Lilacs aren’t the only attraction in Lilacia Park in Lombard at this time of year. The tulips certainly get their share of attention and deservedly so. Seeing all these beautiful flowers reminds me that it’s probably time to replace some of the tulip bulbs that are past their prime in my garden. I always find it hard to discard any plants that have done so well in the past (it feels rather like a betrayal) but I know those bulbs, that have long ceased to put out any flowers, will have to go. Time for some new stock and fresh color. Perhaps I’ll try a few of these.
This is another one of those trips that I try not to miss; my annual visit to see the lilacs of Lombard. Lombard is famous for its lilacs, well around here, anyway. They even have a Lilac Festival which lasts from about May 1st to 19th and includes a Lilac Ball, beer and wine tasting, tours of Lilacia Park and Historical tours as well as a Mutt Strut 5k race with or without your dog. But I’m not here for all that. I’m just here for the flowers.
As I walk through the Park, memories of my mother and my home back in England combined with the perfume of the lilacs almost makes me feel faint, the nostalgia is so overwhelming.
Of course there are other flowers here as well as the lilacs and I am green with envy when I see the gorgeous Crown Imperials. I have several in my garden but they rarely flower. I see several park employees dashing about the gardens but they are in the throes of the Lilac Time plant sale and will be far too busy to discuss my plants’ shortcomings I’m sure.
The trees are in blossom too and everything just seems to come together in one spectacular Spring display. It’s breathtaking!
This is also tulip time and there are masses of tulips in Lilacia Park but it’s the lilacs that reign supreme at this very special time of year.
Since there seemed to be quite a bit of rain in the forecast, I decided that Friday would probably be the best time to visit the Morton Arboretum in Lisle for my annual dose of daffodils and magnolias. It was sunny with reasonably mild temperatures but I could see the wind was going to be a bit of a problem. These conditions require some patience, waiting for things stop dancing about.
The place is packed! Probably because The Trolls are still on display and there happens to be a plant sale going on, plus the appealing sight of daffodils and magnolias in bloom has brought people out by the hundreds. The car park is almost full when I get there and I end up pulling in next to this guy, with the hope that my car doesn’t suffer the same fate.
The magnolias are, as usual, spectacular! It’s too bad that their blossoms don’t last longer. Timing is everything when visiting for the specific purpose of seeing something at the peak of blooming and some of the pink flowers are past their best but others are just gorgeous! I love magnolias and even bought our girls magnolia charms for their bracelets this Easter.
You never know what you’re going to come across when walking down a woodland trail at the Arboretum. And it’s rather creepy, sitting among the trees, listening to them creak and groan in the wind. Looking down, I can see evidence of branches that have come crashing to the ground and hope that I’ve picked a safe spot to take a rest. And while I’m gazing around I spot a bird that I don’t think I’ve seen before. Other than the usual cast of characters, robins, sparrows, cardinals and a few others that I recognize, I have no idea what this one is, so any suggestions as to its identity are welcome.
Over at Lake Marmo everything is basking in the sunshine. A turtle paddles by, while a goose enjoys a snooze on the bank and a gigantic fish peers back at me from the gloomy depths below the bridge by Hemlock Hill.
The Troll that overlooks Daffodil Glade is in for a rude awakening. There are almost as many visitors as there are daffodils. Lots of kids rushing about, trampling the flowers underfoot. Well, you’re only young once, and I guess the temptation is probably just too great to resist. How quickly things change! I’m glad I went to the Arboretum yesterday. It’s snowing today!
One of the last things I did in March was to visit Spring Valley Nature Center in Schaumburg. I stopped on the way to visit the elk in Elk Grove Village and while I was there, almost stumbled over a nest of garter snakes.
When I arrived at Spring Valley the sun was shining although it was rather chilly, and one of the first things I noticed was that it looked as though they had been burning off some of the old growth in the field.
The smell of burning was quite strong so I figured it must have happened recently and I wondered what the chances of spotting any wildlife in the area would be. No worries! I got a nice close-up view of a water rat over by the pond.
And a little bit further along the bank I spotted this creature (not sure exactly what it was, and would welcome any suggestions.) It was very skittish and didn’t keep still for long so I was only able to get a quick shot.
Meanwhile, over at the farm, the horses and cows were enjoying the sunshine.
I was right about the controlled burning. As I was returning to the parking lot I spotted smoke rising from the far side of the trail and, hurrying in that direction, I managed to capture the last of the day’s work.
It’s rather scary to see how rapidly the fire spreads but with the experts on hand to keep things under control I felt quite safe and the fire quickly went from a raging inferno to a few wisps of smoke and some dying flames.
So with that, I said goodbye to March and today it’s Hello April. With not much sun and chilly temperatures in the forecast for the coming week I don’t anticipate doing much in the way of photography for the next few days. But there are signs of hope in the garden. Just a few colorful crocus shivering in a cold wind. Come on April! Let’s see what you can do!
Thanks for choosing this week’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge, Amy!
With the temperature at -3F and a wind chill factor of -30F, all I can do is dream of warmer days at the Chicago Botanic Garden. But as my dear old Mum, ever the optimist, always used to say, “Never mind, dear! We’re one day closer to Spring.”
For more on the Pull Up A Seat Photo Challenge at XingfuMama go to Pull up a Seat Photo Challenge 2019-Week 4
Maybe it’s because I’ve always driven by at the wrong time of day, but I had become increasingly concerned that I hadn’t seen any sign of the elk lately and feared that, owing to inevitable budget cuts, the Forest Preserve had decided to abandon the idea of maintaining the herd in Elk Grove Village. It would surely be unthinkable! But you never know, these days. I decided to stop and take a closer look.
I saw plenty of wild flowers including some red things that I think are trillium and some purple things which, as far as I’m concerned, must remain nameless. There were dozens of squirrels running about and a woodpecker was making quite a commotion up in the treetops while a few frogs gently burped in the background. Still no sign of the elk.
I walked up as far as the bridge that spans Higgins Road and then came back, keeping well to the side as some of the cyclists who use the path go speeding past dangerously fast. PLEASE! PEOPLE! Remember that pedestrians use this path too, some with small children. Almost back to the parking lot and still no sign of the elk, but then, just as it seemed like my worst fears may be realized, there they were.
Phew! What a relief! They’re still with us, looking a bit ragged as they shed their winter coats but seemingly healthy. Elk Grove Village just wouldn’t be the same without the elk!