Monday, July 9, 2012

My First Garden Memory–Lady Bugs

A few years ago I told my mother that I could remember having my tonsils out. I can remember being in the hospital, actually being embarrassed that I was not wearing clothes laying on the hospital bed just covered by a sheet.  I told my mom the details of my memories and of  eating Jell-O and ice cream.  She was amazed as I had just turned 3 years old.  That memory got me thinking.  I have a picture of myself and my little brother when I was probably less than 2 years old. He is just 13 months younger than I am.  If you look closely at the picture, you can see dirt under my fingernails.  Growing up we had an enclosed back yard and I can remember playing in the mud.  I was reminded of what I will call my first gardening experience after writing about lady bugs and their consuming aphids and other bothersome insects in the garden. I was contacted by The Lost Lady Bug Project and asked to document the lady bugs in our garden. When I was really little I remember picking up lady bugs and moving them to what I remember as a large, tall clump of green grass.  Everyday, I would walk around the yard looking for lady bugs to place on my green clump of grass. I can remember one day visiting my clump of green grass and being horrified to find some ugly insects in place of my beautiful red lady bugs.  I now know those insects were the lady bug larva –ant lions.  I don’t think I ever told anyone…I wonder if some of our earliest memories are remembered because they are a bit traumatic. 
Ant lions
To a little kid the ant lion looks scary!  It looks like a little alligator!  I had no idea that it would turn into a beautiful lady bug

In my garden most of the lady bug I find are the 7 spotted. 
And then there is this kind?  This is a well-chewed up hollyhock. Notice the weevil on the right. To have good bugs you must have some bad bugs!  There are more good than bad.
This lady bug is really different. Dirt under the fingernails is a good thing.
Here I am with my little brother and yes, I think you can see my dirty fingernails.  My mother probably changed my dress and shoes for the photo.  My mother says my uncle used to come and visit carrying his old Brownie camera, ready to take our pictures. This picture was probably taken in 1951 or so. 


  1. I would never have recognized that fuzzy little ant as a ladybug.


  2. Hi Eileen - yes the bug looks like a little alligator. Hard to believe they change into a ladybug

  3. Gloria, I have early memories of playing in the mud, too. When my mother needed to do work outside, she would sit me in the dirt side yard of our house with an old battered coffee pot that she put some water in and a wooden spoon. I also remember one day when I managed to get myself covered with mud from head to toe, and she was holding me up at arms length in front of the fence that separated us from the neighbors, calling to them, "Would anyone like a little girl? I'll give her to anyone who's willing to give her a bath!" -Jean

  4. Jean, what a wonderful story!! Children are so literal...I wonder what you thought! I'm sure her laughter gave her away!

  5. Love your blog! Not much for the sewing stuff but the gardening and cooking recipes are awesome. I am now inspired to start growing some fruit and veggies in my back yard but I need to be selective as yard space is at a minimum. Is that picture of you and uncle Bobby? We really enjoyed spending the day with you and can't wait to see you again.


    -Adam, Grace, and Abigail