Summer Blooming Flowers 9-3-2015

Happy Thursday!!

I was looking over 2014 ‘Blooming Flowers’ from the month of August and I sure took way more photos in 2014 than 2015! I wonder if I’ve done less hiking, less visits to my perennial nursery or what?! Had the season gone by faster? I feel like the goldenrods, liatris and asters shouldn’t be blooming for another few weeks. I shouldn’t be seeing seedpods yet. Ugh. This means this blooming season is coming to a close soon, not that soon, but soon ;-)

See what was blooming in 2014 or blooming in 2013.
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Baptisia australis ~ False indigo seed heads

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Physostegia virginiana ~ Obedient Plant

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Symphyotrichum novae-angliae – New England Aster

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Silene regia ~ Royal Catchfly

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Symphyotrichum leave ~ Smooth Blue Aster

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Nuphar polysepala ~ Yellow water lily

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Cirsium discolor ~ Pasture Thistle

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Alnus incana ~ grey alder or speckled alder

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Solidago canadensis ~ Canada Goldenrod

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I just thought this was a great mix of wildflowers…

© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl

Lake Defiance in Moraine Hills ~ McHenry Illinois

We went for a quick kayak trip to a place we like to hike a lot, Moraine Hills. We were excited to see a different perspective of the lake today. I was first drawn to the yellow water lily, I had spotted it a good 50 feet away. There’s nothing wrong with my distance vision ;-) These are native here.

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Yellow water lily ~ Nuphar variegata

lake defianceThis is a Glacial Lake, although the jury is still out on exactly how big a body of water has to be to be named a lake.

This lake was made by a glacier breaking off ice while receding, which then became covered with debris and eventually melted. The depression in the earth leaves it receptive to pooling water. I placed a video at the end of the post that may explain the process a bit clearer.

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A black lab named Rory who couldn’t care less there were kayaks coming through… LEMMIE AT THOSE MINNOWS!!!

A damselfly takes a break on my arm.

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It was very clear. I couldn’t touch bottom with my whole paddle here, so 6+ feet.

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© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl

Wile E. Coyote ~ Canis latrans

I am always on duty if I see a loose dog. I have a leash, treats and water in my car. I have been known to run into traffic to save dogs. Don’t try to stop me!

On my way home from work, I was sitting at a particularly long light and staring out into the beautiful prairie. I saw movement below… A dog? Lemmie see a bit closer… Hmmm, nope, that’s a coyote!
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Coyotes were infrequent in Illinois for a long time after settlement of the state, but their numbers have increased dramatically during the 1970’s and early 1980’s.

An average home range of the coyote incorporates 2-10 square miles.  Members of packs tend to have smaller home ranges than the “loners”.  Sizes of home ranges are also subjective by the quality of habitat, presence of nearby packs and seasons of the year. This especially applies when coyotes are breeding or rearing pups.

Home ranges are not exclusive; many coyotes may live in the same area.  These groups, referred to as packs, usually contain extended families.  Members of one pack rarely venture into another’s territory. Some coyotes do not belong to packs. These solitary coyotes or ‘loners’ tend to have larger home ranges than pack coyotes and are less respectful of pack boundaries. They sometimes join a pack when one of the members leaves or dies.

Coyotes normally mate in February, however, only the alpha pair in a pack will mate and subordinates will usually help raise the young. Coyotes appear to be monogamous and bonds between alpha pairs have only been broken upon the death of one of the pair. In April, just before the 62 to 65-day gestation period, the female will begin looking for existing dens or dig one herself.

When scientist had analyzed stomach contents, the most common food items were small rodents (42%), fruit (23%), deer (22%), and rabbit (18%). Apparently, the majority of coyotes in this study area do not rely on pets or garbage for their diets.

coyote deaths

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© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl

Monday Memories

Happy Monday everyone!!

It’s a special Monday for me… Its my Thursday, as I will be off camping this Wednesday to the Southern tip of Illinois. My husband found a unique spot, right on the Ohio river. We will be bringing the kayaks for a bit of paddling. I’m sure you will read about it later. I hope everyone has a wonderful Labor Day weekend!!

For a Great Spring Lawn Display, Design Now!

Bulbs in the lawnWhere to plant and what type of bulbs varies with how the gardener wants to deal with the remaining leaves after blooming. The leaves must be allowed to stay long enough to gather energy for next year. Taller bulb varieties must not be mowed down until early summer. Shorter leaved varieties can be mowed over, as leaf height is close to the same height of grass. My experience deems these shorter varieties have a better chance for survival, as most residents feel the need to mow their lawn as early as possible.

