Red Admiral – Vanessa atalanta

imageimageThe Red Admiral butterfly’s irregular flight pattern may have started the nickname ‘flutter-by’s’.

Males like to perch high in plants waiting for a female to lay eggs on the preferred host plants.
Red Admiral catapillars like plants in the nettle family: (Urticaceae) including stinging nettle (Urtica dioica), tall wild nettle (Urtica gracilis), wood nettle (Laportea canadensis), false nettle (Boehmeria cylindrica), pellitory (Parietoria pennsylvanica), mamaki (Pipturus albidus).

Adult Red Admirals prefer sap found on trees, fermenting fruit, and bird droppings! Yuk!! They only visit flowers (milkweed, red clover, aster, and alfalfa) when the former are not available.
Most Red Admirals can be found in most places in North America; however they prefer a moister area to dry.

 

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Brownie House Garden

My husband built a Brownie House a few months ago, hoping to attract a nice family of Brownies to help us fix the many broken items we have at our home.
imagewpid-20150701_122637.jpgBrownies are flightless fairy folk, similar to a hobgoblin, who love to fix things that are broken and improving them where possible. They do not like to be seen and will only work at night, traditionally in exchange for small gifts of food. Among food, they especially enjoy porridge and honey. Also, when ingredients are left out, they will bake something delicious, although they always attempt to make it into a dessert. I must have been a Brownie in a past life….

The Brownies that moved in didn’t seem to like the front walk and re-laid it more to their liking. I wanted their home to be a lovely retreat to enjoy during the day while they were resting from all the hard work they put into our broken items at night. I thought the flowers were a great touch. The Brownies must have agreed, as they added shiny glass gazing balls to their yard.

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© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Civil War Days

wpid-20150711_125015.jpgThere has been a lot of controversy over the Confederate flag being flown over some of the southern states. They are starting to come off the poles like drunk strippers. Personally, I don’t understand the big deal. The flag didn’t stand for slavery, it stood for a democracy and a way of life. It’s our history, like it or not.

Having lived in Florida for a spell, I understand what it means to be Southern. No one is in a hurry, always use your best manners, respect your elders and God. What’s not to love? I did enjoy my time having doors opened for me and being called ma’am.

There was a Civil War reenactment going on at a nearby forest preserve. It was very interesting to see how little the Confederates lived on compared to the Union soldiers.

CONFEDERATE CAMP:

They were lucky to have a table with them. Many just used the ground.
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An old surveying device.

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Fires were burning all day for hot water and to make a cornbread type pancake. No one had flour here for bread. They tended to reuse coffee beans a few times, then chew them. Chicory, a pretty, blue roadside weed has roots that can be boiled for a coffee substitute.

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Gunsmith ~ The rifle you see in the front was about 40 pounds… If you were good, you could fire it three times a minute.

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imageFour score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow — this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Abraham Lincoln
November 19, 1863

imageFarewell to the Army of Northern Virginia

After four years of arduous service, marked by unsurpassed courage and fortitude, the Army of Northern Virginia has been compelled to yield to overwhelming numbers and resources.
I need not tell the survivors of so many hard-fought battles who have remained steadfast to the last that I have consented to this result from no distrust of them; but feeling that valor and devotion could accomplish nothing that could compensate for the loss that would have attended the continuance of the contest, I determined to avoid the useless sacrifice of those whose past services have endeared them to their countrymen. By the terms of the agreement, officers and men can return to their homes and remain until exchanged.

You may take with you the satisfaction that proceeds from the consciousness of duty faithfully performed, and I earnestly pray that a merciful God will extend to you his blessing and protection. With an unceasing admiration of your constancy and devotion to your country, and a grateful remembrance of your kind and generous consideration of myself, I bid you all an affectionate farewell.

by Robert E. Lee

UNION CAMP:

In the Northern camps, things were a bit cushier.image

What a beautiful kitchen area.

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Blacksmiths

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Many of these were actually used in the war!

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Left, left, left-right-left!

