NOTE: IN ORDER TO BETTER SEE PHOTOS IN THEIR FULL 1600 PX. RESOLUTION, VIEW THEM IN THE ALBUM FORMAT BY CLICKING ON THE LEAD PHOTO OR ANY PHOTO IN THE POST. This is especially true for landscape shots. Thanks to Mark for the idea of adding this alert so the photos can be seen at their best!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Borderland Prairie Trail in July

Time to talk about how beautiful the Prairie Trail has been since McHenry County Conservation District restored it a few years ago.  When they first cut down trees I was bummed out, but then....

Field of Pale Purple Coneflower (Echinacea Pallida)

While technically a 26 mile bike trail from Algonquin to Genoa City in Illinois, the other WI/IL borderland locals and I use it as a hiking trail.  Lots of dog walkers frequent it too, but I've been stopping over with my camera this month later in the evening to shoot the crazy variety of wildflowers that have made an astounding comeback.

Wild Quinine

In addition to my copies of "Wildflowers of the Smokies" and "What's Doin' the Bloomin'" I've been using the Minnesota Wildflowers website whose pictures make identification of flowers common to the Midwest easy, and they are organized by color which helps narrow it down quickly.  If all else fails I type in a google search for images with the color and name of the state and hope I get lucky with the images that pop up.

Common Milkweed

Monarchs have been checking out the Milkweed everywhere I go, I have a separate post planned about our Monarch sightings in Two Rivers last weekend.  I haven't seen much in the way of butterflies on the North Branch section of the Prairie Trail, but thanks to the birdhouses they have out there I do see a lot of birds.


I was having a little trouble identifying some of these plants until I stumbled upon Prairie Moon Nursery and Tallgrass Restoration's websites.

Butterfly Milkweed

I found the Wild Quinine on the Illinois Wildflowers website which was a great resource once I ran out of other options.  You have to click on each name one at a time to get to the pictures which is very labor intensive but did turn up a few I hadn't found elsewhere like the Foxglove Beardtongue below.

Foxglove Beardtongue

Moving on from the topic of wildflower identification for a minute, I saw on Lloyd's blog the other day that he favors Theo dark chocolate.  When I stopped in Whole Foods the other day I picked up the orange and mint bars to try.

Purple Coneflower ( Echinacea Purpurea)

Let me just say that Lloyd is now my hero.  Theo dark chocolate is dangerously delicious.  Buy at your own risk.

Yellow Coneflower (Ratibida Pinnata)

I'm trying to lose the 7 pounds I've gained since April, and doing things like buying Theo dark chocolate does not help.  I've only lost 1 pound so far, mostly due to increasing my exercise, not due to decreasing my chocolate or baked goods intake.

Purple Prairie Clover

Monday after work I'm heading to Kettle Moraine with my tent.  I'm hoping to meet Barbara and Ron from the Road Less Traveled for a hike on Tuesday.  My lack of exclamation points has nothing to due with my excitement level, trust me.

Queen Anne's Lace

They were recently in Iowa and toured the Capitol building there.  Hope they get a chance to tour the one here in Wisconsin if they've never done that.  I plan to get to Madison before summer is over so I can go up to the observation deck accessed from the Rotunda with my camera.

Hoary Vervain

Remember when I was trying lenses for architecture recently?  Turns out I was ordering lenses that would work better for different bodies than the one I have.  I ordered the Canon 10-22mm and tried it out on the kayak the other day and think I might finally have a winner.  I'll post more about that soon.

Horsetail Milkweed - Thanks to Susan!

Back to the prairie for now.  I searched high and low but couldn't identify the plant above.  I think the flowers below are Whole-Leaf Rosinweed.  Rosinweed resembles sunflowers, and both are actually members of the asteracae family.  Every picture I saw of Rosinweed on the internet looked different so this identification is very tentative.  Regardless, hard to believe that flowers like sunflowers and yarrow and asters are all in the same family.  Are you bored yet?  I'm starting to bore myself just a little bit so I won't fault you if you just looked at the pretty pictures.

Tomorrow is Cory's birthday and Katrina is home for the weekend.  They're getting ready to head out the door to hang out with old friends from Janesville. Wayne is working doubles again so maybe I'll head out to the prairie and see if anything new is blooming or get in the kayak and see if I can find any turtles and birds...or maybe I'll just watch "Justified" until I lapse into a coma like I did last night.

Special thanks to Travel Bug Susan for helping me identify the Horsetail Milkweed!


  1. I'm amazed at the variety of natural occurring wildflowers - or, any of these considered environmental weeds perhaps? i.e. non-indigenous? They always look so pretty to see but not always welcomed. I enjoyed your wonderful walk Pam

  2. The purple coneflowers was my favorite pic. Enjoy your weekend.

  3. Thanks for the wild flower photo collection. Beautiful.

    And you are very welcome to enjoy those Theo chocolate bars.

  4. I can really appreciate how much effort it takes to identify wildflowers. I've seen many of these here in North Dakota and have posted them on my blog. But my pictures pale in comparison to your outstanding ones. They are so crisp and clear. The colors so outstanding. I don't see how you can need another lens. The purple cone flowers are jumping off the screen.. Very envious that you only need to lose 7 lbs she says as she sits here with a pretzel stick in her mouth at 10:00 at night.

  5. Maybe the plant you couldn't identify is horsetail milkweed:

    Check out the site. Itis extremely easy to use and the plants are not only in Colorado!