We’ve done it again! For the second year in a row, we managed to accidentally allow the bushes in our big wooden porch planters to die. Oh the shame.
Chalk it up to a miscommunication. Sherry thought I was watering them. I thought she was. Clara didn’t have a clue who was watering what (or what watering even is) and all the while Burger was “watering” plants in the back. By the time we realized our folly it was too late (although Sherry desperately dumped five cups of water a day on them for the last few weeks to no avail). So I’d say we’re equally to blame for our plants getting a bit on the crispy side. And we’re sad. But we had to fess up and keep it real, so there you have it. Picture us looking shamefaced at the ground and vowing to do better next time.
Since fall is upon us, we took a page from our own book and, like last year, picked up two yellow mums at Home Depot (for $18 total) to take their place. But there was a new element to deal with this year. In case you missed it in the first photo, let’s take a closer look (warning: there’s about to be a close up photo of a spider)…
…and, if you can stomach it, let’s go even closer (here it comes)…
There it was. Feel free to blame any nightmares you have tonight on us. Is that not the most scary, hermit-crab-looking spider you’ve ever seen? And are those long pointy legs not the most villainous limbs you’ve seen in a while? He’s practically making the skull and cross bone shape you see on poisonous bottles like arsenic. And because we weren’t about to hold up a dollar bill for scale, you can’t tell just how big he is. But if you scroll back to the picture above this one you’ll see that he’s about half as big as the light bulb. Which is giant. And terrifying.
We discovered our new “friend” at the start of this mum project. Who knows how long he had been hanging out there (since we rarely use the front door). But one thing was for sure: he wanted to eat our faces off (according to my always trustworthy internet research, human face is a delicacy amongst the giant spider species). Okay, maybe not. But he still was not something I wanted to be around.
So as fast as I could, I yanked the dead bushes out of their planters…
…and plopped the new mums (containers and all) in their place, right on top of the leftover dirt.
Not bad for a speedy planting job, if I do say so myself.
And since these babies are hardy, we’ll plant them (not in their pots) somewhere else in our yard after the fall season. You know, so we won’t have to wait three more seasons for them to look good again on the porch.
Best part about it? The spider didn’t dive bomb my pretty little head in the process. Good spider, good spider…
Having come out of this unscathed, I was eager to snap my “after” photo and call it day (of course we still need a new doormat and have larger porch plans – like framing out the columns, painting the wood siding, and staining the concrete floor).
But stepping away now would let the
bad guys spiders win. I know they’re “good pests” but they’re not so welcome at face height right outside the front door. So I used my trusty broom and gave its web a quick swing, in hopes of not-too-harshly evicting my eight-legged visitor…
In a surprise turn of spider-related events, he jumped into one of our new mums. Oh the irony.
He seemed ok with it (meaning he didn’t eat my face).
Oh, and FYI – the spider has now changed addresses and lives in the mum on the left. Thought you should be warned in case you’re planning to come sell us some Girl Scout cookies or something.
Pssst- The lady-wife did a fun little phone interview that just went live here (click the play button next to the little audio sign over on the site to listen in). Oh yeah, and click here to see this week’s lucky Ikea gift card winners.
Oh my gosh. As much as I think it would be great to meet you guys, I would run away from your front door and never look back.
Haha, we’re waiting for some spider expert to tell us what the heck it is!
I think that’s him. Good luck!
Kristen @ Popcorn on the Stove says
I accidentally clicked on the image link and had to close my browser because spiders freak. me. out. When I looked at your photo, I thought it was fake. Ewwwwww.
Skye @ Neathering Our Fest says
I don’t mind spiders too much but I definitely got the willies when I saw how big that one is! Kudos to you for not killing it!
Had it been a roach, however, I would have just shut down the entire computer and walked away for a bit. I can. not. handle roaches! Yuck! :)
Actually, more likely, that’s her.
I don’t know the species, but it’s a kind of orb web weaver….a garden spider of some kind. Completely harmless, but pretty terrifying to look at. :) They are great at eating mosquitoes and other pesky insects–and they make beautiful webs, too! I worked at an insect/arachnid/invertebrate zoo for 2 years, so I feel pretty confident about this!
yikes! That spider is huge!
I love the new flowers! Very cheerful and they compliment the door well :)
Hee… they complement the spider well too, dontcha think?
Haha, it’s true!
Ashley @ Simply Creative Things says
yes, at least the spider is color coordinated well. :)
I always kill my plants within two weeks… I have given up on growing anything around my house… I love the yellow mums against the brick!
Julia @ Chris loves Julia says
ahhhhhhhhhhh!!! That’s when I call my husband to come home from work to get rid of the spider.
Tressa Meacham says
Hey – I just bought yellow mums at Costco and they have died already. I think it is too much water and not enough drainage in the container I put them in.
Oh man- so sorry! We are just watering ours every few days. Maybe a cup of water each every three days? So far, so good! But we have been known to kill stuff so…
ew, ew, ew, ew, EW! My nightmares are blamed on you. I guess the title should have warned me…but EW!!!! (Beautiful mums though!)
ahhh! scary! love the yellow flowers with the door!
