While growing up in Cedarburg it seemed like these spiders where anywhere you found long enough grass. I spent a lot of time outdoors so maybe it is just my recollection. The other day my 4 year old daughter Ella got her monthly "Big Backyard" magazine. She found a picture of one and asked me what it was. I had all but forgotten about these somewhat menacing looking creatures. I said they were the giant spiders that live in the field. I told her we we're going to find a real one. She was excited. We set out a couple days later to the Shoreland Nature Preserve in Mequon in search of one. Lots of tall grass there! After walking for a bit I realized they aren't everywhere like I remembered. Maybe that's the reason I forgot about them. After searching for quite some time with no luck we went home.
The next day we ventured out again to find this, now rare and elusive animal. We decided to look in the field near our house. Again, not a one.
Now we are getting serious. Off to Huiras Lake to see if they are out there. I wanted to check the snake boards anyway. Ella has never held a snake before either. Not a snake or a spider to be seen.
It was time to make some calls. Someone had to know what was going on. I talked with a naturalist who had seen some where he works. Great, I wasn't crazy. So I called a friend and she said she would look in her garden where they were sometimes seen. Got the call back with a "none there". A few days later my friend called back and said she found one. The next day I took Ella over there and we found a bunch of them in the garden. OK, I see why they call them garden spiders. Ella was happy to finally see one, but was happier looking for them, I think. It's the journey.
The Garden Spider can oscillate her web vigorously while she remains firmly attached in the center.