It was 62 degrees F and not entirely cloudy at 5:20 (hooray for the summer sunrise!) this morning as I defied the 80 percent chance of rain (did wear a rain jacket and garden boots just in case) to venture to Meadowbrook Park on Rhododendron.
On the way rode on Vine Street to see evidence of an F-1 tornado that had slipped, as it were, under the radar (no warnings were issued) and pulled trees over and ripped off pieces of roofs.
Was slightly disappointed to have been in Chicago (getting ready to “Bike the Drive”) when it happened.
Had stopped by yesterday afternoon and seen fading (they are day bloomers) spiderwort and some new beardtongue but hoped to see more bloom in the morning.
Approached Meadowbrook Park from Vine Street and followed McCullough Creek (already mostly hidden by vegetation) the Peg Richardson Hickman Wildflower Walk, where there were not only the glorious spiderwort (Tradescantia ohiensis) and beardtongue (Penstemon diditalis)—I am certain of the genera but not 100 percent on the species) but already Coreopsis for a nice contrasting accent. and false sunflower!
Proceeded along to the rabbit statue bridge over McCullough Creek for a glimpse of the sweet rays of the sunrise playing among the leaves and the water of the creek.
Not far from the bridge, spiderwort
Started to beg for photography.
But stopped along the path at the wet, willow-covered iris location to get some closeups.
It was good to be wearing those boots!
Noticed a tall grass in bloom that released clouds of pollen as I bumped their stems on the way in.
They looked invasive, sullying the clean lines of the iris patch,
though close up, the irises still were stunning.
The spiderwort were aggressively irresistible: their color, their simple lines, their abundance.
But the whimsical spikes of trumpet-like beardtongue flowers were right behind in their draw to be photographed.
And never, it seemed, too far from some supporting spiderwort.
Near the Freyfogle overlook saw small shoots of prairie dock leaves.
And more spiderwort, which seemed to get more dense as I went along the path, including some with dew-beaded leaves.
Caught a nice panno sky shot.
A week ago the prairie was still very much all green; felt fortunate to have been there within days of the beginning of its display of color.