Wednesday, June 24, 2009

ABC Wednesday: Wandering W's . . .

This Week's ABC Wednesday post is brought to you, appropriately enough, by the letter W.

W is for the Windy City, a fond nickname for the great city of Chicago. Fortunately, when I visited Chicago for Spring Fling at the end of May, there was only a gentle breeze and the temperatures were just right for sightseeing. Before the Chicago skyline was highlighted by skyscrapers and the city and its suburbs sprawled across most of the northeast corner of the state of Illinois, much of this area might have looked like this . . .

. . . or perhaps like this . . .

Both of these photos were taken near my home much further downstate at Meadowbrook Park in Urbana, Illinois, an ideal place for a walk. However, today was not a good day to walk as temperatures have been in the 90's here with humidity levels making it feel even hotter. A quick walk to the closest areas for good photos, and then it was back to the air-conditioned car!

The first photo of Meadowbrook was taken of a large Prairie Restoration area where Wildflowers are just coming into bloom. This area was burned off in late winter much like the natural prairie fires of long ago, and vegetation has reappeared. By July the prairie flowers should be in full bloom.

The second Meadowbrook photo was taken of the shaded Wildflower Garden, where most of the spring wildflowers have stopped blooming for the season. But a few flowers are just coming into their own, like the Prairie Coneflower.

To some, these wildflowers may look like Weeds, and, in fact, this common wild daisy (specific name unknown, sorry) is often pulled out when it grows in unwanted places.

W is also for weeds, of which I have plenty. But this Butterfly Weed is one I purposely planted and am happy to have growing in my garden. This Asclepias Tuberosa has tripled in size since last year; this is also the first year it has bloomed. Hopefully, it will attract many butterflies before the end of the season.

While the butterflies have been scarce so far this summer, other Winged insects have been abundant. The honeybees and bumblebees have definitely found my garden.

And it must have been serendipity that this morning I saw another of my favorite Winged creatures, the first dragonfly of the year. With their gossamer wings, I find them very hard to photograph; for some truly beautiful photos of these gorgeous creatures, you need to visit Q's Corner. Another favorite winged creature, the hummingbird, has been visiting of late, but it may take me all summer to capture one photograph of that elusive bird!

For more ABC posts, do visit the collection posted here. And stay cool!


  1. You take some marvellous photos, from that magnificent Windy City curve...... right down to the dragonfly!
    And only you could make a weed look so appealing!

  2. Wow!! What a great post. Beautiful photo's and great "W" text to go along with it.
    We have had nothing but rain and cooler temps. here in New England. I wish we could split the differance in our weather.

  3. What a Wonderful Winged Write-up done on Wednesday.

  4. Nice post. My daughter is in Chicago this month and next...she was telling how hot it is. Love the wildflower meadow with all your "W"s.

  5. wonderful images

    Thank you for participating in ABC Wednesday!

  6. W is also for Wonderful post. By the way your weed daisy is probably a fleabane, Erigeron sp.

    Stay cool and drink lots of Water, it is going to be another hot one!

    Carol, May Dreams Gardens

  7. So many W's! Fantastic photos, Rose. I love drangonfly photos and yours looks awesome.

  8. Rose Girl ! .. You hear so many things about Chicago, but gardens are never given the publicity they deserve there ?
    Yes .. amazing how many important plants in the ecosystem look like weeds ? LOL
    I have the Butterfly weed as well .. along with so many plants they love but I have yet to get one to live and cycle through on one of those plants.
    I too LOVE dragonfly creatures .. we have a few buzz through here and we appreciate them eating the mosquitoes ! LOL

  9. Hi Rose, a stimulating array of W words have been presented here, all relative and pertinent. I give you an A+.


  10. That park looks like a nice place to walk. I haven't seen too many winged insects of any kind at my place. That might explain why my cucumbers aren't blooming.

  11. Wonderful Illinois photos as you wandered! We lived in Chicago for 14 yrs and my daughter has made her home there.
    Nice visit to your blog. Thanks for sharing!

  12. My dear I love the W's...wildflowers, winged creatures, Windy City and walks! Wonderful! Have a delicious mid Week....gailgail

  13. You make W sound pretty awesome. Illinois is a very nice state with all that prairieland.

  14. Hi Rose, it's great to see so many areas doing prairie restoration. You got some good photos, I love your dragonfly. Haven't seen many butterflies in my area either. Until recently guess it's been too wet and cold.

