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!

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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

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

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Dense stillness…

Quiet moments gazing at the wet forest floor that edges Volo Bog. Still and single in color, yet richly active with textures and diversity. Mosses, ferns, mushroom, and more….

Fern standing above the forest floor. Copyright 2015 Pamela Breitberg

Moss laden forest floor. Copyright 2015 Pamela Breitberg

Mushroom signaling damp forest floor. Copyright 2015 Pamela Breitberg

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Signature ecosystem…

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Moss laden log. Copyright 2015 Pamela Breitberg.


The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert is a story that seamlessly integrates meticulous botanical details into your knowledge base as one reads this coming-of-age love story. The uniquely original ecosystems of moss are one such topic. Walking through the forest this past fall, this scene on the forest floor reminded me of Alma Whittaker’s fascination with such ecosystems. I felt somewhat guilty not returning regularly to document the changes within.

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A giant’s story continues…

Who lives here now? Copyright 2015 Pamela Breitberg

Who lives here now? Copyright 2015 Pamela Breitberg

History is evidence of the continuity of life, even after death. Science class teaches the continuousness of the cycle of life.This big ole’ Oak Tree stopped me in my path. Stories of the past, present and future were ripening in my mind when I stopped at this mighty giant on my morning walk.

The fuzziness of the hole in bottom intrigues me; I’ve seen holes in trees before but none so thick with rotted wood or moss or animal hairs or…. it would be a comfy retreat for resident wildlife. Looking upward it appears that the tree is still alive. Dead trees are valued as hosts for other living creatures and plants; and this tree has clear confirmation of hosting vines and animals.

So if you sense a good story here I would love to read it; share your imaginations here.

Mature oak tree in the winter of it's life. Copyright 2015 Pamela Breitberg

Mature oak tree in the winter of it’s life. Copyright 2015 Pamela Breitberg

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Irony…

While cooler weather and shorter days lead to fallen leaves and trees beginning their dormancy, some life thrives. Seems like the moss thriving right now on dead wood is mocking the standing trees.

Moss carpeting a fall log. Copyright 2015, Pamela Breitberg

Moss carpeting a fall log. Copyright 2015, Pamela Breitberg

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Native fruits…

Dormancy happens in the heat of summer for some spring-blooming, native woodland plants. Leaves brown, wither, and then become a part of the forest floor. Later in summer the fruit appears. These images are of the native Jack in the Pulpit, shown May 12, 2013 (Humble Interests) with dried leaves still attached to the plant.

The fruit of the native Jack-in-the-Pulpit. Copyright 2015, Pamela Breitberg

The fruit of the native Jack-in-the-Pulpit. Copyright 2015, Pamela Breitberg

Drying leaves of Jack-in-the Pulpit. copyright 2015, Pamela Breitberg

Drying leaves of Jack-in-the Pulpit. copyright 2015, Pamela Breitberg

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Enjoying mysteries among the known…

This morning I am reminded of how little I yet have learned, how much there still is to learn. Providing background information of my natural subjects is one of my strategies to mark my passion for nature’s wonders as contagious. Today, the best I can hope for is to instill you with a sense of awe; specifically an awe in the multiplicity of Sedges. If that’s too ambitious of me, please just enjoy the pictures I share!

Caricology is the study of this large species, Sedge (carex). The identification of the sedges in these images remains a mystery to me. I’m content to know that I still haven’t learned it all; actually I’m excited to know I’m not done exploring life’s mysteries.

The Sedges alongside the riverbank were expected natives. Connecting this river with the forest through which it flowed brought together two moist loving species that do not usually mingle with each other. My eye focused on a colony of Mayapples (Podophyllum). Mayapples are woodland natives that stir folktale imaginations in my mind with each springtime encounter. Here they were sharing the forest floor with Sedges. Crouching down as I hunted for yet-to-bloom Mayapple flowers I quickly became fascinated by the stringy fuzz of these Sedges.

Mayapples and Sedges communing together. Copyright 2015 Pamela Breitberg

Mayapples and Sedges communing together. Copyright 2015 Pamela Breitberg

Sedges among the Mayapple. Copyright 2015 Pamela Breitberg

Sedges among the Mayapple. Copyright 2015 Pamela Breitberg

Sedge in Cook County Forest Preserve, Chicago. Copyright 2015 Pamela Breitberg

Sedge in Cook County Forest Preserve, Chicago. Copyright 2015 Pamela Breitberg

-Read other Mayapple posts of mine:

  • “May in April…”, April 2012
  • “Shy beauty…”, May 2013

-Illinois is host to over 200 “Sedges, grasses and non-flowering plants”: http://www.illinoiswildflowers.info/grasses/grass_index.htm .

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White with a touch of purple…

Trillium are in bloom as well as the other previously mentioned springtime woodland plants. This patch of forest held both the Great White Trillium (trillium grandiflorum) and Purple Trillium (Trillium recurvatum). Appropriately, named “Great” White Trillium’s bloom is substantially grander than the understated Purple Trillium. The first’s brilliant white stance draws one’s eyes in contrast to the purple’s blending into the woodland shade.

Tiny flower of Purple Trillium. Bloom in no larger than your finger nail. copyright 2015, Pamela Breitberg

Tiny flower of Purple Trillium. Bloom in no larger than your finger nail. copyright 2015, Pamela Breitberg

"Grand" Great White Trillium, copyright 2015 Pamela Breitberg

“Grand” Great White Trillium, copyright 2015 Pamela Breitberg

Leaves and pedals of three, copyright 2015 Pamela Breitberg

Leaves and pedals of three, copyright 2015 Pamela Breitberg

For more reading see older posts:

  • Frosted Trillium, April 2012
  • Humble interests, May 2013


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