This year the garden has brought me great joy. I love to putter out there (when it's not to blisteringly hot) and "zhooozh" the flowerbeds (okay, that's a technical term - I believe it was coined by Carson from Queer Eye).

In addition to enjoying plants, I also enjoy watching the birds and butterflies come and go in my garden. It's like my very own little Wild America.

I had a visitor in my garden this summer. I'm not normally a fan of spiders but this one was so intriguing I didn't automatically smoosh it and bring down its web with a broom.

I'd never seen anything like it before and some online investigation revealed it's a Golden Orb spider.

It was fascinating watching her (I presume it's a "her") build her web, which took up a corner of the patio, right outside my bedroom window. I was even able to overcome my fear of spiders to get a close up pic (see below)

I looked on her as my "guard spider" and guard she did, even going so far as to protect my bedroom window from invading grasshoppers. (see below)

Unfortunately, her days with me were numbered. I came home from work one day to see a Terminix flag in the front garden, indicating they had been by as they do each quarter. Sure enough, when I stepped out on the patio, the spider and her web were gone.

Still, that does mean that I can sit out on my patio now without worrying if a spider will come spinning down beside me.

But even though "Charlotte" is no longer here, there's plenty to keep me entertained, such as this busy bumble bee, collecting pollen in the Rose of Sharon.

And let's not forget the birds I have gone to great lengths to attract (and in spite of the fact that Merlin, the resident stray cat, likes to "hunt" every now and then). Right in the middle of the photo below, I believe I caught a hummingbird on film. (But it could be something else, I'm uploading this quite a bit later and forget now what I was photographing that day, although I do remember *trying* to photograph a hummingbird)

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