One gardener's observations, discoveries and random thoughts whilst simultaneously worshipping and dallying in a Cape Cod garden. "A garden," said Ralph Waldo Emerson, "is like those pernicious machineries which catch a man's coatskirt or his hand, and draw in his arm, his leg and his whole body to irresistable destruction."

I’m really more of a night owl than an early bird. I probably wouldn’t be the Midnight Gardener if it were other. But over the years, I have come to appreciate that there are benefits and rewards to rising early now and then.

Today was one of those days. Golfing and the heat took it out of me yesterday and I was asleep pretty early for a change…which meant I was also awake nice and early today. With the heat coming on, I wanted to get some watering done early in the day to give everyone in the garden strength to take advantage of that heat, and so I was out in the back garden with coffee in hand by 7:20 or so.

I love the way the morning light plays sideways through the trees when the sun’s so low in the sky. Look at the way it spotlights this new lily just opening. So dramatic. And yet, the one behind is so much paler, as though it were still night on that side of the plant.

It’s a very pretty time of the day and the garden is a great place to have that first cup of coffee. No news of the day, no email, no television. Just the sounds of the birds, already well into their morning routines. Chickadees twitter from tree to tree. A male cardinal is making the rounds, singing from branches in a circle around the garden. A catbird croak-meows in the underbrush. So peaceful.

After basking in the early morning glow for a bit, I gave all the beds a good watering, focusing a little extra on the tomatoes, all bearing flowers or fruit at this point.

Here the sun catches a trio of fading drumstick allium, a bit of red beebalm past its prime and the glowing new petals of a yellow African marigold.

I made my way around the garden and then doubled back for another look at this lovely grouping of rudbeckia, seen below.

The yellow I transplanted in from the meadow last fall, I’m pretty sure.

But this fabulous sport with all the autumn hues: the more I look at it, the more it looks like a rudbeckia-coneflower hybrid, and I wonder if there wasn’t cross pollination occuring when that single coneflower bloomed last year.

And its thoughts like those which can almost make you miss what’s right there in front of you. Fortunately, my sleepy eyes caught the color combination and I moved in for a closer look…and look what I found. To be honest, I’m not exactly sure what I found, but just look.

At first, my sleepy brain suggested grasshopper, but the body structure seems all wrong, too slender, and the legs stretching so long out behind it.

My internet searching has hooked me up with BugGuide.net…and while I’ve not yet found a match to this visitor, they do have a place where you can upload photos of bugs/insects seen within the US or Canada for identification. I’ll let you know what I find out.

Actually, I’m kind of excited to have discovered BugGuide. Identifying insects, with a few well-known exceptions, has always fallen into a black hole of poetic vagueness with me. I should learn a lot there.

EDIT(7/28/07): An update. It seems like this might be a katydid nymph. Further updates as events warrant.

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