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.
After the recent spate of b/w photography it’s nice to get back to some colorful images with Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge which this week focuses on spring/wood. The photo files are bursting at the seams with spring pics but I thought I would keep to three different venues that have provided some great opportunities for photographing this seasonal subject.
What better place to start our spring tour than in the woods at the Morton Arboretum in Lisle, Illinois. These pictures were taken last year but it won’t be long before the daffodils are blooming among the trees once again.
Our next stop is at the Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe, Illinois. A wonderful place to visit at any time of year, the Garden looks especially pretty in its spring colors.
On a more rustic note, our last port of call is at Spring Valley Nature Center in Schaumburg, Illinois.
Spring, for me, heralds the beginning of work in the garden. After sitting around all winter waiting for the snow to clear and imagining how things will look once the flowers start to appear, now is the time to get out there and help things along with all the usual gardening chores; weeding, planting, deadheading and grass cutting to name but a few.
It’s surprising how quickly the garden comes to life in the Spring. With a little more daylight each day, gradually warming temperatures and a few rain-showers the flower beds quickly burst into color.
But this is just the beginning. With many more blooms to appear you have to stay ahead of the game; chasing off rabbits, pulling dandelions, pruning, digging, mulching and watering. Gardening is hard work! But when you see the results it makes everything worthwhile.
And to share that love of nature is even more rewarding. Little granddaughter takes after her grandma and enjoys helping take care of the flowers. Spring is here and we are ready for another year in the garden.
The tulips are just starting to bloom in our garden but, a few weeks ago, visitors to the Flower and Garden Show at Navy Pier in Chicago were treated to an eye-popping preview of some of the stunning varieties that are growing in the area this year.
Spring was definitely in the air when I went to the Morton Arboretum in Lisle the other day. The magnolias were in full blossom and the perfume was just heavenly.
Tree swallows (?) were checking out the nesting boxes with a view to setting up house in Daffodil Glade. And who could blame them. The Glade is looking at its best at this time of year.
The willow trees were sporting bright, fluffy catkins which stood out beautifully against the clear, blue sky. The fresh air felt wonderful after all those weeks stuck indoors during the winter. I love the Spring! No mosquitoes and unbearable heat. If only it could be like this all year round!
Hooray! This is what it looks like at Spring Valley now that the snow has almost completely gone. So much that lay hidden for so many weeks and months has been uncovered and life is getting back to normal.
I feel like embracing the whole of the great outdoors on a day like today! It feels so good to get out in the fresh air without being encumbered by heavy coats, scarves and gloves. After the winter we have just experienced I can fully appreciate every little sign of life that I come across on my way around the nature center even if it’s only a bird’s feather or a patch of lichen on a fallen tree branch.
Along the way I passed this bonfire, part of a controlled burn that is carried out intermittently at Spring Valley. Someone was busy clearing fallen branches and twigs, making way for new growth among the trees.
Now that the snow has melted it has left a lot of soggy areas but even these are a welcome sign that Spring may finally be here.
Plenty of activity at the farm as workers prepare fields and enclosures, getting them ready to receive visitors for the first of many events held here during the coming months.
Walking along the path leading away from Volkening Heritage Farm I heard a slithering among the fallen leaves and spotted this garter snake, just one of the many creatures beginning to stir now that the weather has taken a turn for the better.
Of course, I might have known all this was too good to be true. Although the temperatures climbed all the way to 68F today, they are due to plummet back down to the 40’s in a day or two. But I enjoyed this welcome respite from the cold and made the most of the opportunity.
Continuing with the lilac theme, whenever these flowers start to bloom in my garden I make a point of heading over to Lilacia Park in Lombard, Illinois. Lombard is famous for its lilacs, although one wonders about the advisability of holding a festival and parade centered around a blossom that is so short-lived, especially at such an unpredictable time of the year.
Because of the crazy weather we’ve had so far this spring, the flowers are already starting to turn brown and the parade is scheduled for May 20th which could possibly mean they may have to break out the silk flowers in order to celebrate “Lilac Time in Lombard.”
The lilac festival and parade has been held every year since 1930 but even if you aren’t able to get to the celebrations I highly recommend a visit to Lilacia Park to see the flowers. Despite everything being ahead of time this spring, it isn’t too late to enjoy the beauty and perfume of the lilacs.
Of course there is more to the park than just the lilacs. Right now there are still some daffodils in bloom and plenty of tulips. I’ve never been there at any other time of year but I’m sure there must be other flowers to see. (Note to self; I must go back in a few month’s time when the peonies are out.) Today there were numerous robins scratching about in the mulch looking for something tasty for breakfast and several glossy, black grackles were filling the air with their raucous calls.
This morning as I walked through the park I tried not to feel too maudlin. Last year I made this same annual pilgrimage, just 6 months after my mother had passed away, and cried all the way round. It was always one of her favorite outings and every year she would say, “I’m so glad I got to see this one more time.” Now I’m thinking the same thing.