Group Hug Anyone? Is it a Communal Bath? Or a Tribal Ritual?

Or just a friendly disagreement over dinner!
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Narceus americanus / annularis

The largest millipede in North America.

For more information via
Photograph by Carolyn Hietala


Looks like murder to me! - Florida Predatory Stink Bug - Euthyrhynchus floridanus

This Chesterfield County red and black insect is well armed and appears to have no fear. Read more here: (click on image to supersize)
Photograph by Carolyn Hietala


No garden could be considered complete without the addition of the stunning foliage and ease of the Coleus - Colors abound!

When your Coleus are in full bloom you will be certain to entice every bee and butterfly around to visit your flower garden.

Makes for a wonderful nostalgic fill-in plant too ;0)


Lounge Lizard - Male just hanging out in Chesterfield County, Virginia

Nonchalantly taking it easy, lounging around.....

.....while scoping out the scenery ;0)
Photo of Fence Lizard by Carolyn Hietala


Gorgeous display of Yellow Clematis - Golden blooms & silky seed heads yielding to Autumn

It is wonderful to find flowers that have an appealing beauty capable of transcending the seasons. Fluffy seed heads will adorn this plant throughout Fall and Winter reminding us of its golden yellow glory of Summer past and breathtaking displays of Summers to come. Life goes on at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden.
Photograph by Carolyn Hietala


Got Warts? Not like this little fellow. A reliable bug zapper - No electricity needed - Extremely quiet & gentle - So cute! - Yes it's a Toad Frog

What an adorable face! That "serious" look expresses the Toad's attitude when it comes to voraciously snatching its insect prey. (click on images to enlarge)

These friendly Toads are mostly active at night in my Chesterfield County yard. The hot dry weather conditions would quickly dry them up during the day so they hide in moist places until almost dark. But Toads still grab an insect passing by their hideaway..... without leaving the comfort of their bed! Now that's what I call room service.
This particular individual is quite large and has a red color along with some dark brown shades. I believe it may be a Bufo Americanus (Eastern American Toad) but refer to this Virginia Game & Wildlife website link to the Virginia Herpetological Society for more information about Virginia Toads:
Due to its lack of fear this one sat still so I was able to get many nice camera shots..... thank you! Very photogenic don't you think? Mother Nature's natural insecticide once again ;0)
Photographs by Carolyn Hietala


Leave my Fried Green Tomatoes alone! Are they eating yours too? Stink Bugs ;0(

You can run AND you can hide!
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These are certainly quick little guys as well as destructive. Just when the tomato ripening has slowed and thoughts are on having some fried green tomatoes..... they seem to read your mind and move right in with stink bug reinforcements!
Learn more about these little insect critters and other crop pests via the University of Kentucky Entomology Department:
Photos by Carolyn Hietala


Pleasurable times spent photographing at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden this weekend - Reflections & Flowers


Dasani Lemon & digital camera is all you may need.....

but taking along a friend doubles your pleasure as there is the Garden Cafe or Tea House in which to share quiet conversation.
Images taken in Richmond, Virginia by Carolyn Hietala


Male Argiope aurantia - Definitely does NOT believe in monogamy!

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This male adulterer has abandoned his wife.....
and is presently keeping house with the mistress!
Know anyone like that?
No wonder some female spiders eat their mates!

I planted a patch of Buckwheat this past Spring as forage for the Mallard Ducks - Now in the dawn of Autumn the blossoms still linger on.....

The flowers are now sparse and the stalks / foliage stunted from lack of rain..... but still are beautiful. The visiting bees this year were quite taken with the buckwheat for it blossomed all summer long. I enjoyed the patch so much I will replant next year with a mix of wildflowers.
Photo by Carolyn Hietala


Who needs a fly swatter or a bug zapper with this insect on the prowl! Robber Fly to the rescue.

Might be small but don't let looks fool you...... ferocious little critter! Check for more information:

copyrighted photograph by Carolyn Hietala

No longer pregnant & quite a bit thinner - Proud but tired - This mother Argiope aurantis will rest today!

Pregnant Mom ;0) Be sure to click on photos to enlarge.

This one and the next were taken last night.

Just exploring before the big event of laying those eggs.

Eggs already laid and she is putting the finishing touches on the egg case.

Look closely at the silk strands being placed on the case.

Smile - You're on Candid Camera!

She is working so quickly - Oh my kingdom for a video camera ;0(

More than one thread at a time.

Every nook & cranny gets special attention.

Since this egg case is so fresh it hasn't yet changed color to brown as shown here on What a large & lovely North American Garden Spider - The Black & Yellow Argiope.
Photographs by Carolyn Hietala


Portable housing for the Garden Spider - An antique tin funeral flower holder

Perhaps it's a fitting place to meet their demise for all the insects that the spider feasts on?

I'm not complaining as now I am able to photograph her more easily ;0) What a beautiful web.

This is a beautiful female Argiope aurantia. I hung her under the back porch light last night and she pigged out mostly on moths. She will spend the day placed safely behind deck furniture so she won't be easy prey for a hungry bird. Tonight she'll reside under the light once again to dine.

I see an alien with his hands placed on his hips glaring at me!
Ah ha.... Rorschach Inkblot Test! What do you see?

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Photos by Carolyn Hietala

Simply lovely! Found in Richmond, Virginia.
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