Knowing that this is the time when they're most visible, I've been looking for a nice big garden spider for the past few days, and today I finally found this beauty. She has spun her web between one of my hydrangeas and a large clump of persicaria, and here she sits, patiently waiting for something to stray into it. She may well be lucky, because wasps adore persicaria nectar, and with their nests breaking up they're rather bemused and ditzy right now, and liable to blunder into danger.
If the sight of a spider makes you cringe, you may manage to feel more warmly towards them if you bear in mind that there are few more committed mothers anywhere in the animal kingdom than a female garden spider. When this one lays her eggs, she will enclose them in a silken cocoon and then sit patiently over them, guarding them from harm, until she dies of starvation. If she's placed the cocoon well it will survive the winter, and next spring her orphaned spiderlings will hatch and disperse.
I think she's amazing, and I tip my hat to her.