Yesterday, when my son, Travis, and I were doing a bit of gardening, I happened to notice an odd shaped leaf and as I continued to study it, it moved! If you didn’t read my earlier post about this, I hung an egg sac of praying mantises on my lilac tree back in the spring, without thinking much about it. In fact, I was pretty sure the weather was going to be too cold for them to hatch, but I was going away for a couple of weeks and I had no choice but to put them out, or let them hatch in my bathroom. That would have been an amusing email to read from my husband while I was away, but I thought better of it.
Anyway, the moving leaf turned out to be, as you have guessed, the very same praying mantis! Well, I assume so, unless there are praying mantises kicking around in our yard from some other source! We saw two of them, about 4-5 inches long, one with a brownish back and one completely green. From Travis’s later googling, we gathered that the brownish one was the male, the green one the female. Perhaps by now the male has been eaten by the female, since that’s what they do after mating. Probably they need the added nourishment to feed their young. Very sensible, I call it!
One of my biggest fans, Bob S. saw my Facebook wall post about the praying mantis and helpfully posted the picture below of what p.m.’s are capable of. It made me a little less excited about having them as residents, and I am relieved- for the first time- that hummingbirds stay away from my garden in droves. I imagine the cardinals and sparrows are safe.
Finding the praying mantises was the highlight of our gardening day, but we also managed to get a few chores done: cleaning up the diseased chestnut and rose leaves, emptying the compost bin (got three good-sized bags of lovely looking stuff!), cutting off the dead stalks of the echinacea and obedient plants, etc. It was an absolutely perfect fall day for working in the garden. Warm/cool and sunny. With the fall flowers still going strong and even the containers looking good, the Tranquil Garden was the place to be.