Monday, July 12, 2010

My Weekend Communing With Nature

This weekend, we spent most of our time outdoors. On Saturday, we pulled weeds, trimmed shrubs, repositioned the rocks around our pond's waterfall, and tried to kill as many Japanese beetles as possible.

We always have beautiful dragonflies and damselflies at our pond. I decided to take a break from my work and photograph two of them. This Blue Dasher was amusing, in that he always came back to land on the same daylily bud!

Blue Dasher Dragonfly

This Twelve-Spotted Skimmer darted here and there, catching insects on the wing, but tended to land on our rocks, or on the rushes in the center of the pond. Here he is on a daylily stem.

Twelve-Spotted Skimmer Dragonfly

Our "Nikko Blue" hydrangea turns a beautiful shade of blue in acidic soil. Unfortunately, the soil around here is much to alkaline, so unless I add some aluminum sulfate to the soil every year, our "blue" hydrangea turns a wimpy pinkish-purple! As you can see, this year, I forgot to amend the soil!

"Nikko Blue" Hydrangea
Nikko Blue Hydrangea

Our lilies have finished blooming...

White Lily

"PinkPixie" Lily

...but not the daylilies, garden phlox, hydrangeas, and many of our other perennials:

Monarda "Jacob Cline"
Monarda "Jacob Cline"

Monarda "Blue Stocking"
Monarda "Blue Stocking"

"Barthirtythree" Tall Garden Phlox
Phlox "Barthirtythree"

deep pink Tall Garden Phlox

White Tall Garden Phlox

"Hyperion" Daylily
Daylilies "Hyperion"

Hemerocallis fulva- Daylily
Daylilies -hemerocallis fulva

"Annabelle" Hydrangea
"Annabelle" hydrangea

Potentilla "Miss Wilmott"
Potentilla "Miss Wilmot"

Liatris spicata
Liatris spicata

Lady's Mantle
Lady's Mantle

Coreopsis "Zagreb"
Coreopsis "Zagreb"

Gooseneck Loosestrife
Gooseneck Loosestrife

Purple Coneflower
Purple Coneflowers

Fen Walk 4

On Sunday, we took a guided nature walk in a nearby fen with our friends Teresa and Kim. A fen is a wetland area where water seeps from glacial formations. Limestone gravel left by the moving glaciers below the ground makes the water alkaline.

Fen Walk 2
our guide discusses the milkweed plant

We saw some of the low areas where the seepage occurs. You have to be very careful walking in the fen, because there is quicksand!

Fen Walk 5

The ground is a floating mass of peat. We saw many types of grasses, sedges, cattails and prairie wildflowers. The fen we visited is 260 acres. Volunteers are trying to restore it to its original state. There are many species that are not native, and it's difficult to eradicate them.

Hoary Vervain-Fen Walk
Hoary Vervain

Prairie Thistle-Fen Walk
Prairie Thistle

Our guide told tales of children lost forever in the tall prairie grasses as early pioneers moved westward across America.

Fen Walk 1

We also saw interesting insects, like this Widow Skimmer dragonfly...

Widow Skimmer Dragonfly-Fen Walk

... and this beautiful Red-Spotted Purple butterfly!

'Astyanax' Red-spotted Purple Butterfly-Fen Walk

It was a great weekend, enjoying the beautiful weather in northern Illinois!

Fen Walk 3

For more information, visit Teresa's blog or Chicago Wilderness Magazine.

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Blogger The Dusty Victorian said...

Hi Pam,
Losing people in quick sands and children in
tall grasses in the fen - Yycks! How fascinating!

You have a real talent for photography Pam. Have you ever entered some of your shots in photography contest?


July 12, 2010 at 5:21 AM  
Blogger Eastlake Victorian said...

Hi Anyes-

Thank you for the nice compliment! I never did enter a photography contest. But I enjoy it immensely, and took a lot of photography classes in college years ago while working on my design degree! :-)


July 12, 2010 at 7:13 AM  
Blogger La Petite Gallery said...

you really did a beautiful post.. I love dragon flys.

I have alot of the same plants and
everything looks great because of all the rain.

July 12, 2010 at 3:41 PM  
Blogger Eastlake Victorian said...

Hi Yvonne-

I used to be afraid of dragonflies as a kid because they look so weird. But now I enjoy them.

Yes, a good rain really makes the flowers come back to life after a few hot days!


July 12, 2010 at 9:20 PM  
Blogger Terry @ La Bella Vie said...

Hi Pam, I agree with the previous post, your photgraphy is amazing! I made my husband come over to my laptop just to see your pics, they are beautiful! The Blue Dasher Dragon fly looked like he was smiling back at the camera!

Thank you for the post about the 60th anniversary. We will breathe a sigh of relief when we are done, its been an amazing undertaking (wedding like). We have power washed, re-painted our wrap around porch, scrubbed, planted flowers and painted some more! will FINALLY get to see the Eastlake bed reveal:) It is making its debut at the party along with a few other pieces we've re-done...whew, can you tell I'm wound up:0)
We are so excited to be able to do this and glad you stopped by for a sneak peak at the goings on...Stay tuned:)

July 12, 2010 at 11:26 PM  
Blogger Eastlake Victorian said...

Hi Terry-

Thank you for the nice comment! The dragonflies do turn their heads to look at you... it's kind of creepy!

Ooo, I can't wait for the Eastlake bed reveal, and what else you've done lately! It looks like your party planning is under control, but it is very draining taking on such a large event. Can't wait to see the results! :-)


July 13, 2010 at 6:57 AM  
Blogger Teresa said...

I always love to see you photos Pam! Even the one of my back there wading through the tall grasses of the fen :j


July 18, 2010 at 7:54 PM  
Blogger Eastlake Victorian said...

Hi Teresa-

Thanks! Sorry about the back shot, but I thought it showed the tallness of the grass. I wish I had gotten a shot of those really tall reeds we walked through, but I was trying not to fall off the boards!


July 19, 2010 at 7:06 AM  
Blogger Sea Witch said...

I am sea green with envy. I adore peat bog walks. So much to see and hear and smell and and and...

Sea Witch

July 28, 2010 at 8:28 AM  
Blogger Eastlake Victorian said...

Hi Sea Witch-

That was the first time I visited that bog. I'll have to go back at different times of the year to discover even more new sights, sound & smells!


July 28, 2010 at 6:54 PM  

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