I have not been shutting my greenhouse door recently,the weather is so warm that I do not need to, but the real reason is that an enterprising spider spins her webs across the top of the doorway. I have had fragments of her silk in my hair several times. I think that it is a garden spider, which is very common. Recently I was privileged to spot some new-born garden spiders, this time not in the greenhouse, but swarming on a web attached to a raised bed. The neonate arachnids were golden in the sunlight, and it was a delightful experience for me and some fellow gardeners whom I called over to see the creatures. They have spread far and wide now.
Finding nests is not always fun, as a year or ago I disturbed a wasps' nest and was stung four times for my endeavours. Precautionary medical advice was needed, but not all nests are dangerous. One year when weeding I found that ants were crawling over my hand. Puzzled, I noticed that it seemed to happen when I was working near to the wooden side of a bed. Lifting it up [it was not fixed, but merely a mobile divider, I uncovered a network of chambers and tunnels swarming with ants. I replaced the wood and let them be, for there is space on this earth for both them and me. But nests must be yearly replaced, and this year it is empty.
Bees are regular visitors. We now have honey bees,courtesy of a Syrian refugee who has introduced hives to his plot. The bees feast on the purple flowers of my Welsh onions, perennial onions related to chives, which are nectar rich. I leave the flowers for them intentionally, and they respond gratefully. As do the red mason bees and the various bumble bees. Red mason bees are superb pollinators and they do not sting. Solitary bees, they build cells in soil and venture forth for pollen. So as great pollinator they are welcome guests on my plot.Once I found that bumble bees were nesting under a pile of old pallets,and in response and part-payment for their pollinating services I left the pile in situ, but next year they did not return. I know not why.
We do not get a rich variety of butterflies,mainly cabbage whites.But to welcome butterflies I have a patch of nettles at the far edge of my plot. They serve partly to deter unwanted visitors from climbing the fence, but the nettles are a great butterfly food.
There are visiting insects. Shortly after I filled my pond I had a visit from a water boatman, an insect whose broad pads on its feet allow it to walk on water, taking advantage of he surface tension to support its weight. It must have blown in from somewhere, I know not whence it came and whither it went, for I saw it but once.
But some insects are regulars, such as the ladybirds, beasts popular for their beauty, but fierce predators of aphids, the greenflies that damage fruit plants. As a keeper of fruit trees ladybirds are great favourites of mine.
You would need to be an entomologist to account for all the insects and other mini-beasts that either dwell on allotment sites or visit on occasion, and I am no expert entomologist, so a brief account of the most common ones will suffice. We need to enjoy experiences in their totality, so while I value producing food, the experience of cultivation allows me to encounter nature and relish it, not only in the visual experience, but the auditory side, the songs of birds and the sighing of the wind.