Flaming into Spring…

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.

Flame of the Forest” is another name for the African Tulip Tree. Copyright 2018 Pamela Breitberg

Natural bouquets of Tulips; a little difficult to collect. Best observed uncut. Copyright 2018 Pamela Breitberg

The rims of the petals are fringed appearing more orange than the rest of the bloom. Copyright 2018 Pamela Breitberg

Eventually, like all blooms the petals rest of the Earth. Here petals are accompanied by a Blue Dasher Dragonfly. It was a fun surprise evident only upon reviewing my saved images. Copyright 2018 Pamela Breitberg

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A different naked lady…

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.

Close up of sunlit petals. Copyright 2017 Pamela Breitberg

Vibrant autumn color. Copyright 2017 Pamela Breitberg

Prolific blooms. Copyright 2017 Pamela Breitberg

Garden bouquet of flowering fall bulbs. Copyright 2017 Pamela Breitberg

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Portrait of Chicago…

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.

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Hardy resilience…

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!


Snow toppled Daffodils. Copyright 2016 Pamela Breitberg

White Daffodil under frosted snow. Copyright 2016 Pamela Breitberg

White Daffodil in the sunshine after the storm. Copyright 2016 Pamela Breitberg

Yellow Daffodil weighed down with snow. Copyright 2016 Pamela Breitberg


Hardy return of Daffodil’s blossoms. Copyright 2016 Pamela Breitberg

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Memories in bloom…

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.

Faithful Crocus Copyright 2016 Pamela Breitberg

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Glory of the spring…

Chipmunk enjoying spring's warming. copyright 2015 Pamela Breitberg

Chipmunk enjoying spring’s warming. copyright 2015 Pamela Breitberg

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.

Glory of the Snow rises from the warming Earth. copyright 2015, Pamela Breitberg

Glory of the Snow rises from the warming Earth. copyright 2015, Pamela Breitberg

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Cool spring hues…

First Crocus of spring copyright 2014 Pamela Breitberg

First Crocus of spring 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.


Cool colors of spring, copyright 2014 Pamela Breitberg

Cool colors of spring, copyright 2014 Pamela Breitberg

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