Lexi M says
I have been seeing a lot more of those spiders around lately. They are crazy big and called zipper spiders cuz their webs often have a zipper look to them.
Renee Hopkins says
That spider is CRAZY big! My hubs and I always disagree on whether to let them stay (and eat other bugs) or kindly ask them to depart. I think I would have ran to the sink and gotten the RAID for him though, he looks mean.
Love the flowers! And how they match the door. Their mumcousins down in Georgia have been staring me in the face every time I walk into our Whole Foods, saying ‘buy me!’
Renee Hopkins says
Great news! Looks like upon further googling, they are harmless to humans. This fella looks like a Argiope Aurantia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argiope_aurantia
Those yellow mums look SOOOO GOOD next to that door! and eeek that spider is creepy
No worries, just a harmless garden spider! :-) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argiope_aurantia
The females do get impressively big though!
Oh man, so he must have really been a she. Giant!
I agree; they are quite harmless. :) We have one who pretty much lives on our back porch, haha.
Ashlene M says
I would have melted into a little puddle of nothing if that thing was near my house. BLUCK, but the mums look wonderful! I have about the same luck with outdoor plants as you, I either over water, forget, or just give up after about two months.
I’ve seen a few of those around here (Ontario) this summer while working at my local garden centre. Nobody around here knows what kind they are either. Aren’t they the most villainous looking spiders you’ve ever seen?!
Yes! The colors and those hermit-crab eye/antennas are so creepy!
Julie McKinley says
I work at a golf course as a gardener and I’ve come across the same type of spider twice.
The first one was HUGE, and I decided I wanted to see if he’d do anything.. so I took a stick and kind of touched the spider with it and he practically JUMPED at the stick. Of course I screamed like a little girl!
The second spider I found didn’t want anything to do with the stick, or me. :]
In the end, I just let them be :)
Good thing I’m not scared of bugs!
John that was halarious!! You have such a funny way to describe stuff! I could just picture it as I read.
I am also known for never keeping plants alive, but I’ve managed to keep the two pots on my front porch going strong by watering them whenever I walk the dog.
Since the dog gets a walk every day and I’ve now made the association (walk the dog, water the plants) it is going really well.
Maybe you can find a similar every day outdoor task to make an association and help you remember?
So smart! We will have to start doing that!
That is one of the most amazing mum/spider stories I have ever read. And you’re right, the spider looks terrifying. But the mums look great!
P.S. I also killed the planter on my front porch. I do it every year…
Laura Bellamy says
We have these spiders all the time in my flower garden. We just call them garden spiders. Don’t know what their real name is. My boys (girls don’t do these things) like to feed them grasshoppers. Yes, this is one (glaring) difference between girls and boys. The last spider (different variety) that took up residence between the window screen and the window the boys named Shelob. Winter took care of it. Since it is so common here, I will try to find the name of it.
Haha, Shelob is a perfect spider name.
I was totally the girl (still am, truth be told) that fed the spiders other critters. Love to watch them pounce!
and yay, Shelob!
Have you ever seen the smiley face spider? super cute!
Oh my gosh the smiley face is cute but the gellatinous shiny body is creepy!
Apparently you never met the girls who grew up in my house. We used to feed them Japanese Beetles!
Girls do this too..lol…Sweetie’s 12 year old loves to feed the garden spiders..feels that she’s doing her part encouraging natural pest control. Smart girl!
It looks like a garden spider. It’s harmless. Phew!
Work Sited: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argiope_aurantia
Akk! I hate spiders. I would veto ever using the front door after seeing that. You are so brave to keep on planting in the face of danger like that.
everything you do looks great…even the spider matched the door!
he’s pretty, but eek! Fits right in w/ your exterior decor (color-wise).
I don’t know what he is, but he’s so pretty! And he matches your front door, so that’s a bonus. When I was little, I had this book:
I’ve always loved spiders because of that book!
I think Clara would love that book!
Is it just me or does that spider perfectly match your front decor (esp for the Halloween season)? Were you tempted at all to leave him in the name of design? lol.
Haha- he just wanted to coordinate!
Melanie @ Mailbox Journey says
Mums look great – spider not-so-much.
We have 2 of those black and yellow garden spiders that make their homes in two of our windows. I allow them to live because I love that they eat all the other bugs. My daughter (20 mo old) comes home everyday and says “oh hi pider!” Those mums look fantastic with your door. I love love love that yellow!
Haha- Clara says the same thing to a black spider in one of our back windows! Adorable.
Anne G. says
The mums look great! I didn’t used to like mums, but they look so pretty at your place I think I might actually go out and buy some mums for our front porch!
BTW I noticed that even the spider’s underside matched the door and flowers! :) I don’t mind spiders, but this guy is HUGE and I would definitely be scared if he were hovering over me!
We had that same spider in the bushes infront of our condo building just a few weeks ago. So flipping creepy looking! The neighborhood kids were all hoping it was the kind of spider that when it bit you, turned you into Spiderman! Haha!!
[email protected] says
I commend you for being brave enough to not kill it and let it take up shop in your new mums- I can’t save I’d be as brave! New mums looks really pretty next to your door!
