Gardens and bugs and art, oh my!

The past month has been hot and dry, but full and busy. Garden season is going full-tilt here in the south, and while I don’t have a big vegetable garden, my little herb garden has been amazingly productive and alive with so many critters. It’s a hub of predator prey relationships. Sometimes I get so excited about what I find there, I forget to take photos to document it all, but sometimes I grab my cell phone and shoot a few pics. And sometimes I just draw or paint something that has inspired me. There is no shortage of inspiration in nature.

This tomato hornworm doesn’t stand a chance against the parasitic wasp that lays its eggs on the caterpillar. The eggs hatch and eat the caterpillar, then form cocoons on the outside of the caterpillar. You can see that they have left these cocoons through the little door caps, now open.
June beetles seemed to love hanging out on the stinging nettle. My one stinging nettle plant produced many jars full of dried nettle!
This green lynx spider was hanging out on a petunia, in a pot near my herbs. Later, I saw a large green lynx hiding on the peppermint leaves, waiting for its prey.
An aptly named grapevine beetle was munching on my dad’s grape vine in the side yard.
When we were picking blueberries at Minka Farm, the prominent moth caterpillars were everywhere.
Once the Echinacea began to bloom, the bees and butterflies couldn’t stay away.
Inspiration strikes…a watercolor doodle of the Echinacea…
Those bugs were just too cute to not record in my drawing journal…
Sometimes stones are as inspiring as the bugs…

The herb garden has been a wonder. In addition to all the insect life, I’ve gotten to know my plants in new ways. The sweet smell of chamomile when it’s dainty flowers are plucked. The sting of the nettles. The sticky resin of calendula. The earthy smell and taste of Motherwort. The spicy licorice aroma of anise hyssop.

Sweet chamomile…for calm and relaxation.
Anise hyssop
Calendula flower. The great healer.

Each day has brought a new harvest and now my shelves are filled with jars of sweet food and medicine to last for the coming year. It’s a gift of the sun and soil, seeds and pollinators. A gift that provides as much for my mental health as for my physical health because spending time with the plants and animals – even in such a small garden – is pure delight.

I hope you’ve found a way to spend time with plants and critters this summer – whether in a garden or a walk in the woods – and that you, too, find joy and health among them. Till next time, ya’ll…

Peace and gratitude.

Update: Reader Carolyn asked for a picture of the whole garden, so here it is… A couple of weeks ago…


  1. Oh so beautiful. Your words, your pics, your drawings. I am amazed that you get these pictures with a cell….iPhone? I’d love to see a picture of your herb garden as a whole garden. Thanks for sharing this.

  2. Hey, Deb. Do you have a macro attachment of some sort on your camera to get those extreme close-ups? How close do you have to get with your camera? Please share your technique!

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