Monday, September 6, 2010

FIELD TRIP! (Really - outstanding in a field!)

(BTW - pun intended!)

As I always say, inspiration is where you find it....  Yesterday my daughter, budding photographer, wanted to go out to a new 'Forest Preserve' in our area to take pictures.  She asked to use my 'fancy' camera (Canon Rebel XT) - so I opted to escort her and my camera to this new point of interest.

Mallard Lake Forest Preserve
For those of you not familiar to the Midwest, and in particular the Chicago-land area - the local counties have donated areas through-out the city (Chicago) and suburbs (40 miles in all directions but east - which is Lake Michigan!) where large chunks of land are left in or converted to natural habitat.  They are maintained and protected by 'Forest Preserve Districts'. It allows everyone an opportunity to step away from the traffic and noise, then enjoy open fields, small lakes and even wetland areas.  While I'm not a big fan of mucking around in wetlands, it is a critical environment for sustainability (I don't pretend to be an expert on ecology - but I appreciate that wetlands are protected.)

What a segue... you just have to know where it goes!

While 'fields' and 'ponds' might not be too Gucci or glamorous, you can get a artistic shot or turn a corner and find a surprise (like a native plant that you also just happen to have in your own garden)!  Here are a few shots I took in my travels.  The photos are taken with my cell phone camera (since MY camera was commandeered by 'Budding Photographer') - so the digital resolution isn't the clearest, but they aren't too shabby?

Rudibeckia!  LOVE it! 
Amateur fishing enthusiasts were in every nook and cranny...
Most native plants along the path towered over me!

"Classic" Native Illinois
Provisions for you to feel like you are "on Golden Pond"

There were fields and fields of these 'Sunflowers'
(I'm sure 'native' enthusiasts could name this variety...)
A final view, before the rains came.... and we had to beat cheeks to the truck!

I have to 'brag' just a bit.... here are a few of 'Budding Photographer's' photos from our 'field trip'...

Pink Guara ?  In the fields of Mallard Lake

I would never have thought of something so thorny being so interesting?
(NOT that I want it in my backyard - this is where I draw the line.)
And if native plantings in a preserve setting isn't enough inspiration, then there is gardening in the city - and when NE Illinoisans say 'city', there is only ONE:  Chicago.  Even urban dwellers like a little 'green' close to home.  I know there is a whole sub-culture of urban gardeners that have converted loft roofs to landscape oasis, but something as simple as a few potted plants can make a difference....

My brother's loft balcony - I love the urban backdrop!

The 'Money Shot'

I've also recently been inspired by Jim Groble - on his latest garden blog post:   Jim is preparing a new area for a Spring 2011 garden.  After all my sketches, reading, cutting out articles and garden journaling -- I love the idea of being more proactive for next season!  There are at least 2 areas I want to create new gardens or extend others.  Check out Jim's garden 'jump-start' and the feedback he received...

Have a great week... Happy September!


  1. What a beautiful way to spend the day, Shyrlene, walking along that boardwalk and enjoying the native habitat. Great photos.
    And your brother's balcony is very nice! I like that urban view, too. Makes me miss city living, just a little bit. : )

  2. Wow some really lovely shots here, in particular the ones with the hazy background, lovely

  3. Shyrlene, I'm so happy you posted these shots! Lovely native Illinois! Very pretty!! And your budding photographer took fantastic SHOULD brag and be proud!! :)

  4. Thanks for taking me on that lovely walk Shyrlene!
    I saw some rudibeckia seeds in a catalogue the other day and immediately thought of the lovely flowers in your garden, now here they are growing wild too!
    I think budding photographer's photos are all brilliant and just lovle the delicacy of the first one.

  5. Sorry, that's love, not 'lovle'. I'm not quite sure what lovle-ing something would involve:D

  6. Thanks for the Field Trip! I've had a wonderful visit. Your budding photographer has a good eye. Now if I could just find a way to share my jam for your toast!

  7. What a way to spend the afternoon!! Love the pics.


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