December 31, 2019

Twelve of My Favorite Things (2019)

It's the end of one year, and the beginning of another; time to remember and time to hope.

For several years now on this blog, I've created end-of-year lists of my favorite garden and nature "things." They help me appreciate each moment and each season in its time.

This time, the remembering and the hoping are overlapping more than usual; I'm not sure why, but I'm finding this phenomenon interesting. Also, while looking back over the memories, I realized that with the exception of a couple of the months, these were experiences that were new to me. And of course, I hope to experience them again.

In any case, here are 12 moments from the past year that give me hope for the year ahead.

January

I cheated with this January memory; it actually happened in February...but it was awesome. I was heading down to the lake for a hike and noticed the sky. The photo doesn't really do it justice, but the light and the clouds and the bare tree branches...it was all so dramatic. I look forward to more dramatic sky moments in the winter weeks ahead.

February

We had a mild February in 2019--most of the ice on the nearby lake melted at one point, and the waterfowl congregated in large numbers. While this is not really normal, it's always exciting to see the lakes melt because it means spring can't be far away.

March

After the mild February, we had a bit of a relapse in mid-March with some heavy snow. The robins were already back, and they had to find little patches of open ground to dig for worms. I hope this particular memory doesn't repeat itself in 2020.

April

I'll never forget the masses of butterflies that covered the Pachysandra in April. While there are always many migrant American ladies, painted ladies, and red admirals in the garden each spring, I've never seen so many at once in my garden--everywhere I looked. Yes, please: I hope this will happen again this spring.

May

Trilliums have always been plentiful in the backyard woodland since we moved here 20 years ago--mainly T. grandiflorum and T. erectum. Last spring, for the first time, I discovered a new volunteer. At first I thought it was T. sessile, but on closer examination of the sepal positions (downward rather than upward around the flower), I believe it's a Prairie Trillium (T. recurvatum). I will be hunting for this one again in May.

June

While I've seen many Penstemon plants over the years, this one blew me away: Rocky Mountain Penstemon (P. strictus). For some reason, I don't remember noticing it during previous visits to Colorado; maybe the timing wasn't quite right. While attending the Denver Garden Bloggers Fling in June, I was mesmerized by this beauty in several gardens. (In 2020, the Fling will be in Madison, which will offer more new discoveries!)

July

My favorite thing for July was not new, but it was as special as ever: more butterflies in the garden. In midsummer, the monarchs were plentiful here. Apparently, they had a great summer, overall, and people reported huge waves and roosts during the autumn migration south. Dr. Chip Taylor at Monarch Watch, however, predicts lower overwintering numbers this year. I do hope there will be many visitors to my garden next summer--laying eggs on the milkweed plants and nectaring on the garden flowers.

August

In August, I discovered a new hiking spot. I can't believe I'd never checked it out before, because it's only a few minutes from my home. One of the delightful things about this property is that it's filled with native wildflowers. It also combines waves of various ecosystems--woodlands, prairies, wetlands, rocky spots, and the edges of all of these. The biodiversity is incredible. Yes, I will be hiking here again in 2020!

September

Do you ever feel lucky to be in the right place at the right time? That was the case in September when I happened upon some blooming Indiangrass (Sorghastrum nutans). It wasn't necessarily a new experience, but viewing it and photographing it at close range at the peak of bloom gave me a new appreciation for its beauty that I will carry into the future.

October

It's always nifty to have garden visitors, but they're especially fun to see well into October. I simply enjoyed this little buddy hanging out on the Marigolds. Insects are fascinating, and I hope many more will visit the garden in 2020.

November

Snapdragons in the snow! That's a new one for me. I think they even would have bloomed again if I'd brought them inside to overwinter. You have to appreciate tough plants like that, and I'll plant more Antirrhinum majus in the new year.

December

Finally, in December I checked out a hiking spot I hadn't been to for a while, and I introduced it to the dog. He liked it! It's always a bonus to find a great place to hike that also allows dogs. Win-win! I'm sure we'll trek here repeatedly in 2020!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

These simple pleasures, and many more, promise that the year ahead will be bright. Each month offers its own unique, simple blessings.

My hope is that you, too, will find many "favorite things" and gifts that will bring you much joy in the year ahead.

Happy New Year!

37 comments:

  1. Also intrigued by clouds - that sweet spot between oh wow look at that - and getting the camera to capture it before it melts away into memory.
    Happy new year!

