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Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Winter

This week, Ann-Christine invites us to share some Winter images for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge. I have to admit that I am a creature of comfort and rarely stray too far from home during the winter months. The older I get, the less appealing the idea of getting togged up in boots, scarf, mittens and heavy winter coat becomes.  These shots, three at the Chicago Botanic Garden and one at the Volkening Heritage Farm in Schaumburg are a few in my very sparse collection of typical winter photos.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Autumn

This week, Patti is looking forward to Autumn for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge. For so many reasons, autumn is probably my most favorite time of year. Primarily, I love the colors, and then there’s the cooler weather, not to mention less biting bugs and irate red-wing blackbirds. Of course, any time of year is great at the Chicago Botanic Garden but autumn is a very special season full of bright flowers and glowing foliage.

Autumn is one of the few times in the year that most of our family is able to get together and there is nothing more fun than our Family Fall Festival which is usually held at our daughter’s house in Indiana. She really puts on a terrific show with festive decorations that include Halloween characters, many of which are animated. The kids love it!

The Morton Arboretum in Lisle is the ideal place to visit in autumn when the trees are at their most colorful. A membership to the Chicago Botanic Garden gets you into the Arboretum for free and you can spend the day taking in the sights.

And what would autumn be without a trip to the pumpkin farm. This one is in South Barrington, Illinois, but we also visit a couple in Indiana and Wisconsin. They are a little more low-key but usually just as enjoyable.

And finally, one of my all-time favorite Halloween shots. “Eye of newt and toe of frog, wool of bat and tongue of dog,” and a Big Mac to go, please.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – The Spring in Spring Valley

This week, Tina is celebrating Spring for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge. One of my favorite local places to visit is the Spring Valley Nature Center and Volkening Heritage Farm in Schaumburg. Sadly it wasn’t open this Spring for obvious reasons and and will remain closed at least through August. That being the case, here is a nostalgic look back at Spring in Spring Valley.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Summer

This week, Amy is kicking off a month of seasons with Summer for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge. What would summer be without a trip to the Chicago Botanic Garden.

In my own garden, summer means dragonflies, flowers and butterflies. Heavy rains and fierce winds knocked a lot of plants down yesterday, so I will be spending some time in the garden propping things back up.

And finally, I had to include this scene, captured as we took an early evening boat ride around the lake on the 4th of July. It seemed so typical of a summer day with everyone, even the dogs, enjoying the sun and taking time to sit back and relax.

Square Perspectives – The Obliging Turtle

Here is my first entry for Becky’s Square Perspectives Photo Challenge. While I was at the Chicago Botanic Garden the other day, I came across a turtle sunning itself on a rock.  The Garden has many beautiful pieces of artwork scattered about, and at first I thought that the turtle was one of those, strategically placed in a natural setting, it remained so still. I took a picture anyway to add the sculpture photo files. And then it blinked. I took more pictures and after a few minutes, just to show willing, it turned to present me with a different perspective, a little  leg-stretching added for good measure. Finally, it turned some more and faced the camera. Thank you Mr. Turtle!

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Surprise!

This week, Ann-Christine is hoping for a few surprises for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge. I certainly got a surprise this morning! These two pictures were taken about 30 minutes ago in our garden. Let me explain. Last October I brought several swallowtail caterpillars indoors to spend the winter in our sunroom. Earlier this spring we were disappointed to find that most of them had already been invaded by parasitic wasps which duly hatched out and were released.  Two butterflies survived, however, and also appeared earlier this year. Because I’ve been super busy with the stamp collection over the past few weeks, I neglected to clean out the tank where we kept the caterpillars. All the foliage was dead and I assumed that we had seen the last of the butterflies. Imagine my surprise when I walked in this morning and found this beauty. It looked like it was ready to fly so I took it outside and set it down among the dill.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – A Quiet Moment

This week, Patti encourages us to share a Quiet Moment for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge.  I like to get to places early in the morning before the crowds arrive. That way, I can take uninterrupted shots of the bigger picture and concentrate on individual subjects later in the day. So it was when I visited Cantigny Park recently, as I enjoyed few quiet moments, contemplating the various views in the gardens.

Pull Up A Seat – At Cantigny Park

Hooray!! Cantigny Park in Wheaton opened up to the public again this week.  I arrived there early in the morning yesterday, ahead of all those who, like me, were longing for somewhere other than their own gardens to visit. What a treat! We all managed to get around while keeping a safe distance and there were plenty of Seats available.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – A Single Flower

This week, our Lens-Artists guest host, Cee, has challenged us to come up with some Single Flower images. It was a happy coincidence that I had planned to do a garden update post, so it was just a question of picking out the pictures that featured a single bloom, in order to participate.

The weather has certainly been responsible for the lush growth and abundance of flowers in our garden so far this year. The peonies put on a spectacular show. It’s too bad their blooms don’t last longer.

There were plenty of irises, bearded and Siberian, which managed to survive some fairly strong winds and heavy downpours of rain, with the aid of some strategically placed supporting stakes.

Poppies, both oriental and the random Shirley poppies that seem to pop up all over the garden, have added some eye-catching color to the mix.

Even the smaller, less showy flowers such as love-in-a-mist and coreopsis have outdone themselves this year. And the first daylily has finally put in an appearance.

These are just a few of the flowers that are in our garden right now, with many more to come. Thank you, Cee, for giving me the opportunity to share them.