You might remember the brown grasshopper perched on the aloe I showcased last month (https://somethingovertea.wordpress.com/2020/07/12/grasshopper-on-aloe/). It looked at me unblinkingly then and paid no attention to my cell phone coming ever closer to capture its image. Significantly, it was on its own and I thought nothing more about it. Since then I have seen it – or another solo traveller – on our back path. These large brown grasshoppers are commonly found in gardens and are recognised by the dark brown spots on their wings – and are quite fearsome when observed closely.
Less welcome was seeing it – or a pal or a pal of that pal – in the flower bed I am trying to nurture against all odds. At first I admired how well it blended in with the dried leaves that the Berg Wind has piled up in the corner.
Then I noticed it was nibbling a leaf of a calendula seedling I had planted less than a week ago. Given that some countries north of the equator have been devastated by swarms of locusts, I was pleased this was a single one – and they do have to eat after all. What is one leaf when there are many more?
It was only when I looked at these photographs that I realised how much of the plant had already been eaten. Today I see the entire calendula plant has been nibbled to within an inch of its life – only the base of the stem is left with not even a vestige of leaves in sight. If this is what a single grasshopper can do, imagine a swarm of hundreds of them chomping their way through your garden – never mind your crops!