 

Plants That Bite! Stinging Nettle – Urtica dioica

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I was bitten… By a PLANT! Well, stung would be more like it. I looked down to see I had grabbed a hold of some stinging nettle or Urtica dioica. As I rubbed out the prickles*, I decided I would provide this post as a public service message to all of you that want to become horticulturists. This job is DANGEROUS! It would be safer to become a fireman, cop or perhaps a crash test dummy…

*In botanical terms, thorns are derived from shoots, spines are derived from leaves and prickles are derived from the epidermis and can be found anywhere on the plant.

Another hypothesis is that nettle’s aerial parts may interfere with the body’s production of prostaglandins and other inflammation-causing chemicals. Subsequently, nettle may have an anti-inflammatory effect. It may also heighten responses of the immune system. Chemicals in nettle’s aerial parts are also thought to reduce the feeling of pain or interfere with the way that nerves send pain signals. All of the effects may reduce the pain and stiffness of arthritis and other similar conditions.

Nettle has been studied and shown promise in treating:

Arthritis, Bladder infections, Bronchitis, Gingivitis, Gout, Kidney stones, Multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, Prostate enlargement, Sciatica and Tendinitis.

 

The Little Sunflower That Could

imageWhen I saw the tiny cotyledons poking out of the cement, I knew it was a sunflower. However, I never thought it had a chance… It was growing right in the main thoroughfare to the front door of my home. This is where the UPS, FedEx, USPS person, all unwanted solicitors, friends, neighbors, neighborhood dogs, and we come through. Really, I would have taken a few baby pictures had I thought it would survive to flowering.

For life to have happened in such adverse conditions is downright difficult to believe. This little survivor should teach us that life is amazing, must be enjoyed and should not ever be taken for granted!

 

 

 

Platanus occidentalis – The Sycamore Tree

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The sycamor is a favorite tree of mine! =-)

The American Sycamore Tree (American sycamore, eastern sycamore, buttonwood or buttonball tree) is native to the central and eastern United States, growing in all states east of the great plains except for Minnesota.

It’s botanical name, Platanus occidentalis, originates from “platy” Greek for broad, and “occidere” Latin for “to set, as in the sun,” meaning of the west. Sycamores are generally regarded to be the most massive tree indigenous to eastern North America.
Sycamores grow quickly and can live for hundreds of years.

Their bark have a camouflage pattern of peeling bark, like tan, gray and brown puzzle pieces which eventually turn to a smooth white on mature trunks and branches. They have large, stiff leaves resembling maples in shape, and make excellent shade trees for urban settings. Sycamores prefer sandy soils along streams, flood plains and rivers.

 

Wish Lantern

Be sure to think of a wish!!

Wish lanterns were used by many cultures.

Zhuge Liang (Kongming, to his friends) was a Chinese military strategist, is attributed with using sky lanterns in third century BC to summon help when he was confronted by enemy troops. This is possibly why they are commonly known at Kongming lantern or maybe because the lanterns resembled his hat!

Many folks use these in wedding ceremony’s. Wishing the couples well..

Monks used lanterns on the twelfth day of the first lunar month in their worship of the Buddha. During the Eastern Han Dynasty, the Emperor Liu Zhuang was a Buddhist and he ordered the inhabitants of the imperial palace and citizens to light lanterns to worship the Buddha just as the monks did.

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The fuel cell is lit and the air begins to warm. Slowly it rises out of your hands. It will burn for about twelve minutes and can rise to heights of one mile. The whole lantern is biodegradable. I love these over any firework. Did you make your wish?!?

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At the many lantern festivals, lanterns of varying colors are for sale. Festival-goers choose the color that expresses their desires and then write their specific wishes on the lantern.

Lantern Colors and Their Meanings:

  • Red: Good fortune
  • Pink: Romance
  • Peach-red: Decisions and opportunities
  • Orange: Money
  • Yellow: Success in school and/or job
  • White: Health
  • Light Green: Growth
  • Light Blue: Hoping something comes true
  • Light Purple: Idealism

© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl

Katy Did

imageWho walked up the tree?

Katy did, Katy did!

Who’s grown up to look like a leaf?

Katy did, Katy did!

Who’s turned a beautiful green?

Katy did, Katy did!

Who heard things through her front feet?

Katy did, Katy did!

Who accused a young woman of murder*?

Katy did, Katy did!

 

*There once was a beautiful maiden named Katy who fell in love with a handsome man. She loved him with all of her heart and only wanted to please him. Fate turned against her and the handsome man fell in love with her sister. The pain of seeing them together was too much for her and in a fit of jealous anger she killed them both. No one in town would have ever believed she killed them but the insects turned against her. Telling the towns people Katy did it Katy did it.

