Whoa, Nelly! Has it really been a year-and-a-half since I updated my Mill Creek Park blog? Well, yes – it seems the last time was when the Lily Pond reopened after renovations, including observation decks, were completed. What got in the way in between then and now I really can’t say – to be sure, we still visit some part of the park just about every week – so I’ll just chalk it up to laziness.
Chalk this update up to a new and potentially exciting wrinkle. Not long ago, Facebook friend and top-notch photographer Sue Hankey Ramdin let me know that formation of an informal group of photographers who love the park is in the works. Would we be interested in learning more? Well sure, I responded – and since then, a small group met to discuss ideas. Nothing is written in stone as yet, but it looks as if something will come together starting in October. Possibilities include giving group members special access to events and places when the general public isn’t there – that alone interests the two of us. Educational workshops with guest speakers and the opportunity to have our photographs professionally critiqued are among the other possibilities. If anyone is interested in joining us, please let me know and I’ll keep you updated as I learn more.
Meantime, the extreme heat seems to have let up for a few days (keep in mind that I start turning into a shrew any time the temperature inches much above 75 degrees), so we headed off to the park just for somewhere to go. We didn’t plan to stay long, and we hoped we’d get in and out without encountering one of the many weddings that take place this time of year in the beautiful Fellows Riverside Gardens. I’m happy to report we made it with time to spare; three were scheduled on this day, the first at 2 p.m.
As always this time of year, I wanted to check out the flowers in the gardens (especially to see how the roses are doing), and we always make a run through – usually stopping for a bit – the Lily Pond. When I started down the path leading to the rose garden, I stopped for a minute to take in the daisies, coneflowers and other colorful blooms. And what to my wandering eyes should appear but – hold the phone – a swallowtail butterfly! Now granted, one of its “tails” was missing, but I was excited nonetheless: This is the first good-sized butterfly I’ve seen this year. In my excitement, I almost ran smack dab into another photographer – and as we both chased the elusive critter, we lamented that neither of us had brought our macro lens. Well, mine’s in the car, but I’m just too lazy to run back and get it, I noted. On this one, he bested me: “Mine’s in Florida,” he chuckled.
Next I spotted some bright pink spots, which happily turned out to be hibiscus blooms (last time we were here, only a single flower was showing its face). I love these big, beautiful flowers, so of course I spent some time here as well and made a “bee”-line for one of the closed-up blooms (I think you’ll understand when you look closely at this photo.
Then it was on to the rose garden, where I concentrated on the macro shots I love to take. While I was there, I took a more expansive view of the pavilion, one of the two in which weddings are held. The brides walk down the flowery “aisle,” making for a beautiful occasion.
Generally, I meander over to the gazebo (on a path lined with colorful hydrangeas), also the site of weddings; right now, some roses and a few day lilies remain in bloom, but I’ve taken them so many times that I passed them by and got a shot through the gazebo itself for the blog. After that, I started back to pick up Jack, who was waiting patiently on a bench outside the visitor center. I tried to hustle a bit, but I just couldn’t resist stopping to get a shot of the fountain on the way.
In the end, we made a quick pitstop at the Lily Pond as usual, but we passed on going anywhere else simply because it was past our usual lunch time and we were hungry. Off we went to Davidson’s in Cornersburg, one of our favorite places to eat (I picked the half-and-half combo of a chicken salad sandwich and their wonderful wedding soup, while Jack got his usual Philly steak sandwich with fries). Then it was home again, home again, jiggedy jig to enjoy a relaxing rest-of-Saturday and a rousing hour of The Lawrence Welk Show on PBS.
We’ll be coming back to the park soon, no doubt, but meantime, if you get antsy, feel free to visit my Mill Creek Park and Mill Creek MetroParks Farm galleries at Zenfolio: