Enjoy the wonders of each new day…

Happy New Year to all my followers. YOU make this blog fun to continue. May you SEE all the beauty and miracles in the details of every day life.

Wonder-filled details of a Waterlily. One of many daily miracles around us. Copyright 2016 Pamela Breitberg

Wonder-filled wishes…

On this suddenly-wintery, ice-stormy day, I found myself browsing through images of warmer fall days. This Hydrangea portrait struck me as appropriate to share with you as I send belated, but warm Christmas greetings (the bloom looks tree-like to me!) and wishes for a wonder-ful New Year.

…..Christmas tree – ish….

Fall blooming Hydrangea at Chicago Botanic Garden. Copyright 2015 Pamela Breitberg

Dense stillness…

Quiet moments gazing at the wet forest floor that edges Volo Bog. Still and single in color, yet richly active with textures and diversity. Mosses, ferns, mushroom, and more….

Fern standing above the forest floor. Copyright 2015 Pamela Breitberg

Moss laden forest floor. Copyright 2015 Pamela Breitberg

Mushroom signaling damp forest floor. Copyright 2015 Pamela Breitberg

Cotton of some kind…

Bog Cotton, Copyright 2015 Pamela Breitberg

Bog Cotton (Eriophorum angustifolium) is the chosen nickname of this attention-grabbing seedhead found at the Volo Bog, north of Chicago. It’s more common name is Common Cottongrass or Common Cottonsedge. So I suppose, even though grasses, sedges and rushes are each unique in character, the “naming” rights are a matter of personal experience with the plant.

Today I share words from another WordPress sight I pleasantly discovered that succinctly states the differences between the three common marsh plant types. The following descriptor refers to the stem qualities:

  • “Sedges have edges, rushes are round and grasses have nodes where leaves are found.”

From https://meathecotours.wordpress.com/2014/06/10/the-bog-cotton-is-high/

Tail of a cat…

Cattails at Volo Bog. Copyright 2015 Pamela Breitberg


Wet-feet loving Cattail. Copyright 2015 Pamela Breitberg

Autumn is the time of year when Cattail (typha latifolia)‘s naming is most evident. This is the time of the year that the sturdy brown seed head bursts open to reveal the large fluffy mass of a “cat’s tail”. The Cattail, is ruggedly sturdy and tall, and as if to defy physics, the plants love wet feet, growing in marshy areas or at the edges of ponds and lakes.

It appears that the birds are unaware of the plant’s nickname. The soft fuzzy seeds are sought out as lining for many birds’ nests.

It is always a pleasure to recommend a fellow WordPress blogger’s posting: https://cattails.wordpress.com/facts/ They have more information than I would normally share on a species. Enjoy the read!

Stirred memories…

Butter and Eggs “weed” Copyright 2015 Pamela Breitberg

“Butter and Eggs” was the label given to this small pretty flower by a naturalist educating me on which plants in a field were native and which were weed. Butter and Egg was considered a weed; but the name stuck with me and held my curiosity. This particular cluster was alongside an abandoned railroad track. Disturbed land is a common habitat for this species also known as Common Toadflax (Linaria vulgaris).

I prefer the nickname Butter and Egg as it reminds me of my grandmother’s scrambled eggs with butter. She was generous with butter and only partly scrambled the yolks with the egg whites, resulting in several shades of yellow in the final dish. I can only wonder what the founder of this plant was thinking when they chose the name for this plant.

Typical of many Eurasian weeds in the United States there are many common names in addition to Butter and Eggs associated with it according to Wikipedia.org:

  • “Linaria acutiloba Fisch. ex Rchb. is a synonym.[4] Because this plant grows as a weed, it has acquired a large number of local colloquial names, including brideweed, bridewort, butter and eggs (but see Lotus corniculatus), butter haycocks, bread and butter, bunny haycocks, bunny mouths, calf’s snout, Continental weed, dead men’s bones, devil’s flax, devil’s flower, doggies, dragon bushes, eggs and bacon (but see Lotus corniculatus), eggs and butter, false flax, flaxweed, fluellen (but see Kickxia), gallweed, gallwort, impudent lawyer, Jacob’s ladder (but see Polemonium), lion’s mouth, monkey flower (but see Mimulus), North American ramsted, rabbit flower, rancid, ransted, snapdragon (but see Antirrhinum), wild flax, wild snapdragon, wild tobacco (but see Nicotiana), yellow rod, yellow toadflax.[7]

Signature ecosystem…


Moss laden log. Copyright 2015 Pamela Breitberg.

The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert is a story that seamlessly integrates meticulous botanical details into your knowledge base as one reads this coming-of-age love story. The uniquely original ecosystems of moss are one such topic. Walking through the forest this past fall, this scene on the forest floor reminded me of Alma Whittaker’s fascination with such ecosystems. I felt somewhat guilty not returning regularly to document the changes within.