Tag Archive | flowers

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!

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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

Dazzled, Breathless and Giddy

There are a few words that best describe the effect that the San Antonio Botanic Garden had on me and one of those words is dazzled! With the sun beating down and the glowing colors of the flowers that crowded the beds on that June afternoon, I was well and truly dazzled!


I was breathless! I don’t know if it was the 100 degree heat or just the overwhelming splendour of the garden that took my breath away but yes, I was definitely breathless!


 

I felt giddy, like a kid who’d just been given carte blanche at the local toy store. I felt like laughing and singing and crying just from the joy of being there. Yes, I certainly felt giddy!





And I felt grateful! Grateful to be alive and to have the opportunity to see this beautiful place and rejoice in the wonders of nature.



Whistling Ducks and Dancing Turtles

Hermann Park covers some 445 acres and is one of the oldest public parks in Houston.  It features an enormous reflecting pool, various gardens including a beautiful Japanese Garden, a recreational lake and a golf course. The park is also home to the Houston Zoo, Miller Outdoor Theater and the Houston Museum of Natural Science.



As always seems to be the case when we are on the road, our time in Houston was all too short, so we weren’t able to explore the entire park but we took in as much as we possibly could, given our tight schedule and the extreme heat which made walking any great distance rather a chore.  And I have to admit that I was on a mission. I was looking for a duck. And not just any old duck.

When our daughter and her husband first moved to Houston they sent us a blurred picture and a brief description of a rather unusual bird that they’d seen in Hermann Park. After some research we determined that what they’d probably come across was a whistling duck, which actually isn’t a duck at all, although it appears to be part of a subfamily that includes ducks, geese and swans. Not to be outdone and being a bit of a smart-arse, I sent them a picture, telling them that we had our own whistling ducks here in Chicago.

But this exchange of pleasantries got me thinking that if we ever visited Houston I would go in search of their whistling duck and see for myself what this bird was all about. And sure enough there, snoozing by McGovern Lake in Hermann Park, it was. It was apparently too weary to whistle but it afforded me the opportunity to get up fairly close, or as close as I was prepared to get to any bird, and capture some images. 

Having seen the whistling ducks we moved on to the Japanese Gardens where we saw some dancing turtles. At least, they appeared to be dancing.  With the temperatures at approximately 95 degrees in the shade, I imagine the rocks in the pool were getting pretty darned hot and the turtles, who were loath to give up their place in the sun, had to keep moving their feet or flippers or whatever they’re called, so as not to get scorched. These two seemed to coordinate their movements rather like dancing partners. They were soon joined by a third who wanted to get in on the act, while others watched from the bank, picking up tips on style and presentation, and another, who appeared to be the judge, got a closer view from a nearby vantage point.



Despite the heat, it was quite pleasant walking around the Japanese Gardens since much of it was in the shade. However, time and tide wait for no man and this visit, with its whistling ducks and dancing turtles, signaled our farewell to Houston as we would soon be on our way to San Antonio.