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    1. Yes, well said, Diana. And sometimes they really catch me by surprise with their beauty and uniqueness. Sometimes I wish I could capture on camera what I see with my eyes, just by blinking. ;-)

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  2. May your New Year be filled with more beautiful and interesting things. I know you will notice them. You always do.

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    1. Thank you, Becky. You are so kind. Blessings to you and yours, as well!

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  3. It is fun to look back at all that transpired the past year. I also am a fan of dramatic skies but never seem to get them on camera as they look in real life. All the best to you in 2020, Looking forward to seeing you in Madison.

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    1. I always feel like my photos of amazing skies don't even come close to their beauty, but I guess it's still worthwhile to try to document them. Happy New Year, Karin! The Fling is going to be awesome. :)

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  4. Happy New Year, dear Beth! I hope I get to see you in 2020!

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    1. Happy New Year, Linda! We always have wonderful conversations. I hope we'll be able to chat again this year. :)

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  5. I think this is a wonderful idea, Beth. I'd follow your lead but the idea of sifting through all my posts/photos is daunting!

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    1. Thanks, Kris. I've been doing it for several years, and I have to be honest: This year was actually easier because I didn't take as many photos. The new puppy has kept me very busy. ;-)

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  6. A beautiful review of your year! The Monarch photo is my favorite.
    Happy New Year!

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    1. Thanks, Lea. It's always a joy to have butterflies, especially monarchs, in the garden. Happy New Year!

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  7. As my favorite, I choose the Trilliums in May. Oh, the garden in the month of May! Just five minutes this time of the year in a May garden would be heaven.
    Jeannie@GetMeToTheCountry

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    1. Yes, May is a magical month here, as well. There are days in May when I wish I could freeze time. (Note to self: Plan more free days in May.) Happy New Year!

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  8. I love your review, Beth. Every month was stunning!

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    1. Thanks, Karen. Many blessings to you and your family in the new year!

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  9. The shot of the September Indiangrass is terrific!! Happy New Year, Beth, and best wishes ☺️

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    1. Thanks, Hollis. I hadn't spent much time zooming in on them in the past. Indiangrass is beautiful from a distance and in other seasons, too, but the flowers are so pretty up close.

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  10. What a wonderful garden year in pictures. Love your butterflies too. All my best for 2020 and happy happy New Year from Austria
    Elisabeth

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    1. Thank you! Happy New Year to you and your family and friends!

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  11. Great annual review. Love all the items you featured, especially that beautiful Penstemon. Happy new year!

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    1. Thanks, Susie! The Penstemon was incredible--the color was brilliant. Happy New Year to You!

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  12. Your photography skills really bring these special things alive. Well done. I hope you get to do them all again.
    Happy 2020.

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    1. Thank you, Lisa! I hope this will be a great year for you, too! Cheers!

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  13. That Trillium find is gorgeous. I can just imagine your delight when you spotted it. I love discovering new hiking areas. Being out in nature is so important to our well being, isn't it? Here is to a fabulous 2020.

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    1. It was awesome--I haven't planted any of the Trilliums here, so perhaps this one was a dormant seed from long ago that finally found enough light to grow and bloom. I wonder if I'll find more of them this spring.... Yes, communing with nature is beneficial for physical and mental health. Happy New Year!

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  14. I remember thinking last year that this is such a positive way to look at things. Of course, I didn't remember your idea until I saw your new post.

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    1. Thanks, Linda. It's a fun post to do. It gives me a little hope...especially during the shortest days of the year.

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  15. I enjoyed this post. It was fun looking back at your favorites.
    Happy New Year!
    Carla

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    1. Happy New Year, Carla! Here's hoping we both have some fabulous garden/nature experiences in the months ahead!

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  16. Replies
    1. Thanks! I thought maybe my lot was too shaded for Prairie Trillium, but I didn't realize it grows best in partial shade. It was fun to find it here for the first time.

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  17. Wonderful images. I particularly love the Penstemon with bees, and of course the Monarch on Butterflyweed.

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    1. Thanks, Jason. Do you remember the Penstemon blooms we saw at various Fling locations? We were so fortunate they were at peak bloom during our visit.

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  18. I love these! I really love that penstemon and the milkweed. :o) But I love the trillium, too. I wish I had them in my garden.

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