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!

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge – Gardens

The topic for Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge this week is Gardens and do I have the garden pictures!!  Wherever we go on our travels we always look out for a pleasant public garden in which to spend some time and over the years we have found a multitude of gorgeous places.  Rather than overload the post with too many images, I’ve narrowed it down to just a few of the more memorable gardens that we’ve visited.

Closest to home is the Chicago Botanic Garden and probably my most favorite spot to sit and look at the flowers is the Circle Garden.

The Frederik Meijer Sculpture Garden in Grand Rapids, Michigan, provides a delightful blend of art and nature.

Although the reason we went to the Missouri Botanical Garden in St Louis was chiefly to see the Chinese Lantern Festival, we went back again to take in everything else that the garden had to offer and it was spectacular!

Another place that really impressed us was the garden at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina. The perfume in the rose garden was heavenly!

Green Bay Botanical Garden in Wisconsin is another one of my favorites.  We have spent many hours wandering around here looking at all the beautiful flowers and plants.

Back to Illinois and the gardens at Cantigny Park in Wheaton.  Immaculately kept, these gardens are a must-see for anyone visiting the area.

Also in Illinois, Anderson Japanese Garden in Rockford is a little different in that it doesn’t have a huge display of flowers but makes up for it with tranquil settings amid lush greenery.  Make sure you visit the waterfall and perhaps feed the koi fish swimming in the pool.

For more on Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge visit https://ceenphotography.com/2017/05/23/cees-fun-foto-challenge-gardens/

Weekly Photo Challenge – Heritage

This week’s Photo Challenge, set for us by Ben Huberman at The Daily Post, is Heritage.   One thing that we all share in common, no matter whether we are young, old, rich or poor, is the living world around us.  It is largely up to us to determine how we pass that heritage on to the next generation.  All these wonderful gifts of nature will only thrive if we continue to take good care them but sadly it seems there is an irresponsible element that puts money and big business before the well-being of the environment.  We can only hope that wiser heads will prevail.

The Heritage Garden at the Chicago Botanic Garden, dedicated to Carolus Linnaeus who established binomial nomenclature as the recognized method of naming plants, is modeled after Europe’s first botanical garden in Padua, Italy.

At the center of the garden is a fountain surrounded by raised flower beds that contain medicinal plants from around the world.

A gentle flow of water cascades over shallow steps that lead to three aquatic pools containing water lilies, lotus and other water plants.

Circling the perimeter of the garden seven flower beds display plants according to their geographic origin while fourteen addition beds are used to display plants grouped according to scientific classification.

These pictures were taken over a period of years and at different times of the year, additional displays in the Heritage Garden changing according to the season.

For more on the Weekly Photo Challenge go to https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/heritage/

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge – All One Color

Originally I had planned to use this picture for a different challenge but on second thoughts decided that it would be ideal for Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge which this week is All One Color.  Blending in and looking like part of the surroundings, this little frog at the Chicago Botanic Garden was quite happy to sit and watch as visitors to the garden wandered past.

For more on Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge go to https://ceenphotography.com/2017/05/16/cees-fun-foto-challenge-all-one-color/

Consolation

Because of ongoing health problems I missed seeing some of my most favorite things this spring including the daffodils at Morton Arboretum, tulips at Cantigny, spring blossoms at the Chicago Botanic Gardens and the lilacs in Lombard. However, the flowers in our garden provided some consolation. They seem to manage pretty well without too much help from me and hopefully I can get out there before the weeds take over. We’ve had a lot of rain recently and when the sun finally did put in an appearance I managed to get a few shots of some familiar faces.

A colorful display of tulips and some mud-spattered daffodils as well as a few  other springtime flowers helped to brighten the day.

 

A white-crowned sparrow and my arch-nemesis the rabbit also paid us a visit.

Missing

I must apologize for not keeping up with all the blogs that I normally follow recently, owing to the fact that I’ve been unwell for the past couple of weeks, so much so that we had to cancel a family get-together at Easter and a trip to Utah to visit our youngest daughter and her husband (something we had been eagerly anticipating) all of which has left me feeling rather ‘down in the dumps.’  However, it did give me the opportunity to sit for many hours looking out of the window and apparently I’m not the only one missing in action.  I’m sure someone must have been looking for this zebra finch which evidently had escaped from somewhere. As far as I know it’s not native to the Chicago area or even America.

I also spotted another bird which, to the best of my knowledge, hasn’t visited us before. I think it’s a nuthatch but perhaps someone could confirm that or correctly identify it.  I hope to get back to reading all your posts soon and catching up with the latest news.  Best wishes to all.

Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge – Letters K or L

Back to the alphabet for Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge which this week features the letters K and L.  Many of the images that I’ve used for this challenge were taken some years ago and it’s been interesting for me to wander through the old photo files to see just what kind of things caught my eye back in the day.

A Komodo Dragon named Faust, on display at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago in 2006.

This picture of a kangaroo was taken so long ago I can’t remember where I saw it.  Possibly Brookfield Zoo.

A more recent picture, of a koi fish, was taken at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC.

The king of the jungle, a lion at Brookfield Zoo gazes out at an admiring crowd, sizing us up perhaps as a possible source of lunch.  He looks very lazy but I’m sure he was ready to leap into action if the need arose.

A lamb at Spring Valley Nature Center in Schaumburg, Illinois.

A rather alarming llama appearing to get somewhat confrontational at Goebbert’s Pumpkin Farm in South Barrington.

For more on Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge go to https://ceenphotography.com/2017/04/06/cees-black-white-photo-challenge-letters-k-or-l/