Backyard Photo Visit

My dear friends from church invited me over for coffee and a visit to their garden this morning. Obviously, I took my camera along to see what new and interesting images I could collect. With a little cropping, my trusty Canon Rebel T3i worked its magic again.

George wanted me to take a photo of this chenille plant. 

We fussed around with the lighting until I got something interesting.

I worked on getting the movement of the water frozen in time.

And then I tried to get the reflections of the trees in the water.

The flowers are a little worse for wear from the heat, but still beautiful.

Despite all of our requests, that bumblebee would not stop moving!

Love the sentiment, love the friends. Peace out for today!

Flower Stories: It’s Daylily Week

We call these simple orange daylilies ditch lilies because they grow wild in the ditches here in the Midwest. They’re still beautiful and worthy of a photograph.

According to, “Orange daylily is a popular ornamental that has escaped to invade natural and disturbed areas throughout the United States. Plants are 2-4 ft. (0.6-1.2 m) tall with round stems. Leaves are grass-like, bright-green, 1-3 ft. (0.3-1 m) long and curve toward the ground. Flowers develop in the summer and are large, showy, and orange in color. Flowers occur in clusters of 5-9 at the apex of the stalk. Flowers in a cluster open one at a time and only for one day each. Flowers may have spots or stripes. Many cultivars of daylily now exist in a wide variety of sizes and flower colors. Orange daylily infestations often occur adjacent to plantings or at old homesites. Areas invaded include meadows, forests, floodplains, ditches, and forest edges. Once established, the thick tubers make control difficult. Orange daylily is native to Asia and was introduced into the United States in the late 19th century as an ornamental.”

Flower Stories: The Rose That Could Cover Chicago

My New Dawn Rose has been here for years — long before we moved in. My next door neighbor told me that if I moved it next to our house, it would cover the entire house and ruin our tuck pointing. So — we built it an arbor of its own. I bought elbow-length rose gloves to tie it up and it’s my weekend project.

But that doesn’t take away from its beauty. Every year, I am overwhelmed by the prolific blossoms that come back again and again all summer, even if I cut it back all the way to the roots.

I think I’d better tie up the canes that are hitting the car as I drive by, though. ūüôā

Happy weekend!

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Flower Stories: Bridal Veil Spirea

Today would have been my father’s 89th birthday — 05/11/23. He loved plants of all kinds, but he especially loved flowering bushes and perennials. Happy birthday, Daddy.

I wait somewhat impatiently every year for the bridal veil spirea to bloom. It’s not actually in my yard; the roots are in the garden of the abandoned house next door.

We had a punishing rain last weekend and lost some of the fresh glory of the blossoms, but most survived.¬†This post makes me realize that I need to plant my own spirea on my side of the fence, because when the bulldozer comes, I’ll lose all of this beauty.

I do my best to honor Oksana’s memory and to take care of her garden; it’s time to go to the nursery again in honor of my Dad and Oksana.

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Not My Ordinary Post

I’m a garden girl, but usually I like having someone else doing the hard stuff for me. I was understandably concerned when NRB ¬†brought these maple leaves into the kitchen.

My reputation as a “farm-ish” girl from Ohio was at stake. I was supposed to diagnose this nasty thingey on the neighbor’s maple leaves.

I’m pretty sure I’ve talked about my next door neighbor’s house that is in foreclosure and has been empty for three years after both owners died. My beloved husband (with help from the younger neighbors across the street) has been taking care of Oksana and Roman’s house during that time. It was a very welcome big deal when the city started mowing the grass in the back yard, but he still takes care of the front yard and the snow. And we have a LOT of snow in the winter here in Chicago.

We were worried about the black spot on the maple leaves, because we have both big maple trees and some new Japanese maples. Will this nasty thing kill our trees? So Mrs. Jennie went to Mr. Internet to find out. Thank goodness, there is a solution from our friends at the Purdue Pest and Plant Diagnostic Laboratory.


Question: Almost every summer the leaves on my maple trees have black spots on them that look like tar. What is it and what should I do about it?

Answer:¬†Tar Spot on Maple LeavesTar spot on maple is not actually “tar” on maple, but rather a fungal disease. Tar spots on maples are caused by fungi in the genusRhytisma. The most common species areRhytisma acerinumand¬†R. punctatum.

Symptoms first appear in late spring or early summer as infected leaves develop light green or yellow-green spots. During mid to late summer, black tar-like raised structures are formed on the upper surface of leaves within the yellow spots. R. acerinum causes spots that are 0.5 to 2 cm in diameter; R. punctatum causes spots that are smaller (about 1mm in diameter). Spots caused by R. punctatum are sometimes called speckled tar spots.

Tar spot diseases seldom are detrimental to the overall health of infected trees. Tar spots may cause premature defoliation, but are not known to kill trees. Tar spot diseases are best managed by raking and destroying fallen leaves because the fungi overwinter on leaves.


I told my husband that he has to destroy the leaves or the problem will continue, but that presents a problem in itself. We live in a suburban environment that bans burning of leaves, so we have to send them to the local yard waste collector. Unless they destroy the fungal leaves, we will have tar spot fungus next year.

It’s a conundrum. It’s not our house, it’s not our maple trees, and we’re really not supposed to be taking care of this foreclosed property. It’s actually trespassing — can you believe that? ¬†Yet, if we don’t, the “fungus among us” will spread.

I wish the lender would just get this house on the market for a couple of dollars and relieve us all of our burden. Anyone want to buy a five bedroom, three bathroom house with an artist’s studio (that needs a little work) ¬†in the land just beyond O’Hare? We would love to have you as a neighbor.

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