Prairie homeland…

Looking back to the more colorful days of late summer, early autumn.

Hardy, perennial prairie plants gradually go dormant, resting until next springs longer, warmer days. Copyright 2017, Pamela Breitberg

Purple prairie clover (Dalea purpurea) amongst prairie diversity. Copyright 2017 Pamela Breitberg

Purple Aster, a dependable sign of the end of Summer. Copyright 2017, Pamela Breitberg


Not all wildlife migrates south for the winter. Like people, some species acclimate to the many Midwest climate changes during the year. Here are some native Northerners enjoying the cooler days of autumn in Chicago.

The hardiest Heron do not migrate to Florida for the winter but remain at Lincoln Park’s assorted ponds. Copyright 2017 Pamela Breitberg

Always on public display, grooming is never private. Copyright 2017 Pamela Breitberg

Squirrels squirreling away nuts is easily witnessed this time of year in preparation for winter’s long season. Copyright 2017 Pamela Breitberg

The Grey Squirrel is a personal favorite on my walks though parks. Copyright 2017 Pamela Breitberg

Friends in the pond community. Copyright 2017 Pamela Breitberg

More grooming, this time by a duck. Copyright 2017 Pamela Breitberg

Spring is not the only time of birth for the turtles of South Pond in Lincoln Park. Copyright 2017 Pamela Breitberg

Wild dreams…

Restored Midwestern prairie land of wild grasses and Rudbeckia and many other wondrous natives. Copyright 2017 Pamela Breitberg

Black eyed Susans, aka Rudbeckia , indicates that summer is well under way in the U.S. heartland, the prairie. Illinois is the “prairie state” yet less than 10% of virgin prairie lands remain. This piece of prairie is part of a restoration project, West Ridge Nature Preserve on Chicago’s north-east side. In Chicago one does not have to travel far to pretend they are a part of a time long ago; the stuff of good summertime daydreams.

Petite bouquets…

Eastern Daisy Fleabane (Erigeron annuus) shows up voluntarily along paths and roadsides. The flowers are thumbnail sized and bloom in bouquet arrangements tempting passersby to capture their loveliness. Today I brought them home as images saved.

Portrait of Daily Fleabane. Copyright 2017 Pamela Breitberg

Nature’s bouquet. Copyright 2017 Pamela Breitberg

Peak into azure joy…

Springtime Spiderwort beginning to bloom. Copyright 2017 Pamela Breitberg

Earlier in the month Spiderworts (Tradescantia) were in bloom. They are perennials that tolerate both mesic and “wet feet” (to be in damp soil), so it was appropriate for them to be found near Lake Michigan’s shoreline. The leaves can be 12 inches or longer which, in this case, gently hide its opening buds. What a pleasant find during my morning adventure on the pebbly path.

Durable, beneficial, loveliness…

This delicate bloom can withstand the harsh shoreline environment including winds and waters. Copyright 2017 Pamela Breitberg

This delicate bloom can withstand the harsh shoreline environment including winds and waters. Copyright 2017 Pamela Breitberg

Time on the beach, for me, includes checking out the plants on the inland edges. My newness to the area had me assuming that this thick, prolific mass was native to the area. Closer study has taught me this is not the case.

Natal Plum (Carissa macrocarpa) is the African relative of Florida’s native Coco Plum. Both species live on the sandy shores. Both have edible plum-like fruits. Natal Plums’s invasive character includes spine tipped leaves which are oft overlooked with focus going to their graceful year-long blooming white flowers and reddish fruit.

After flowering the Natal Plum fruits emerge here, still too unripe for eating. The “plum” is the only non-poisonous part of the Natal Plum. Copyright 2017 Pamela Breitberg

Ready to eat Natal Plum. Copyright 2017 Pamela Breitberg

More context…

Side view of Jerusalem Artichoke. Copyright 2016, Pamela Breitberg

Side view of Jerusalem Artichoke. Copyright 2016, Pamela Breitberg

I first became aware of Jerusalem Artichoke (Helianthus tuberosus) when I toured a perennial farm outside of Racine Wisconsin. They recommended it as dependable, colorful addition to any perennial Midwest garden. The native plants in this image adjoin the migratory bird preserve in Lincoln Park, along Lake Michigan. Their presence, just a few blocks from our new condo, makes me feel more at home in this bustling urban neighborhood.

These images show more context of Jerusalem Artichoke to their environment and stages of bloom than the previous single image with the spider and dangling petal. Jerusalem Artichokes are one of a multitude of late-summer, early fall, sunflowers.

For those that like to eat what they grow, check out the following site:

Close up of the back of the Jerusalem Artichoke

Lake Michigan wild blooms. Copyright 2016 Pamela Breitberg

Changing to seed head. Copyright 2016, Pamela Breitberg