Tag Archive | seasons

Weekly Photo Challenge – Transformation

The subject for the Weekly Photo Challenge this week is Transformation and, going through the photo files, I find that I can do no better than to show the transformation that years, seasons and even time of day can bring to one of my most favorite places to visit, the Chicago Botanic Garden. I’ve chosen three specific areas to demonstrate these transformations; The Japanese Garden, along the Esplanade and inside the English Walled Garden.

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


A Year At The Chicago Botanic Garden


My membership at the Chicago Botanic Garden is the one membership that I use most regularly, unlike the one I have for the local gym that I feel obliged to purchase for the sake of my health but is used far less than it should, or the one for the zoo that only seems to get an airing when the grandkids visit.

There’s always something new to see at the Garden and every season weaves its own special kind of magic. If I lived just a little nearer I would probably be there every day. As it is, I visit as often as I can and always come away with lots of pictures.

A year at the garden

In the early months of the year, a visit to the greenhouses helps to keep the winter blues at bay. After a walk from the car park in the bitter cold of a Chicago winter, the warmth of the greenhouses is very welcome and the orchids and other flowers and plants help to brighten a dull day.

A year at the garden 2

In the spring the Garden bursts into bloom and visitors are treated to a spectacular show of flowers especially in the area of The Esplanade and The Heritage Garden.

A year in the garden 3

Later, in the summer, The Rose Garden is seen to its best advantage and the heady perfume of hundreds of roses fills the air.

A year at the garden 4

Another feature of summer in the Garden is the butterfly display. Airy creatures that are so elusive in the wild are right there at our fingertips to admire and photograph.

A year at the garden 5

As the months go by and the year winds down, there is still plenty of color in the Garden. Enthusiastic gardeners will have been making notes throughout the year, getting ideas and forming plans for their own gardens. Others just come to gaze in awe at this jewel in its North Shore setting.

A year at the garden 6

Autumn provides a final splash of color in the Garden before we find ourselves back in the grip of winter. But not to worry! There’s always next year to look forward to.

A year at the garden 7

Autumn Leaves

I just love the colors of Autumn!

I prefer the word Autumn to the American term of Fall. Autumn conjures up visions of fiery red and golden yellow leaves, tawny grass and orange pumpkins. Fall, on the other hand, merely summons up a picture of me lying sprawled on my back on the ice last winter. It’s such a negative word! You can be heading for a fall, watch the stock prices fall (as my husband is always pointing out to me), fall out with people or fall by the wayside. No, I think I’ll stick to Autumn!

Every year I make my Autumn pilgrimage to the Morton Arboretum and I realized recently, looking back on all the photos that I’ve ever taken there, that I’m shooting the same scene, the same tree year after year. But its not the same, is it. Oh, it’s the same trunk, the same branches, maybe a bit bigger than the year before, but the leaves are different. They’re not the same leaves that were there last year. A new party frock, granted the same color but seen in perhaps a slightly different light, a little gaudier than last Autumn or a tad more subdued depending on the weather.

I’ve tried to vary my Autumn shots to include close-ups of leaves on the ground, floating on water, clinging to life on the end of a twig, swirling through the air or patterned against a clear blue sky.  The trick is to take them so they don’t look too contrived. And to be honest, some of them are. Nature doesn’t always look the way we would like it to and there are times when you have to improvise. I remember my dear mother standing off-camera, hurling armfuls of leaves into the air while I tried to catch them on film floating gracefully to the ground, exhorting her to “Chuck ‘em up higher! HIGHER!!”

But it’s not just how the leaves look in Autumn that is so captivating. It’s the sound they make too. The crunch as you kick through them on a walk through the woods, the rustling, skittering noise they make as the wind blows them hither and yon, the swish as you rake them into a pile on the side of the road to await collection by the village vacuum cleaner.

Buy a kid the most expensive toys and they won’t have half as much fun with them as playing in a drift of crackling Autumn leaves.

Soon they’ll all be gone but isn’t it nice to know that in the Spring the cycle will begin all over again and we can look forward to a new harvest of Autumn leaves.