FUN scary night…

I don’t share many “people” images, but thought those not in Chicago might enjoy seeing how one section of Chicago celebrated Halloween last night. Halsted Street’s 22nd Annual Halloween Parade begins with a flash mob doing Thriller. It was a celebratory, unusual warm 50’s, so prime party weather which brought out MANY participants and viewers. This parade is adult oriented; multiple events for children happened over the past weekend. Because sometimes adult need to play!! ALL images copyright 2018 Pamela Beitberg

A native of everywhere…

A common, which means favorite, summer bloom in Chicago is the Coreopsis. Today I learned it’s also Florida’s state wildflower! Plus it’s a native to Missious as well; it certainly gets around! That means coreopsis is my new favorite wildflower because it connects with each of my worlds. Copyright 2018 Pamela Breitberg

Return of cool…

The ever fascinating Pansy (think Disney movies) is aflower favored in Autumn as well as Spring gardens because it tolerates cool temperatures. Copyright 2018 Pamela Breitberg

Pretty Petunia…

This is a common plant for window boxes and planters at outdoor dining venues in Chicago. Always beloved Petunia; sometimes over-planted but always selected to brighten the scene.

Planted here, contrasting with red Begonias this Petunia’s trumpet shape is captivates many an insect. Copyright 2018 Pamela Breitberg

The more traditional view of Petunias show their colors that seem to radiate from their inner core.. A common, traditional favorite. Copyright 2018 Pamela Breitberg

Hardy persistence…


As most plants begin dormancy this vine resiliently bloomed, wrapping itself around a front yard iron fence for support. I believe this a Mandavilla vine, not hearty to our Midwest winter , so even more impressive it was still in bloom. Perhaps the concrete micro-environment helped warm it’s roots. Copyright 2017 Pamela Breitberg

Buds show possible future blooms this end-of-autumn season. Copyright 2017 Pamela Breitberg

A Cosmos universe…

Cosmos copyright 2013 Pamela Breitberg

Cosmos copyright 2013 Pamela Breitberg

Cosmos are always a favorite annual of mine. Their delicate yet lofty presence comes to life as they dance in the garden courtesy of any gentle breeze. I’m unsure what the accompanying golden background plant is because I was overwhelmed by the sea of Cosmos at Chicago Botanic Garden. Natives of Mexico, some Cosmos were brought back to Spain by visiting Spaniards, then found their way to England and finally back to North America’s U.S. They have worked their way into a universe of hearts.

Otherwise known as…

When the leaves emerged under our bird feeder I was expecting a tall brilliant sunflower later in the summer, just like last year. It had grown six feet tall, with a stem strong enough to maintain an erect stance. Instead of one massive head there was a progression of blooms, each about the size of my open hand. I felt this beauty a thank you gift from the birds for having supplied them a source of sustenance all year, though my brain told me it was a random seed that was untouched on the ground long enough to germinate and reach its full potential. Instead what emerged was a dandelion like cluster of leaves, but larger than the average dandelion leaf, so I was intrigued and allowed it to grow so that I could see its true identify.

Slowly a thin green stalk began growing, growing, growing up along the post of the bird feeder, somewhat bent as if unsure what it was suppose to do with its slender new length. Then another leggy stalk and finally a third grew, each bending awkwardly in the air, not using the post as support, appearing to have difficulty standing tall like last year’s sunflower. The stalks were leafless, and squared instead of round. I was intrigued at this assumed weed and let it continue its maturation.

Chicory flower and buds copyright 2012 Pamela Breitberg

Then one morning, as I walked past, I saw a faint blue on one of the regularly occurring nodules along the stalk. “Aha, a Cornflower”, I thought. I was happy because I’ve always liked the Cornflower’s flower, a blue, daisy-like beauty. Yet it’s considered a weed being found prevalently along roadsides, so I would never purposely introduce it to my cultivated perennial garden. Goldenrod is one of those species maligned as a weed, yet it is a native prairie plant and so that I am proud to have had it “volunteer” as part of my garden design. Cornflower would have to find its way into my garden on its own if it were ever to allow me to count it as part of my habitat. And I was pleased it was gracing this spot. I’m unsure how it arrived; I don’t think it’s an ingredient in the bird seed mixture, so it must have arrived via wind or one of the numerous two or four legged visitors through our yard.

I mentioned this new addition to my mother who gently reminded me that she considered the plant Chicory and thought Cornflower a different species than what I was observing. My mother is a gardening and plant enthusiast, whose expertise obviously spans more years than mine. She’s also confident in her knowledge leading her to use to her honed internet skills to find verification of her identification for this plant. I humbly admit that the name of my guest plant is indeed Chicory, though one of its other names is sometimes Cornflower. However the more common use of the name, Cornflower, is for a plant I call Bachelors Button. Chicory (Cichorium intybus) it is; my cornflower, is officially listed as a noxious Eurasian weed in Colorado. In contrast the more accepted species known as Cornflower (Centaurea cyanu) which I know as Bachelors Button is an annual often cultivated for cut flowers; in others words a welcome plant in the garden. I do not dislike the Bachelors Button, but as it is difficult to unlearn what one has already learned (ah, the rebellious child in me is rising up) I will continue to refer to this Chicory as my Cornflower and hope that it shares space with the other species while it inhabits my garden space. …..Love you mom!!

Chicory copyright 2012 Pamela Breitberg