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A Photo A Week Challenge – Water

Nancy Merrill is looking for water for her Photo A Week Challenge and luckily my trip to Elgin on Saturday morning resulted in some pictures of the Fox River. Who would think that this……….

could so quickly turn into this.  The river by the Veterans Memorial Park and flowing over the dam by the Kimball street bridge.


For more on Nancy’s A Photo A Week Challenge go to Water.

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Square in September – Floral Pink

I couldn’t let Becky’s September Squares go by without submitting a few pink flower pictures so I’ll get it out of my system now and do it all in one go. Two from the Chicago Botanic Garden, two from my garden and one from Cantigny Park in Wheaton.



For more on Becky’s Square in September Photo Challenge go to Hello September!

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Farm Fences

In response to Ann-Christine’s topic of #10: Fences, this week’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge, let me take you on a quick trip to Volkening Heritage Farm at Spring Valley Nature Center in Schaumburg.


Here, fences are not so much an intrusion as a picturesque part of the overall scene.  Many of them are weathered and some used only as a temporary measure but all of them seem to blend in with their surroundings.


Naturally, the animals on the farm play a large part in many of the fence images in my Spring Valley photo files.


And flowers play an important role in the pictures too, the fences sometimes appearing to be merely an adjunct to their cheerful color.

 

Whatever purpose the fences serve, they are nearly always a welcome addition to any image of Volkening Heritage Farm.


Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Weird and Wonderful Water Lilies

The subject for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge, set for us this week by Tina Schell, is Colorful and, following her example of introducing a little “fun and frivolity” into the mix, I decided to experiment with some pictures that I took recently at the Como Zoo and Conservatory in Saint Paul, Minnesota.



One of the reasons I started playing around with these images was the fact that, after looking at the many pictures of water lilies that I’ve amassed in the photo files over the years, they’ve all started to look very much the same.


For those of you who approve, I’ll try this ‘digital messing about’ again sometime with another subject. For those of you who don’t, I promise to try and restrain myself from getting too carried away with the experiment in the future.



For more on the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge go to #8: COLORFUL

Olbrich Botanical Gardens

We kicked off a recent mini-vacation up north with a visit to Olbrich Botanical Gardens in Madison, Wisconsin.  Although smaller than many of the gardens we’ve visited, it covers about 16 acres, it packs a lot of interest into some beautifully maintained areas such as the English-style Sunken Garden, the oldest part of Olbrich Gardens, with its 80ft-long reflecting pool.


Flowers are all very nice but the boys were looking for something a little more exciting and they found it when they discovered a toad in an ornamental pool in the Rose Garden.

Leaving the toad to continue its sojourn in the Rose Garden we moved on to explore the Rock Garden where we got in touch with nature, and the Herb Garden where we recognized many familiar names.

The highlight of the gardens, for me at least, was the Thai Pavilion and Garden. The pavilion was a gift to the University of Wisconsin-Madison from the Thai Government and the Thai Chapter of the Wisconsin Alumni Association

The pavilion was built in Thailand, disassembled, shipped to the US and reconstructed at the Gardens. No touching! All the gold that you see on the building is gold leaf applied to plantation-grown teak and will not stand up to constant handling (and there is someone there to make sure that you don’t.)


 

This beautiful structure is surrounded by gardens that are designed to resemble those that you would see in Thailand, featuring ornamental grasses, bamboo and large-leafed plants and shrubs.



I can highly recommend a visit to Olbrich Botanical Gardens.  Admission to the outdoor gardens is free, with a minimal fee for visiting the adjoining Bolz Conservatory. For more information on the Gardens go to http://www.olbrich.org/

Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge – Garden Reflections

Reflecting on the subject for Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge this week I found a few images from the Chicago Botanic Garden that I thought would fit the bill.



For more on Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge go to Mirror images or reflections

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Butterfly Patterns

This weekend I went up to the Chicago Botanic Garden specifically to see the Butterflies and Blooms exhibit. Needless to say that wasn’t the only thing I ended up photographing but the butterflies provided an ideal topic for this week’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge. Thanks for the suggested subject of Patterns, Ann-Christine.



For more on the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge go to Patterns