Tag Archive | gardens

The Sweetest Flower of All

We recently took a road trip to Texas to celebrate the birth of our youngest granddaughter and I thought that it would be interesting to take pictures of our garden prior to leaving and compare them to how the garden looked when we returned two weeks later.

The beginning of June is the most colorful time of year in our garden and I knew we would probably miss seeing some of the flowers that were on the brink of blooming, but there were enough of them out to wish us a cheery farewell. The peonies were in full bloom and irises of all types and varieties were looking quite spectacular despite losing many to iris borers this year.


Blues and pinks and purples were well represented, with flax flowers, bluebells, salvia Caradonna, Baptisia australis, pinks, weigela, heuchera Coral Bells, Johnson’s Blue cranesbill and aquilegia all making a fine show.


The poppies, including my favorite Turkenlouis, were continuing to burst open but I figured I’d probably miss the pink Carneums.

A lot can happen in two weeks!  Apparently we had quite a bit of rain while we were gone and the weeds had taken over. There were still a few remnants of the flowers that had been blooming when we left and some that had come and gone while we were away. However, the garden was not without some fresh color.

Apart from all the weeds that have invaded every part of the garden, some of the plants that are supposed to be here have run rampant and there is also quite a bit of deadheading to be done; a lot of work ahead of us, no doubt. But all the toil will have been well worth it as we got to see the sweetest flower of all, our little Texas treasure.


 

 

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Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge – Flowers

Even without their color, these flowers look pretty amazing! Isn’t nature wonderful!  Images captured here in our garden and at the Chicago Botanic Garden.

For more on Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge go to Flowers

Our Garden – So Far

So far this year we’ve had a colorful show of flowers in our garden, with a couple of nice surprises and only one or two disappointments. The early spring bulbs in the rock garden did very well and the daffodils made a fine display.



The tulips, however, were a different story. I don’t know if it was because of the cold winter weather or if the bulbs are just getting past their best but most of the plants were stunted or just didn’t flower at all. I noticed in a couple of public gardens that they hadn’t seemed to do so well this year, so I didn’t feel too bad.  The ones that did manage to flower made up for the ones that didn’t.



Meanwhile, the lilac was a very pleasant surprise.  The shrub itself was starting to get very tall and ragged so at the end of last year I cut it right down to the ground, leaving just a couple of offshoots that I hoped might survive.  I hadn’t expected it to bloom again for at least another year or two but it put out some beautiful, fragrant blossoms.

Back in the rock garden, things continued to flower, the cushion spurge, dwarf iris Lil’ Red Devil and Japanese anemones providing a nice show.

I tried eradicating the chives from the garden last year as they were coming up everywhere, but I have to admit I was rather pleased that this bunch by the back doorstep managed to survive. I think I would have missed seeing these colorful flowers and the butterflies that they attract.

As I discovered the other day, this seemingly innocuous clump of pinks hides a massive ant hill. I must take care not to disturb it when I’m weeding this particular flower bed. I had enough trouble getting stung by the hornets last year, without getting bitten by ants!

We had a spell of very wet weather last week which produced a bumper crop of mushrooms – or whatever they are – in the lawn.

Things are drying out now and the sun, accompanied by warmer temperatures, has prompted the first iris (Lacy Snowflake) and the first poppy to bloom, while the queen of the garden, the pink Japanese tree peony continues to dazzle passersby with her beauty and fragrance.


Weekly Photo Challenge – Place in the World

Ever since I was a little kid, growing up in post World War II London, I have loved gardens. We didn’t have a garden of our own until I was seven years old but some of my earliest memories are of playing in my great-aunt’s garden and visiting my grandma’s house in Hackney.

One of the things that stands out in my mind from those early days is the heady perfume of the flowers; roses in the rain and the gorgeous scent of lilac blossoms, which is why, every year when May comes around, I head to Lombard for the Lilac Festival. I may never be able to go home again but visiting Lilacia Park at lilac time is probably the next best thing.