Ashlene M says
I believe this is him…. I seriously had a hard time looking through this website, heebie jeebies!
Thanks for all the links and info everyone!
One of our largest, brightest, and most frequently noticed spiders, the Black-and-Yellow Argiope is very common throughout North Carolina. They are also known as the garden spider (since they’re very common in gardens) or writing spider (for the patterns in their webs). They catch large insects in their sturdy webs, including grasshoppers and butterflies. They are harmless to humans.
We have these outside our house all the time and even though they are somewhat scary looking,they’re also interesting to watch.Here is what kind it is and some info: http://www.fcps.edu/islandcreekes/ecology/black_and_yellow_argiope.htm
Loving all the spider info!
We get wolf spiders in our house on occasion…like midnight as your crawling in bed and realize something large, hairy, and creepy just darted behind your headboard.
I dare you to google search female wolf spider…be warned, it’s not for the faint of heart!
I think we had one of those near our side door last night! John is convinced they’re closing in on us. Haha.
We just found a huge wolf spider in our puppy’s crate last week. We think it bit her on the nose as she was checking it out. She seems to be fine but it really scared us at the time. They are so creepy!
Aw poor puppy!
Love the front door and the mums; so cheerful! Also love the spider. We used to have one and “he” stayed with us for several weeks before disappearing.
Only you guys could get a spider that matched your front door…
Haha, how hilarious is that. We didn’t even notice that until you guys started pointing it out!
Kristen that’s hilarious!
One of the first times we looked at our house we saw one of those bad boys living by the front door, EWWWW! They didn’t use the front door either. Seeing that spider was almost a deal breaker on buying :) I hope someone can tell us what it is.
Looks like a Golden Orb perhaps…..if memory serves gigantic austalian versions of these have been documented eating birds whole. You’re lucky you got away with your face.
Oh. My. Gosh. That’s terrifying.
Ahhhh!!! You are so much braver than I am!
Wednesday, when I was fixing my bed head to look presentable at the workplace, a spider shimmy-ed down its web in.front.of.my.face. from my brush. It was a light colored spider too. My blonde hair has never been so thoroughly examined by my boyfriend to make sure no more spiders were making living arrangements in there!
Oh man, that’s scary!
RVA Born and Raised says
You guys have a Black and Yellow Argiope on your hands. Just a garden orb spider, but nothing I would want landing on me. AHHHHH!!!! I just got that creepy crawly feeling! Anyway, they tend to lay their eggs about this time of the year. If you see a white sack in a web any time soon, burn it. Otherwise you will have 1000 of her offspring by spring! (They hatch and stay in the sack through the winter.)
Yay! I was nervous someone was going to say it was deadly! We’ll definitely keep an eye out for a white sack (so far, just yellow mums).
The egg sacs we found were large and brown (like larger than a grape) and weren’t in the web, but nearby.
Woah- those are big!
when other bugs land on their web they bounce and bounce until the bug is completely stuck and then they wrap him up in more web. so little white sacks could also be her food! we had these spiders all the time at my house growing up! they are completely harmless and fun to watch. my little brother would always catch little moths and throw them into the web so we could see them bounce. as much as i HATE spiders, it makes me sad to think of you killing her. perhaps you could relocate her to the backyard away from any potential guests.
You are brave! I got the heebie-jeebies just lookin’ at that monster!
Very cheerful!! =)
kari h says
wow, i wish i didnt even read this post. i hate spiders
Looks like a pretty common orb weaver spider. I see them a lot in fields/tall grasy areas.
Laura Bellamy says
Oh. Here is the name of your new pet. Argiope aurantia which is a part of the orb weaver group of spiders. You have a female spider. The males are brown. She eats him after the honeymoon (ick). She can be up to 2 inches across and prefers to eat grasshoppers and katydids. Nice ornament for the trick-or-treaters.
Whew- so glad she’s not poisonous or something! Poor grooms though, getting eaten after the honeymoon must stink…
Lisa P. says
I would have killed that spider with the rage of a psych ward patient.
WORD! After looking at this post I can stop scratching and I even took off my shoes and made sure no spiders where in there! I look a little loco sitting in my cubicle. Any spider around my house gets to meet their maker, sorry Earth!
How have you not killed that monster!? Ick!!! (ironically, my husband was just sent to the basement to vacuum up webs & spray for unwelcomed guests) :)
Looks like a golden orb spider. Maybe? Either way he compliments your door just perfectly!
It sounds like that’s the one!
Yikes! Pretty sure I’d run away screaming! However, it was awfully nice of the spider to color-coordinate himself with your door & mums! :)
It’s a black and yellow garden spider.
Thanks for the links everyone!
betty in munich says
About 3 weeks ago I bought the most beautiful blue Hydrangea plant in a pretty ceramic pot. Looked beautiful for exactly 7 days until I somehow killed it. I think I might have overwatered it – don’t know. In any case it is always a sad fate for any plant in my house. BTW, how very nice of that spider to have yellow spots so it would match the yellow mums!
blue hydrangeas are my absolute favorite, next to lilacs.