Some time last week, I was outside watering my container garden, and I saw the tiniest little bug hopping around. I of course wanted to inspect it, because I have a strict "no grasshopper" policy. Upon further inspection, it was the smallest praying mantis I had ever seen. He saw me looking at him, and made a run for it. He was weaving all around the containers, and I was bothered, because I was just trying to take his picture.
Moments later I forgot about the whole thing, because that's what I do.
The next morning I was watering one of my woolly pockets, the one with the Mojito mint, and the violas, and there on one of the flowers was this same little mantis. He came back! And I don't know why, he could have been named anything, but I named him Juniper, for the farm.
I don't have much experience with Mantis. These are the things that I knew: one of my best friends from school was and is horrified of them, Ashlee my sister loved them, there was one in A Bugs Life, I knew that they were pretty carnivorous and eat their own, but that they are good for gardens... I also knew that they looked cool, and we always thought they were lucky.
I did some reading and it turns out that all the Mantis eggs in Utah just hatched, and somehow this little babe chose my garden.
So. Juniper moved from the violas to the mint. They are right next door to each other, so it's no big deal. But every morning when I go out to water and check on things, Juniper checks me out, and I him.
The whole thing is pretty silly, and I don't even begin to image that this mantis gives one care, but I like that he stays in the mint. And he's always there. It's sweet in a storybook kind of way. Or at least that's the way I'm spinning it.
But today got me worried. He was only hanging upside down, which he does from time to time, but this was hours. Every time I went outside, he was still upside down. Then I went to water my other garden, and I was checking out what I thought was him, but it didn't look right at all. I thought he was dead. As I tried to inspect this thing (he molted his exoskeleton!), I pulled the mint to me, and from some other leaf, Juniper popped out. And he was bigger! And brighter! He grew! He went from being a nymph today to an adolescent, and I guess the mint was a more secure place than the violas anyway. And from my reading, I guess he might do this 10 times this summer?!
So it's like I'm in 7th grade life science, and loving it. And as happy as it makes me that he stays, I am assuming he is pretty stoked to have such a safe and secure pocket of mint.
I post a daily picture of Juniper on instagram if you are into mantids. Or just all about my anthropomorphization of him, who is probably a her.