Shalda Creek Iris

via…Shalda Creek Iris by Michigan Nut Photography

Shalda Creek Iris by Michigan Nut Photography

John got this shot of wild Iris along the banks of Shalda Creek in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.

See more on the Michigan Nut Facebook page and at

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Purple for June: Dwarf Lake Iris

Iris lacustris by Bradford Slaughter

Iris lacustris by Bradford Slaughter

Some of you know that my mother Jill suffered for years from the terrifying effects of Alzheimers disease, ultimately passing last winter. June is Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month, and the Alzheimer’s Association encourages us to wear purple (and of course donate) to raise awareness about a disease that afflicts tens of millions of Americans. 

June is also when you can see Michigan’s official State Wildflower, the Dwarf Lake Iris (Iris lacustris), in bloom:

The official wildflower of the Great Lakes State is right at home anywhere it can get its feet wet along the rocky coast of Northern Lake Huron, but those places are getting harder to come by.

This pint-sized perennial is known for its deep blue flowers that emerge mere inches above the ground for a fleeting few weeks in May and June—individual blossoms last just days. The rest of the time, its yellow-green leaves cling close to the ground, hiding in plain sight until springtime comes around again.

It’s a bit of a miracle this fragile flower exists at all: They grow in the thin, nutrient-poor soil that overlays limestone gravel and bedrock. The Northeast Michigan coast, rich with sand dunes and limestone deposits, creates the perfect habitat for the iris, found nowhere else outside the northern Great Lakes.

Along with a limited range that’s shrinking due to lakeshore development, the plant has been sought out by collectors who replant or sell it elsewhere. For these reasons, the dwarf lake iris was added in 1988 to the list of federally threatened species.

Read on for more at Huron Pines & for sure check out their Dwarf Lake Iris Best Practice Guide for tips on how to protect this flower!

Coincidentally, Bradford took this photo at Beavertail Point Nature Sanctuary on the northern coast of Lake Huron eight years ago on June 2nd, 2014 so I guess it’s a #TBT to boot! See more in his Iridaceae (Iris Family) gallery on Flickr 

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Eastern Market Flower Day returns

Eastern Market Flower Day

Eastern Market Flower Day by Eastern Market

Detroit’s Eastern Market shares that their popular Flower Day will return in 2022 on Suday, May 15th:

Flower Day takes place every year on the Sunday after Mother’s Day and has been a time-honored tradition of Eastern Market since 1967. Growers offer a wide variety of flowers at a great value so we recommend you come early for the best selection!

This special day is made possible through our partnership with the Metropolitan Detroit Flower Growers Association. MDFGA members arrive every year from Michigan, Ontario, and neighboring states. They share 15 acres of the heartiest varieties of flowers for this region and they’re ready to share the best strategies of how to help their flora thrive.

We also offer free convenient parcel pickups so you can explore the market throughout the day without being attached to your flats of flowers.

More at Eastern Market. and also on their Eastern Market Flower Day Facebook event.

Eastern Market shared this pic back in 2020. Here’s a gallery from Flower Day 2019 on their Facebook page.

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The First Crocuses

The first crocuses I've seen this spring by Bill Dolak

The first crocuses I’ve seen this spring by Bill Dolak

While I’m still waiting to see the first crocus here in Traverse City, Bill saw some on Friday in Kalamazoo. How about you – any crocuses or springy signs in your neck of Michigan?? 

Head over to Bill’s Flickr to see his latest & have an awesome week everyone!

Get your Spring on with Michigan in Pictures!

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Reaching for Summer’s Light

Reaching for the light by Mike Carey

Reaching for the light by Mike Carey

In just over a day – 3:20 PM tomorrow at the vernal equinox to be precise – Summer 2021 will be in the books. Here’s hoping you get a little of that summer light before it’s all gone!

See more in Mike’s Lake Michigan 2021 gallery on Flickr

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An American Bug: The Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly by David Marvin

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly by David Marvin

The University of Michigan Animal Diversity Web entry for the eastern tiger swallowtail butterfly (Papilio glaucus) says in part:

The eastern tiger swallowtail ranges from Alaska and the Hudsonian zone of Canada to the southern United States, east of the Rocky Mountains.

This species occurs in nearly every area where deciduous woods are present, including towns and cities. It is most numerous along streams and river, and in wooded swamps.

As with most butterflies, Eastern tiger swallowtails tend to be solitary. Males “patrol” for a mate, flying from place to place actively searching for females. “Patrolling” male tiger swallowtails can recognize areas of high moisture absorbtion by the sodium ion concentration of the area. It is believed that the moisture found by these males helps cool them by initiating an active-transport pump. Both male and female tiger swallowtails are known to be high fliers. Groups of fifty butterflies have been spotted in Maryland flying 50 meters high, around the tops of tulip trees.

The tiger swallowtail is thought of as the American insect, in much the same way as the Bald Eagle is thought of as the American bird. It was the first American insect pictured in Europe; a drawing was sent to England from Sir Walter Raleighs’ third expedition to Virginia.

You can read on for more including photos. I also found a page with a listing of Michigan butterflies and apparently we have eight species of swallowtail butterfly!

Beautiful capture by David. See more in his 2022 Calender gallery on Flickr! 

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Dutchman’s breeches

Dutchman's breeches by William Dolak

Dutchman’s breeches by William Dolak

Bill shared this photo last week in the Michigan in Pictures group on Facebook & writes:

Dicentra cucullaria, or Dutchman’s breeches, is a perennial herbaceous plant, native to rich woods of eastern North America, with a disjunct population in the Columbia Basin.

The common name Dutchman’s breeches derives from their white flowers that look like white breeches.

Click for a couple more shots from Bill.

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The Purple Ones

Mom's garden by Andrew McFarlane

The Purple Ones by Andrew McFarlane

Here’s a rare Michpics pic from yours truly. It’s a shot of these incredible purple flowers that spread from the neighbor’s to my mother’s yard & bloom every spring.

See more flowers on Michigan in Pictures & have a wonderful weekend everyone!

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Bees Working

Bees Working by Brooke Pennington

Untitled by Brooke Pennington

Here’s stunning shot from way back in 2008 that I’ve featured before. Check out Brooke’s Spring gallery on Flickr for more!

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Spring it on, Michigan!

Untitled by Scott Glenn

Untitled by Scott Glenn

I don’t know about you, but even some snow & cold in the forecast can’t stop me from believing that spring is truly here! Scott got a lovely pic of some colorful crocuses. See more in his Flowers album on Flickr.


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