Great (American)…

The Great Egret aka American Egret. No political comment being said; just sharing a few more images from yesterday’s post.

Great Egret hunting in the Everglades. This is a long lens image of the same scene in yesterday’s post. Copyright 2018 Pamela Breitberg

American Egret can be identified from other Egrets with its black feet and yellow beak. *The brilliant green color in front of the eyes is part of the breeding season changes.” Copyright 2018 Pamela Breitberg Citation: *Florida’s Fabulous Waterbirds by W. Williams


Freedom to bind…

This is a member of the lovely vining Morning Glory family, opening its blossoms as the morning light highlights its beauty. However, this species is one of those non-native, Eurasian varieties that is a dreaded invasive visitor in American gardens. Known as Field Bindweed (Convolvulus arvensis) I enjoyed taking its portrait during a morning bike ride along a Lake Michigan pathway in Lincoln Park, far from any cultivated gardens. They appeared a fair distance from a prairie restoration area and were isolated from the golf course by a stone wall making their appearance more tolerable to the native purist. This Bind Weed did emulate its name wrapping around other vegetation proliferating this informal, unplanned area of horticulture.

Portrait of an invader (pretty but unfriendly). Copyright 2017 Pamela Breitberg

Catching the sunlight. Copyright 2017 Pamela Breitberg

Busy morning on the Bind Weed Morning Glory. Copyright 2017 Pamela Breitberg


Heritage confusion…

Japanese Anemone copyright 2013 Pamela Breitberg

Japanese Anemone copyright 2013 Pamela Breitberg

This favorite flower of mine, The Japanese Anemone, turns out to have been misnamed. Its heritage turns out to be Chinese, later it wandered from Japanese gardens and naturalized there hundreds of years ago. I’m unsure if these images are of A. hupehensis var. japonica or A. ¥hybrida the two fall blooming species that can easily naturalize in my Midwest American perennial garden. But I look forward to their delicate flowers toward the end of each summer all the while knowing their arrival also means that summer days are waning.

It seems appropriate to allow, actually choose, non-native perennials in my garden. I live in the famed “melting pot”, the United States where heritage is celebrated but also more and more hybrid with each generation. I am hybrid myself of German, English (though Irish was found further down that tree) with some Alsace Lorraine (which could have come from France or Germany). My students boast they are Mexican but when talking with them they have shared that parents and/or grandparents came from many other countries before arriving in Mexico. Makes me wonder at what point a family claims a country as their “own”. When do family members change from being “immigrants” or “aliens” to “natives”?

Fall blooming Japanese Anemone copyright 2013 Pamela Breitberg

Fall blooming Japanese Anemone copyright 2013 Pamela Breitberg

I will not go into the politics of acceptability except to say that tolerance is debated by both plant experts and citizens, of whom both, plants and people, are at their core non-natives. Any confusion of heritage is actually evidence of prosperous variety that ensures continual freshness in our experiences and vistas. Celebrate whoever you are.

For more information on the Japanese Anemone found in the Chicago region:

to know a lady….

American Painted Lady 1 copyright 2012 Pamela Breitberg

This lady prefers to be alone; she’s not the social butterfly. So when you spot her you are unlikely to see anyone else like her. Look for a white dot in the orange area on the inside of both top wings because the two large eyespots on each lower wing aren’t enough of an identifier to be sure it’s her. She winters in the south, sometimes as far south as Central America. Her summer home this year is my garden. I consider her, an American Painted Lady
(Vanessa virginiensis), a rare visitor in my yard though she is not included on any endangered list for Illinois or the Midwest. Her eyespots remind me of the Buckeye butterfly, a regularly seen childhood favorite of mine which is also officially not endangered, but I sure haven’t seen in years.

American Painted Lady 2 copyright 2012 Pamela Breitberg


American Painted Lady 3 copyright 2012 Pamela Breitberg

A very similar species is “The Painted Lady is most similar and can easily be confused with the American Lady from a distance. Below, this species has two large spots on the hindwing, while the Painted Lady has four smaller spots. Above, the American Lady has thinner and fewer black lines in the forewing, and therefore has a more open appearance than the Painted Lady” from

For more information on this other favorite of mine, the Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) look at these prior posts:

  • You’ve got personality….
  • Two of a kind…
  • Berries and barbs in winter…