Tag Archive | flowers

September at the Garden

There’s always something beautiful to see at the Chicago Botanic Garden no matter what time of year you go, but September always seems to have something special to offer.  The roses have usually taken on a new lease on life and when I went to the Garden a few days ago they looked gorgeous.

The water lilies too, seemed at the peak of perfection.

 

While I was there, a well-meaning gentleman offered to give me some tips on photography but when I explained that I couldn’t tell an f-stop from a bus stop, never read the camera manual and didn’t usually like to fiddle around changing settings and such, he gave me up as a hopeless case.  It was a kind thought, however, and I thanked him profusely.

This year’s theme, “Brazil in the Garden” provided visitors with plenty of unusual plants and flowers to enjoy, with Bromeliads, orange Canna lilies and Bismarck palms taking center stage.

Even the ducks seemed in a festive mood.

I was about to leave Evening Island when the great bells of the Carillon Tower clanged the two-o-clock hour.

Just time to visit the Plant Evaluation Garden before heading back home.

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OWPC – The Bee’s Knees

This week, Jennifer Nichole Wells has chosen insect as the subject for her One Word Photo Challenge. With so many flowers in the garden it’s not surprising that we have quite a number of bees flying around.  Unlike wasps and hornets, bees are a welcome sight and I was happy to capture these few shots for the challenge.

For more on Jennifer’s One Word Photo Challenge go to This Week’s Challenges: August 20 – 26 (OWPC & WW)

How Green Was My Spring Valley

It’s been a while since I last visited Spring Valley Nature Center in Schaumburg and there have been some changes which were noticeable as soon as I arrived.  There is a new children’s playground complete with slides, climbing areas and waterfalls where the kids can have a great time.  I just hope the parents don’t forego the opportunity of taking them around the rest of the facility to see all the wonderful things that nature has to offer, like flowers, animals, birds and other living, breathing things.  There is also a new pond that has been created nearby although it appears to be a work in progress.

With all the rain we’ve had just lately it wasn’t surprising that the place looked so lush and green. I love walking around here! Apart from the forest preserves, this is the closest thing we have to ‘being in the country.’ I think it would be impossible to count all the different plants that flourish in Spring Valley.

The water in the lake was quite high and covered with water lilies which made ideal resting and hiding places for the frogs. Underneath the surface it was teeming with life as frogs, fish and turtles, in a frenzy of activity, made hundreds of little waves in the water.

 

I was pleased to see that the Kid’s Garden was flourishing, with plenty of flowers and vegetables on display.  I think it’s so important to encourage children to take an interest in nature and that is just what the people at Spring Valley are doing so ably.  After all, the future of our world and the environment is in the hands of generations to come. In these troubling times, it would be a sad thing indeed if we did not make the effort to teach them to understand and respect nature and each other.

Weekly Photo Challenge – Ooh, Shiny!

Did I ever tell you the story about this rabbit that I knew?  Well there was this rabbit and one day he decided that he was going to………….oh look, isn’t that a heron over there!

Beautiful birds!  It reminds me of the time I saw one when I was staying in……………Oh for goodness sake? What a racket! You can’t hear yourself think!  Here’s another plane coming in for a landing!

Anyway, what was I saying?  Oh yes, about that rabbit……………..look at those butterflies.  I’ll just see if I can get a picture now the breeze has dropped.

So this rabbit………….watch out! Don’t step on that frog. Wow! That was a close thing!

Now where was I? Oh yes. The rabbit decides that he’s going to…………….I thought I could hear a church bell ringing!  Yes, over there.

Perhaps we could just go in and have a look…………..no, wait a minute. Let’s see those horses in the field over there.

So, getting back to the story about this rabbit…………….I wonder what these flowers are called.

Well, this rabbit takes a chance and hops across……………….ooh, shiny!

It doesn’t take much to distract me.  For more on the Weekly Photo Challenge at The Daily Post go to Ooh, Shiny!

The Ecstasy and the Agony

It’s all been happening out in the garden this summer, with or without my help.  The good thing about having mostly perennials and flowers that self-seed is that they more or less take care of themselves.  They don’t need a lot of watering, although goodness knows we’ve had plenty of rain to keep them happy, and, if carefully chosen, don’t require much in the way of fertilizer. It’s sheer ecstasy to walk out in the garden first thing in the morning and see all those beautiful flowers.

The sunflowers, cosmos and cleome came up in such profusion in the back garden this year that I was in danger of losing our smallest grandchildren out there when they came to visit. And not to worry if I didn’t have time to plant a fresh batch of snapdragons.  They came up all on their own.

Even the wildlife is plentiful this summer.  I spotted a possum creeping about among the bushes and the rabbit population is growing in leaps and bounds (not sure if I’m too happy about that.)

Just outside my window, as I’ve been sitting working on the computer, the birds have been showing off and all I have to do is whip the camera out and capture a few shots of the humming bird hovering in the breeze and a goldfinch getting to the bottom of things.

Unfortunately, all this ecstasy doesn’t come without a little bit of agony.  A few weeks ago I was outside working on a project when I was chased around the garden by an angry hornet and stung, quite painfully on the top of my head.  At first I thought it was just a lone troublemaker but last week I discovered a nest in one of the shrubs right down by the sidewalk.  It won’t be long before the neighborhood kids are walking past on their way to school and I certainly wasn’t about to anger the hornets any further by working in the adjacent flower beds so I had no option but to call in the experts.

Enter Mike from ABC Wildlife Control who assured me that he would take care of the situation.  I asked him what the procedure was and he said, “I spray the nest and then run.”  Apparently they had determined that these particular hornets were the extremely aggressive variety, so I could sympathize with him.  “You’re a better man than I am, Gunga Din,” was my view. I stood at a safe distance and watched as he did his stuff.  Afterwards, he warned us to stay out of the garden for the rest of the day as the hornets were likely to be really !*!*!* off.  He didn’t have to tell me twice! I was lucky that I’d only been stung once.  That was agony enough!  I wasn’t about to risk any more.

Things seem to have calmed down out there now, so hopefully I can get back to work, pulling weeds and dead-heading the flowers without fear of hornet reprisals.  Good work, ABC Wildlife!

Poppies, Butterflies and A Corpse Flower

It’s been a few weeks since my last visit to the Chicago Botanic Garden and in that time most of the usual spring flowers have come and gone.  I missed the tulips, tree blossoms and the azaleas in the Japanese Garden but fortunately was just in time to see the annual, colorful display of Iceland poppies on the hill just outside the English Walled Garden.

There was much activity throughout the Garden as preparations are being made for this year’s theme which is ‘Brazil in the Garden’ so it wasn’t really a good time for taking pictures and I headed over to the Butterflies and Blooms exhibit which has returned to the newly renovated Regenstein Learning Campus.  Here too, things were only just beginning to get going but I did manage to capture a couple of nice butterfly shots.

But undoubtedly the stars of the show and what most people had come to the Garden to see that day were not just one but two rare Corpse Flowers nicknamed ‘The Titan Twins’ that were on display in the greenhouse.

 

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!