Some other Katydid folklore:

  • Katydids sing to bring in cold weather.
  • Three months from the first katydid chirp, there will be frost.
  • The earlier in the summer you hear the katydids, the earlier the first frost will be that fall.
  • The first katydid you hear in July, it’ll frost on the same day of the month in September.

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Borg Ship Dog Toy

We were near a Pet Smart and Old Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard was bare. We always peruse the store for bargins. The boys really like large balls like volley and soccer size balls, but they pop them quite quickly. The fun isn’t completely over, as the ‘ball bowl’ is now just easier to grab onto. However, no more kicking, rolling or chasing. I checked into the cost for a durable dog product of that size.. Ouch $45. My boys can get through things both cheap and well-made. That is 5 cheap volley balls. I then spied a large square ‘ball’ – It’s a Chuckit Kick Cube. Hmmm. $12.50 clearance. How bad can this be? They could easily bite the edges instead of having to bite a round surface.  There is a rubber part in the square’s centers that make kicking it a breeze, however it’s very unpredictable.

As a Star Trek fan, I immediately dubbed it the Dorg Ship (Borg).

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Oreo figured out how to pick it up first. Breck learned how to head-butt it out of Oreo’s mouth first!

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© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl

Summer Blooming Flowers 8-25-2015

Hope everyone is well this fine Tuesday =-)
Blooming flowers are getting harder to find and I usually know where they hide! This season slipped by me. completely slipped. This is difficult for me to accept, as I still have so many things to do before the ground freezes.
I don’t think I’ve mentioned it, however I have become an Ordained Minister. I will be officiating at my best friend’s wedding on October 4th. Now don’t misunderstand the title. You do not have to believe in a god to become a minister. I believe there is a life force/karma type dealio, however that is about as far as I go.

These photos are all from my new camera. Much, much better focus from this camera. I don’t need to take 50 photos, only about 10 now ;-) The distance isn’t much better, maybe gives me a discernible extra 10′ feet that I can make something out.

Here’s what was Blooming in 2014 and Blooming in 2013.

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Apple – Malus domestica

These are in my yard. Not so bad! I’ve not eaten one yet, but they look nice and plumb. Surely a pie will be made. MMmm, Pie!!

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Arisaema triphyllum – jack-in-the-pulpit, bog onion, brown dragon, Indian turnip, American wake robin or wild turnip.

Here’s this guy blooming.

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Japanese Forest Grass ~ Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola’

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Little Bunny Fountain Grass ~ Pennisetum alopecuroides ‘Little Bunny”

This grass only gets a foot wide, so YES! You DO have room for a grass in that tiny garden =-)

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Huge-ass Astilbe! ‘Maggie Daley’ at 28″ inches high.

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Speedwell ~ Veronica ‘First Love’

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Mint ‘Mojito’ ~ Mentha x villosa
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Hosta ~ Not sure of species, however these are at my house and these smell like gardenias. I cut these for my bedroom. Ah, serenity =-)

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A Mayapple, apple! These normally get taken by the little furries that scurry under the leaves. Want to see it blooming?

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Butter & Eggs ~ Linaria vulgarus

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A cute dragonfly.

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Two different Hydrangea paniculata’s ~ Tardiva on the left and Limelight on the right.

© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl

Fox River Kayaking 8-21-2015

We bought KAYAKS!!!

We’ve been putzing around renting kayaks and canoes for far too long. My husband did all the research and we settled on the Bass Pro Shop brand Ascend. He went with the fishing version and I went with the sports car version =-) Both are 10 feet long and about 50 pounds. A few things really make these ‘Yaks’ the bomb… The storage space is enormous, I can fit a full cooler in the back. The cupholders at the front keep your drink from spilling all over your legs (Who thought a cup holder between your legs was a good idea?). However, best of all is the adjustable, padded seats!!

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Cheers! Our maiden voyage is on the Fox River. We were a bit farther south than the last trip on the Fox.

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The starlings really enjoyed squawking in this large dead tree. I spied these flowers on the shore… It was a Geocache!

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Enallagma cyathigerum ~ Common blue damselfly

Damselflies and dragonflies spend the greater part of their lives as larvae, sometimes as much as three years. Adults live for around 12 days on average and in this short period they must breed. Mating can take up to 20 minutes and the females lay their eggs in the tissue of plants both above and below the water line and are capable of remaining submerged for some time. The male will stay guarding her at the point where she entered the water.

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Too bad we didn’t get to see a train.

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Nice and calm waters. No motor boats, too shallow. Only about 3′ feet mostly. There are some deeper spots.

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A Least Sandpiper (Calidris minutilla ) scurries around looking for crawling snacks.  Very cute.

© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl