Another eye-catching spring blooming tree is the African Tulip Tree (Spathadea campanulata). The bright red/orange tulip shape blooms appear in clusters up to 80ft. high above the place one usually admire Tulips.
My southern sisters are proud of their Naked Ladies (Amaryllis Belladonna), while here in Chicago the Autumn Crocus (Colchicum autumnale) is our “Naked Lady”. Both gained their nickname because when the flowers are in bloom their leaves already have become dormant, so are no longer present. These bulb beauties were at Lincoln Park Zoo several weeks ago and drew attention from the Lion Den.
These Allium are ornamental yet apropos to be a statement in Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo. These Allium are a variety of onion. Chicago means “wild onion”, so fitting they are among the wild animals.
The single bright bloom is complemented by the just-past-prime flowers surrounding it, keeping attention on itself.
Tough and strong are not the usual adjectives used to describe Daffodils, yet they perfectly describe their nature. Their bulbs are considered lasting in the garden because they are ignored by squirrels who prefer to dig up tulip bulbs. My focus on these spring beauties is on their stem and flowers’ resilience. Warm days followed by snow are typical of Chicago’s springtime weather. This can test both the heartiest Midwesterner as well as spring blooming plants who all seek the warmth and cheer of springtime sunshine.
Over the years I have learned to resist running outside to rescue daffodils lying on the ground frozen in a coat of white. It seemed a kindness to cut them, place them in a vase filled with warm water, and set them nearby to ensure their beauty would last a few more days. I underestimated their resilience.
These images show their falling blooms under the weight of fresh snow and ice followed by their return to upright stance and brilliance the following storm-free day. This analogy serves me well when I feel that trials are weighing me down. They may melt away in time if I stay strong. This spring these blooms have survived three consecutive rounds of sun and snow followed by more sun. Wow!
Springtime represents many new, fresh things: rebirth, fresh starts, happier days, youth, hope. I have been negligent in my blog posts this winter due mostly to multiple major projects happening at the same time in my life. I am humbled finding that during my absense I have increased in “likes” and followers. I admit that your positive responses inspire me to keep posting since my purpose of this blog is to share nature’s wonders.
The Crocus in the foreground has appeared each spring in my posts. It was the first bulb planted when we bought our home 30 years ago and it faithfully brightens spirits when winter’s toll has me yearning for a sign of spring. This avid gardeners has planted more Crocus over the years. But this one old Crocus holds a special place in my heart each time it re-appears. Seeing an old, fathful friend offers a warmth that new discoveries cannot quite match.
I’m thinking “glory of no snow” as temperatures reach the 60s today. This morning a chipmunk peaked its head outside its hole and surveyed springtime. The ground level perspective of Glory of the Snow (Chionodoxa luciliae)
yields a feeling of strength for these dainty blooms. These bulbs are hardy, surviving many northern winters. They rise through the yet-to-recover, evergreen Pachysandra groundcover. In a month, snow and the Glory of the Snow will be faint memories as perennial growths elevate summer’s arrival.
Daffy Daffodil copyright 2014 Pamela Breitberg
Winter white scenes have been replaced with spring cool vistas of blue sky and pale purple crocus. Cool hues are calming and peaceful. This spring is especially welcome as it signals the end of many treacherous days of extreme cold and snow in Chicago.
One worry I did not have this winter was whether this twenty eight year old bulb would reappear. The record breaking snows were a warm sheltering blanket from the equally record breaking number of below zero days; a natural protector for bulbs and perennials. The bud waited two full days for April showers to pause, and opened this morning to greet the sun and to warm my spirit.