  15. Beautiful as always! I do love visiting your garden.Thank you.

    That mirrored building in Chicago looks amazing. Is it just a sculpture or does it house something?

  16. Beautiful photos with great Ws..I love the first shot with the mirror reflection...

  17. Some great photos there. You give nature, and Chicago, a great feel.

  18. Wonderful! Thanks for sharing your photos. Is it hot and humid there now too?!

  19. What a cool shot the first one. Awesome! I like the mirrorbuilding :)

  20. Maggie May, Thank you; I am definitely just an amateur photographer. I showed you only the pretty weeds:)

    Hip Chick, Thanks for visiting; I would be glad to "split the difference" in our weather:)

    Lisa, You're very alliterative today:) Is it just as hot at your house?

    Janet, It's been so hot here. I'm hoping to visit the prairie park more often to capture it when it really blooms.

    Magiceye, Thanks for dropping by.

    Carol, Thanks for the wildflower; I didn't have time to research it. I spent an hour in the shade garden this morning and came in drenched in sweat. I'm staying inside the rest of the day!

    Chandramouli, This turned out to be one of my better dragonfly shots; they really are hard to photograph.

    Joy, the gardens I pictured are actually near my home, three hours south of Chicago. But Chicago does have wonderful gardens! I haven't seen many butterflies here yet; I hope they come and find all the goodies I've planted for them.

    Frances, Why thank you for the top grade:) W is actually a pretty easy letter, I discovered.

    Susie, It's a great place to walk, but unfortunately I don't take advantage of it as much as I should.

  21. Nonizamboni, Chicago is a great city, but Minneapolis is one of my favorites...except in winter:)

    Gail, it's been very Warm here; not much is getting done in the garden this week.

    Tina, Not much original prairie remains in Illinois, but more and more places are creating small areas with native prairie plants.

    Marnie, I've been wondering myself where all the butterflies are. Maybe with this heat they will come to visit.

    Suburbia, I included a photo of "Cloud Gate," or "the Bean" as it's often called on a couple of earlier posts about visiting Chicago. It's a piece of artwork that I assume is hollow inside. It certainly draws the attention of every visitor.

    Carol, Thanks; I liked that effect on the artwork, too.

    Anthony North, Thanks, and thanks for visiting!

    Monica, It's been downright miserable here. Not much gardening is getting done right now.

    Birgitta, "Cloud Gate" must be one of the most photographed places in downtown Chicago; you can't resist taking a picture of it.

  22. Dear Rose,
    Thank you for the link!
    I love the bugs and am very, very fond of wings!
    Your Dragonfly photograph turned out very nice.
    Stay cool it is too hot to go walking here. I am drinking plenty of water.

  23. I always enjoy your ABC Wednesday posts Rose. You found some great topics for the letter W today. :) Love the wildflowers & winged creatures.

  24. Aww, I miss seeing flea-bane. All of us townies have managed to eradicate it, but there was a lot of it when I was a child.
    I'm heading off to see the Chicago Botanical Gardens tomorrow, inspired by you and your friends!

  25. Hi Rose....I would love to see that meadow in full bloom. So please to hear that the old methods have been used. Music to my ears....the old ways are often the best.....

    Good to know the bees are visiting your garden.....we all need to keep an eye on our bees and make sure numbers are up each year.....
    I have been so pleased to read on blogs that many gardeners are planting for wildlife. Wonderful...

    Beautiful dragonfly.......the first of many visitors I am sure.
    I am looking forward to seeing your mantis...these creatures captivated me last year, I loved them......

  26. You saved the best for last, IMO: I love the dragonfly photograph!

  27. Great photos! The first and last photos, especially are terrific! Good catch on the dragonfly!

  28. Wow,there are a lot of great "W" words. Thanks for sharing.

  29. Chicago is a Great city, which we only had chance of visiting it a few times. Your first photo is amazing. But the other photos showed us the real IL. Thanks for sharing.

