My Garden




A Failure of Sorts

A Good Home-Run Swing

A Morning Stroll

A Small Stream

Applied Science


Chamber of Commerce

Close Observation of a Plant


Die, Bambi, Die!

Edith Schrantz, Pedant

Happy Birthday to You

Mission Accomplished

Pale Yellow Light

Recycle? Sure.

Sailing to Somewhere


The Death of Zane Grey


    My garden is small, less than a yard wide and not twenty feet long, beside the south wall of our suburban apartment.  I made it last year, digging it out of the stony, sandy earth, heaving the larger granite rocks up to make a border with the crabgrass and clover.  It’s not much to look at, but it has

olive green grasshoppers, sturdy and motionless

     against the dull, red brick;

tiny, lime green leafhoppers, some of which get

     eaten by marauding jumping spiders;

butterflies--monarchs, tiger swallowtails, admirals,

     and frittilaries--who return daily to feed at the

     purple flower cones of the buddleia, like

     regulars at a neighborhood bar;

large, light brown ants with very dark brown


ladybugs galore--twenty today, many of them mating

     hilariously amid the lace-like leaves of the


tiny brown ants fighting tinier black ants, their

     fierce and frantic war in a corner of the garden

     alongside the granite border, the dead and dying

     in heaps;

aphids everywhere, which the black ants guard

     fiercely from the ladybugs, who devour them

     when they can;

a large, black spider with a golden stripe down the

     middle of its abdomen, which grew fat from the

     grasshoppers my boys fed it, motionless in its

     web amid the chrysanthemum leaves;

inchworms hanging by silken filaments from the

     pepper plant, or dancing their slow, looping

     waltz amid the leaves;

a marvelously large, dark beetle plodding through

     the leaf clutter on the ground below the ripening

     tomatoes,its rhino-like horn a flagstaff;

wasps, carpenter bees, bumblebees, and tiny black

     bees whose name I’ve never known, all laden

     with sacs of pollen they gather from the dark

     pink and wine-colored cosmos flowers;

yellowish-green and black dotted beetles hidden on

     the fuzzy undersides of the cantaloupe leaves;

pairs of goldfinches feeding on the ripening seeds of

     the first cosmos flower heads;

soldier beetles crawling everywhere;

and lightning bugs, riding invisible waves in the

     warm evening air, saving it all for another day.


This year, amid the wide,and empty lawns, the dull wasteland of this suburban apartment complex, I’ve made a small garden.  And I’m glad.





Copyright © Mark McTague, 2008