holes in one of the Mystery Plants. (I gotta photograph this plant some time. It’s very vigorous. It hasn’t flowered yet. It may be a weed.) The beetle has the brilliant copper iridescence of a new penny. I know there are Bad Beetles in the world–many, many, MANY of them–but I don’t know what they look like. This beetle is beautiful, anyway, bad or not, a dark, glossy, rounded little fellow with that gorgeous copper sheen.

And now, to go annoy a bank teller by dumping the con cash box in her lap…

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