Blue Beauty

Sometimes you have to stop and smell or take time to enjoy the flowers!

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Baptisia australis, blue false indigo.

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Close up of blue false indigo flowers

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Veronica spicata Royal Candles (spike speedwell)

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‘May Night’ sage, in the salvia family

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The sage is often in the shade, but gets some sun in the morning.  The yarrow is just starting to turn yellow.

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‘Blue Hill’ sage, max frei geraniums, and penstemon digitalis (foxglove breadtoungue)

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Digitalis purpurea foxglove

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Meadow sage

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Clematis jackmanii

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The birds hang out on the tomato cages near the bird bath.  The clematis, virginia creeper, and soon the tomato vie for climbing space on the fence and cages.

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The garden is planted.  The zucchini, which just popped out of the ground, the cucumber, and the zinnias will fill up the open space on the right.

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Enjoying fresh greens each day

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Tomato flower

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Ajuga and coleus

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Blue fescue ornamental grass. In the background are cone flowers, coreopsis verticillata ‘Zagreb’, and asclepias incarnate – swamp milkweed.  Those flowers should be blooming before long.  The Russian sage is trying to pop up everywhere, too….

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I just planted the little bluestem grass on the right, and the sunflower seed I planted is getting going on the left.  I have another little bluestem grass that is more established and the grass looks bluer.  The great part  of this grass is the orange/red color in the fall.

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Blue damselfly on rhubarb leaves

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The day I took this picture Dan said:  “This is the most beautiful day of the year!”

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Iris.  I think I got rid of my blue irises because I really like these red ones best.

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We pulled out Rick’s old tent, that we have never used on a trip, and it looks like it will work for Stephanie’s first camping trip.

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Last weekend, on our walk around Lake Katherine, we watched this turtle laying her eggs.  She was on a mission and dug a hole on the side of the path where people were walking and running.

 

Backyard blooms, berries and beyond

Following on in the “B” theme, look in this blog post for a bull frog, blue damselfly and Indiana dunes beach….

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The butterfly weed is in bloom.  We are waiting for the monarch butterflies to visit…

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Veronica spicata Spike speedwell ‘Royal Candles’ a little bit past its prime.  Red hot poker flowers in the background.

IMG_8523Kniphofia red hot pokers in front of miscanthus ‘morning light’ ornamental grass.

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The view from the patio.

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Aruncus goat’s beard does well on the north side of the house.

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The first gaillardia blooms.

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Bright yellow yarrow, and in the background salvia ‘blue hill.’

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The alyssum re-seeds itself each year and is starting to bloom now.

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Does cauliflower count as a flower?  I cooked this up in a soup today!

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The collards are looking nice and we are trying to keep up with eating them before the cabbage worms do their munching.  This plant does not look too chewed on.

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We haven’t had to buy lettuce for a few weeks.  This leaf lettuce is nice, but the romaine is starting to bolt with the hot weather.

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In a bowl this morning from our yard – serviceberries, strawberries, mulberries and raspberries.  I enjoyed them with my oatmeal.

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Ripening serviceberry.  I am competing with the birds for these now.  The robins are often in the serviceberry tree.

IMG_8530Unfortunately this berry loving cedar waxwing died after crashing into our kitchen window!  I saw a big serviceberry in its mouth before it died.

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A downy woodpecker has been visiting the birdbath.

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There seem to be a lot of wasps in the yard this year.

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Blue damselfly on miscanthus ornamental grass.

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We visited Indiana Dunes State Park last weekend.  We hiked for a couple of hours in the dunes before enjoying our lunch with the crowd on the beach.

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A little cactus along the prairie trail.  This state park has quite a few endangered species.

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Tomahawk Slough in the Palos Forest Preserve, where we hiked last Sunday.

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One of many bullfrogs at Tomahawk Slough.

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There were also a ton of little toads or frogs hoping around near the water and on the trail.  I guess it is time for them to head out on their own and see if they survive.

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Great blue heron at Tomahawk Slough.

Birding:  I signed up for a birding blitz in the Palos Forest Preserve for June 17th.  I am just an amateur birder, so I was looking forward to going out with someone who could identify a ton of birds.  I showed up in the parking lot at 5:30 am and then remembered to check my email on my phone.  The blitz had been canceled for weather reasons, as thunderstorms were predicted.  I could hear all the birds around me, but the expert birders were not there.  We did not get any rain on Saturday as I guess the rain fell somewhere else.  But it was probably a good thing that I was not involved, as my foot has been giving me some trouble after all that hiking last weekend.  So it is a good weekend to just rest and recover and get this blog post done!

 

Bees, Bagworms, and Assorted Bugs

Every kind of little critter is making its last effort to feed and reproduce.  Grasshoppers, spiders, goldenrod soldier bugs, and many other unknown creatures are doing their thing now.

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Bee on zinnia.  These zinnias have been a favorite this week to a monarch, a black swallowtail butterfly, and goldfinches eating the seeds.

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The pink turtlehead flowers are starting to bloom now.  The bees like to crawl all the way into the flowers.

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Bagworm crawling up the garage door.  The bagworm inches along bringing its case behind it.  The case is a disguise that makes it look a little like a pine cone.  I understand that these can cause a bad infestation, defoliating trees.  In this case there was just one wandering around the driveway and up the garage door.

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Blue damselfly on basil

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Goldenrod soldier beetle on black-eyed susan flowers.

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America dagger moth caterpillar moving across the compost pile.

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I saw quite a few of these planthopper bugs in the yard recently.  This one ended up inside the laundry room door.

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Big spider webs are appearing around the yard.

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The milkweed seeds have popped out of their pods and this one got stuck in a spider web.

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When I looked at this picture on a big screen I can see little purple bugs, that look like ticks, chewing on this eggplant.

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I need to enjoy these summer days while the weather is nice!

Damselfly, Birds, and Irises

Bees, birds, and various bugs are more active and fun to take pictures of this time of year.

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I saw a lot of damselflies in the grass meadow.

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The dove couple love to hang out at the birdbath and socialize.  They don’t really jump in much, but they take their time preening and pretending this is their territory.

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Dan also got a shot of the goldfinch couple at the birdbath.

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We were so excited to have a robin build her nest in our crabapple tree.  Yesterday morning we had the ladder out and did not see any eggs in the nest, but maybe there are some today.

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The irises are the big show this week!  The robin is near the top of this crabapple tree.

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Blue iris

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Ant on chive flower.

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Dan turned the compost on Saturday.  It is not quite ready yet, but moving along.

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Dan was my big helper this weekend.  Here he stood to stretch his back!  In front is baptisia australis – false blue indigo, and the leaves of the chinquapin oak and the hydrangea.