The timing of a visit to Lombard is everything and, although I was a bit too early to catch all the lilacs in full bloom this year, I was able to see the accompanying tulips at their best. They always have an interesting variety of these spring flowers at the park, with names such as Yellow Pomponette, Copper Image, Orange Princess and  Dream Touch.

Of course, the lilacs are the stars of the show and their heavenly scent made me feel nostalgic, thinking of Mum and how she loved to visit Lombard in May, both of us missing home and remembering the long-ago days of lilacs, primroses and bluebells in the wood.

A beautiful garden will always lift my spirits though, and with the sun shining, making the colors come alive, I quickly set about capturing these images. I guess you could say that a garden is my most favorite place in the world, no matter where we are.

For more on The Weekly Photo Challenge at The Daily Post go to Place in the World

 

Weekly Photo Challenge – The Garden Awakening

It was good to see the Chicago Botanic Garden awakening from its long winter sleep today.  Stretching its arms and giving a bit of a yawn, it welcomed us back for another year of spectacular flowers and foliage.  Everything was neat and tidy, all the winter debris cleared away and emerging tulip leaves promise a beautiful show on the Esplanade in a few weeks.

Over in the English Walled Garden, a robin watched me as I stopped to take a picture or two.

The waterfall is yet to begin its cascade down towards the lake but the birds were singing and you could almost hear Mother Nature rolling up her sleeves, spitting on her hands and murmuring, “You ain’t seen nothing yet!”

A stroll around the immaculately-kept Japanese Garden showed me that it won’t be too long before the azaleas are in bloom.  All kinds of buds were showing on the branches of shrubs and trees.

If it’s true that “the earth laughs in flowers” then it was positively giggling like a giddy schoolgirl today as hundreds of brightly-colored crocus poked their heads out of the grass in front of the Carillon Tower.

Walking back through the Sensory Garden towards Spider Island, I was filled with anticipation, thinking about all the wonderful things that the garden will have to show us in the coming months now that it is finally awake.

For more on The Weekly Photo Challenge at The Daily Post go to Awakening

Weekly Photo Challenge – Favorite Place

When Cheri Lucas Rowlands asked us for our interpretation of our favorite place for this week’s Photo Challenge, it will come as no surprise to some of you that I chose the Chicago Botanic Garden. On so many levels and for so many different reasons this is my go-to place, the place that never ceases to enchant me and to bring back so many happy memories. And where else would I go to see so much of my favorite color, purple!

No matter what time of year you visit the Garden there is always something beautiful to see. I have been here in all weathers and all conditions and there has never been a time when I’ve said I wished I’d stayed at home.

Every aspect of the place is pleasing.  Every path you take presents a different and spectacular view.  And the flowers are sensational!

Combine fantastic foliage and flowers with the appeal of various fountains, waterfalls and lakes and you have the perfect place to spend the day.

My mother adored the Garden and we spent many happy days here right up until a few weeks before she passed away. Our favorite spot in this our favorite place to visit was, perhaps not surprisingly, the English Garden, mainly because it reminded us of home and the other favorite places that we left behind so many years ago.

For more on The Weekly Photo Challenge at The Daily Post go to Favorite Place

Weekly Photo Challenge – Out of this World

After all the snow and freezing temperatures that we’ve experienced over the past few months, it was nice to catch a welcome break when the sun came out and things warmed up sufficiently for us to take an almost leisurely stroll at the Chicago Botanic Garden this week.

Add to that the pleasure of seeing the ‘Asia in Bloom’ orchid show and it turned out to be a most enjoyable day.  As always, the Garden has done a splendid job of displaying these gorgeous blooms.

Each year, the show has a slightly different theme that gives it a fresh appeal and affords the photographer a chance to capture a whole new array of images.

Of course, the orchids are the main attraction and the colors and shapes are truly out of this world, reminding us that nature is indeed a miraculous gift for all to enjoy.

 

The show is open through March 25th so I hope you’ll take the opportunity to visit if you’re in the area.  For more on The Weekly Photo Challenge at The Daily Post go to Out of This World