Those that have read my blog for a while know that Snowball flowers are one of my favorite since childhood. In my garden I had a Snowball Shrub (Viburnum plicatum). The Snowballs I observe in abundance now are Snowball Hydrangea (Handrangea arborescens), a shrub with a lower profile and native to the United States of unlike the Viburnum species. Thier intricate, delicate, complicated design is truly the work of higher being.
Always the same.
A daily, minute by minute
Evidence of miracles.
Is this what some mean when they become worried about letting immigrants into our country? They do tend to forget how this country was founded. And that perhaps they became the invasive subjects when they naturalized and literally choked out the native American Indians. Or perhaps, because they know this, they fear it may happen again and they’ll become the minority. Ok, enough politics tonight…
Anyway, the Oyster Plant (Tradescantia spathacea), is a popular Florida garden plant which has become naturalized and “gone wild”.
This bit of color in the shady part of the garden was at the Bonnet House in Ft. Lauderdale.
Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia) and Poison Ivy (Toxicodendron radicans) Two of a kind, both invasive ivies found in gardens and woodlands. Poison Ivy is a bedfellow to any plants in a garden bed; but it is frequently found partnering with Virginia Creeper. The leaves are distinct. The Virginia Creeper has five leaves, each edged with many continuous teeth. Poison Ivy has the tell-tale leaves of three which have few teeth.
Their colorings and leaf sizes are very similar, so first impressions often fail to recognize these dual characters in a groundcover or ivy covered trunk. Often their difference is discovered only after passing through, when Poison Ivy’s irritating personality is revealed.
“Parthenocissus” literally means “virgin ivy”. Virginia Creeper and Poison Ivy together is another example that so often in life the innocent and the not-so innocent are intertwined.
I began my focus on the distant shoreline, across the Skokie River. It’s an inaccessible section of Forest Preserve; no bike, foot or horse trails. It’s my nature to want to go where I’m not allowed, where others have not trod. I want to explore the unexplored, which is difficult to do in our much settled Chicago area. So I veer off the bike trail and follow the foot trail which is dirt instead of paved and less traveled. It is early morning so I saw about sixty travelers (bikers, dog-walkers, hikers) along the paved bike trail, I was the only soul along the river’s edge (at least of the human kind).
Across the river showed exposed tree roots, a surprise because spring usually produces raised rivers holding winter’s melted snows and springs prolific rains spilling into the forest floor. Irises were close at the edge taking advantage of the wet environment, not yet ready to bloom. I focused on the old broken tree stump as a prominent point of interest. My ever wishful thoughts searched vainly for animal wildlife. This inaccessible area seems the perfect place to spot deer and other forest creatures, yet in twenty seven years I have yet to see any. But I admit that they are most probably deeper in this habitat, choosing not to be the people-tolerant deer that I so often observe on the trails.
Artists learn quickly that the eye is drawn to the lightest elements in the scene and use this to focus the viewer on their intended subject. I could not help but notice the morning sunlit Maple leaves on my side of the river just above me. The artist in me realigned the image and focused on these brilliantly lit leaves. The tree trunk and the distant river’s edge became the leaves’ complementing background, providing a sense of perspective.
As I enjoyed this quiet scene, rich in God’s bounty, I noticed that this latter image was showing many stages of the trees’ life cycles. The foreground leaves showed springs’ reawakening of hardy deciduous trees. The background displayed the final stages of tree life including stumps and fallen branches as well as current life in the tree roots. Somehow seeing and knowing nature’s ability to continue year after year through many and varied storms reassures me that it is right to believe that all is well and will be well in spite of life’s many trials.