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April Showers Bring………

………more showers but also May flowers.  Despite moaning about the miserable weather we’ve experienced so far this spring in the Chicago area, I have to admit that our garden has never looked so lush and vibrant.  Many of the plants that I thought might not do as well this year, for one reason or another, have really pulled out all the stops, especially the iris.

The peonies never disappoint and somehow the frequent downpours of rain only seem to make them smell all the sweeter.

 

In fact, everything in the garden is thriving, from tulips to allium and the Japanese anemone.  A feast for all the senses and a promise of things to come in the summer.

And always lurking in the background, my arch nemesis, the rabbit, looking the picture of innocence.  One false move, rabbit, and you’re for the high jump!

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Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge – Vibrant Colors

Cee’s choice for her Fun Foto Challenge this week are Vibrant Colors, an easy thing to find in the photo files as they always stand out from the rest.

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On the Scarecrow Trail at Morton Arboretum in Lisle, these colorful creations made by various scout troops are a regular feature in the fall.

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These eye-catching decorations were on display at Goebbert’s Pumpkin Farm in South Barrington.

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The vibrant colors of this costume worn by a participant at the 63rd Annual Powwow in Busse Woods really made a splash!

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Gorgeous blooms at the Green Bay Botanical Gardens in Wisconsin.  For more on Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge go to https://ceenphotography.com/2016/10/18/cees-fun-foto-challenge-vibrant-colors-2/

The Last Hurrah

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last-hurrah11The flowers in our garden are starting to wind down now and the process of clearing up has begun.  I’m always sorry to see the beds starting to look empty but there are still the last few remnants of color to be seen. The seasons seem to fly by faster every year,. Sometimes it feels like we hardly have time to enjoy the results of all our labor out there and it’s only when I take the camera around to shoot some pictures that I really can stop to appreciate just how beautiful these flowers are.

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The weather has been very wet here during the past few weeks, although thankfully not as bad as some places, but it has meant that we were not able to complete some of the tasks that we had hoped to finish by the end of the growing season.  Trying to dig muddy, soil with a high clay content is next to impossible!  So some things will have to wait until next year.

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Everything seems to be soaking up the mild, sunny days, expending their remaining energy into putting forth a few more blossoms and generating those all-important seeds that will bring the garden back to life next year. I really enjoy walking round collecting the seeds, one of the less arduous tasks in the garden, and people often stop by to ask if I have any to share, which I’m always happy to do as I usually end up with way more than I can use.

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Cleome, Cosmos, marigolds, 4-o-clocks, snapdragons and nasturtiums are the most prolific and there are quite a few gardens in the neighborhood that have enjoyed a nice display of flowers as a result.

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2 for 1 -Liquid H2O

Since I have been busy working on Jennifer’s Halloween Challenge and because both Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge and The Weekly Photo Challenge set by Lignum Draco are very similar this week, I thought I would combine the two responses.  For this purpose I’m using some images from a trip to Copper Falls in Wisconsin this past week.  I can highly recommend a visit to this State Park.

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For more on Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge go to https://ceenphotography.com/2016/10/06/cees-black-white-photo-challenge-liquid/

and for more on The Weekly Photo Challenge on The Daily Post go to https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/h2o/

 

 

 

 

Halloween Challenge – Corn Maze & Hay Ride

This is a tale of two fall festivals.  The first two images were taken last year at a well-known suburban pumpkin farm where, for a not inconsiderable sum of money, the kids were invited to find their way around a corn maze, see tigers and feed giraffes, go for a hay ride and watch pig races, along with a whole bunch of other activities.  Admittedly the maze was well set out, with a reasonably comfortable path to follow but, like Christmas and Thanksgiving, Halloween has become sadly over-commercialized. Have our expectations become so high, in this neck of the woods, that everything has to be done on such a lavish scale?

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Fast-forward to this year and a trip that we took this week to Willow Springs Garden near Wausau in Wisconsin.  What a difference!  Everything except the food and pumpkins was free.  The petting zoo consisted of a donkey, one goat and a few chickens.  kids could amuse themselves by trying their hand at an old-fashioned corn shucker or, instead of a fancy bouncy castle, they could wear themselves out by jumping along the tops of a series of hay bales. The path through the corn maze was uneven and painfully strewn with rocks, just like you would expect a cornfield to be, but no-one seemed to mind.  And the hay ride was awesome!  Give me a good old-fashioned country Fall Festival every time!  For more on Jennifer Nichole Wells Halloween Challenge go to https://jennifernicholewells.com/2016/09/26/jnws-halloween-challenge-2/

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Halloween Challenge – Pumpkin

Today is the first day of Jennifer Nichole Wells’ Halloween Challenge which runs through the entire month of October.  Jennifer has picked a Pumpkin for the first challenge and so, apparently, did this squirrel who made himself at home in the remains of one of our Halloween pumpkins last year. For more on Jennifer’s Halloween Challenge go to https://jennifernicholewells.com/2016/09/26/jnws-halloween-challenge-2/

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