A Praying Mantis (Aurelia’s brother?)

We’ve found many types of insects out in our fields. Earlier in the season, we saw mostly the vegetable eating pests, like aphids, cabbage worms, and horn worms. But now the good guys that eat the pests, are around en force. This praying mantis was protecting our tomato plants today.

The mantis reminds me of our garden’s name. “Aurelia” was the name Hannah, our Field Leader, gave to a mantis that lived on her garden cart last summer – for over 3 months – while she zoomed around the Mass Horticultural Society’s Gardens at Elm Bank supervising everything in her role Senior Horticulturalist. The name Aurelia’s Garden is about the symbolism we learned from the mantis and our intention to work to restore balance to our inequitable food system.

Photo by Kathy Martin

As Hannah describes, “The summer the mantis took up residence with me was one of my most hectic times. I was running all over – I tore my Achilles but had to keep going. When the mantis showed up on my garden cart I started driving more slowly. [I learned] about the symbolism behind a praying mantis choosing to enter a person’s life. The Mantis tells us to slow down, to practice patience and mindfulness, to move and act with more intention and less reaction, and to find balance in life. It was a good lesson for me and for others I worked with.

“When our newly formed team first began trying to find a piece of land for Aurelia’s Garden, we looked in the Sudbury Valley Trustees area. The land is beautiful, and we set our hearts on that immediately. We went to the site one day to walk the field. While there, we found a praying mantis egg case with the late afternoon, winter sun, shining on it. It seemed like a moment of clarity – a moment in time that heartened us all.

“So, the name Aurelia’s Garden is not really about a praying mantis – it’s about hope and balance. The name Aurelia’s Garden is symbolic of our intention to work to to work with hope and passion to restore balance to our inequitable food system.”