  30. Your wildflower pictures turned out great even with the sun. if it would coll off a little I would like to see them this year. Last year when we finally got there, they were mostly gone.

    i always enjoy your ABC post-seeing how many words you can come up with that start with the weeks letter. And of course enjoying how well you work them into the theme of the post. :)

    Your bee and dragonfly photos are wonderful! We really need to go looking for frames for some of our photos. I promise, I won't enable you if you don't me.

  31. Thta's an amazing 'thing' in the first photo! Overall though I think I prefer the scenery as it might have been.

    It's thanks to you that i have become more observant on my walks and appreciative of the wild flowers or weeds.

  32. Wonderful writing! I've noticed the dragonflies returning up here as well, which is welcome!

  33. Sherry, My dragonfly photos can't compare to yours! Drinking lots of water is a good idea right now--yesterday it was 96 here.

    Racquel, I'm always happiest when I can think of garden-related posts for this meme. W turned out to be pretty easy.

    Joyce, I am so envious--have fun at the Botanic Garden! I hope you have allowed plenty of time and take lots of water along. It's going to be another scorcher.

    Cheryl, In the last 10 years I have seen more concern for wildlife and restoring natural habitats than in years past. I should do a post on this sometime... I'm still looking for the first mantis in my garden!

    Cindy, Dragonflies are so hard to photograph for me, but this one was being very cooperative.

    Karyn, Thanks and thanks for dropping by!

    Reader Wil, W turned out to be easier than I thought.

    Grace and Bradley, Chicago is much different than the "real" Illinois. Lots of wide open spaces with fields of grain. Hope you get a chance to visit us!

    Beckie, I didn't find many blooms in the wildflower garden; I wonder if they were mostly spring bloomers. We'll have to take a walk one day in Meadowbrook...definitely when it's cooled off.

    Liz, Thank you for quite a compliment! Actually, I became more observant of nature after starting blogging--I have to give credit to others, too.

    Rose, I thought we would have many more dragonflies than we've had, since we had such a wet spring.

  34. Wow ... wonderful post, Rose! Like you, I'm wilting in this oppressive heat ...

  35. I'm impressed that you ventured out to take photos in this disgusting heat & humidity. You've got some great shots. I especially like the dragonfly.

  36. Cool sculpture and amazing photo! I love your country shots too. It’s hard to imagine Chicago as anything but urban. I hope things have cooled down for you.

    You know I love wildflowers – I was hoping when I saw the “W” and was not disappointed. That dragonfly shot is fabulous – I’ve never captured one on film.

  37. Forgot to add: sorry to be so slow to visit. I just got back from England.

  38. What a lovely post! I love the first photo, but have no idea what it is!

    The pictures of your area are gorgeous, too. Weeds - wildflowers - they're the same thing, aren't they?

  39. I've been in the Windy City in the winter when the temps were below freezing and the wind whips off the lake--chilling! I love all the pics of the wildflowers. I think the prairie restoration is such a wonderful thing. Your winged pics were all so lovely--especially the dragonfly. Have a Wonderful Weekend contemplating more W's.

  40. I love how beautiful some weeds can be! I planted a coneflower in a pot for my balcony garden, and my cat is crazy for it. (And I don't even have a flower yet -- just buds.) I live in Chicago and what I wouldn't give for a little breeze this week ;-)

  41. Rose I have been to that windy city of Chicgago..I'm impressed with the reflection photo! Good one!
    If I could I'd have a house in the woods surrounding myself with every wildflower imaginable!LOTS of MILKWEED for sure so I could watch the miracle of the Monarchs!!I love your dragon fly...he's a wonderful capture! Enjoy today in your garden.
    hugs aNNa

  42. Joey and MMD, I hope it has finally cooled off for you as it has here today (Sunday).

    Sarah, I have more wildflower photos I hope to show another day. Welcome back!

    Jay, The first photo is a sculpture called "Cloud Gate," also known by the locals as "the Bean."

    MG, Chicago earned its nickname in the dead of winter! Brrr.

    Citydiggity, Weeds and wildflowers can sometimes be synonymous:)

    Anna, The dragonflies have been really visiting lately. I wish you lots of dragonflies and butterflies in your garden with hope and healing on their wings. Rose


Thanks for stopping by. I love to hear from you, so please leave a comment. I'll try to reply here, but I'll definitely return the visit.