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Summer Blooming Flowers 7-22-2015

Happy Hump Day!!
I hope everyone’s week is going well. We’re going camping this weekend.. about 13 miles away from home and only 1 mile from work. Is this a ‘stay-cation’? We haven’t hiked at the area et, however there is supposed to be OSPREY nesting here!! If you are wondering what these majestic birds look like, check out Emily’s blog at Bella Remy Photography for some wonderful photos of them!!

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Look at those begonias go!

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Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Bailmer’ or it’s copyrighted name ‘Endless Summer’

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Hemerocallis ‘Barbara Mitchell’ ~ Daylily

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Rosa rugosa ‘First Lady’ ~ Shrub rose

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Cotinus coggygria ‘Royal Purple’ ~ Smoke bush

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Such a nice mix! Annabelle hydrangeas and red beebalm. LOVE, Love, Love it!

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More monarda (Beebalm) and joe pye weed.

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Sagittaria latifolia is a plant found in shallow wetlands and is sometimes known as broadleaf arrowhead, duck-potato, Indian potato, or wapato. They are edible, and may be boiled or baked and eaten as a potato-like food. Native Americans harvested and consumed these tubers, which in some areas were known as wapato. The tubers are also an important food source for waterfowl, hence the name duck potato.

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Sparganium eurycarpum ~ Giant bur-reed

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Sorbaria sorbifolia ~ False spiraea

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Ilex VS Lawn Fungus

Common Signs of Lawn Fungus Diseases

  • Spots and patches
  • Underdeveloped growth
  • Bleached or light colored turf
  • Shredded or curled grass blades
  • Circular lesions on the blades
  • Dark growth at the base/thatch line

In general, the damage from a fungus will be circular. Correctly identifying the damage is crucial. For if the damage is actually grubs, treating them with fungicide won’t work, duh! Fungi that damage the lawns are parasitic and steal nutrients from grass, which causes it to decline, turn colors or in some cases die. When a fungal spore encounters a host in the right environmental conditions think: pathogen + environment + host =  disease disease Triangle

Common Lawn Fungus Diseases

snow mold

Pink Snow Mold – White to pink fungal growth that feels slimy, favored by abundant moisture.

gray snow mold

Gray Snow Mold – White to gray fungal growth that may form large irregular patches, favored by abundant moisture or snow cover.

yellow patch

Yellow Patch – Circular patches of light tan to brown grass, favored by cool, wet conditions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

brown spt

Brown Patch – Circular, light brown patches, favored by moist conditions or areas that remain wet.

necrotic spot

Necrotic Patch – Circular yellow patches or tan to brown grass, favored by cool, wet weather.

red thread

Red Thread/Pink Patch – Small, light pink to red patches, favored by cooler weather and moist conditions.

rust

Rust – Small, yellow flecks on leaves, sometimes enlarged to form rust-colored pustules, favored by moderately warm and humid conditions or stressed turf.

dollar spot

Dollar Spot – Circular patches with reddish-brown borders, favored by humidity.

fairy ring

Fairy Ring – Circular patches of dark green, often enlarged into rings, favored by mild temperatures and moisture, and sometimes in dry, hot conditions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Changing your lawn care habits might reduce your risk of fungi problems. A healthy lawn has a really good chance of pulling through a fungal infection, but that is up to you!

  • Water your grass regularly, but don’t water it too much because waterlogged grass invites fungi. Don’t set your irrigation and not monitor it.
  • Dry grass can also makes your lawn more susceptible.
  • A nitrogen-based fertilizer applied annually (in the fall) supplies your grass with the nutrients it needs to flourish.
  • When you mow, don’t remove more than one-third of the length of the blades of grass at a time. A healthy length for grass (from the thatchline) is 3 inches tall.

Generally, a homeowner doesn’t have many choices in the self-help isle of the Big Depot. You also don’t go to the store until you notice there is a fungus among-us in your lawn. There are many products, however most home-use products will cure most fungi. ALWAYS read the labels thoroughly.

The first thing you must do is to cure or the CURATIVE treatment. Which, in general, is either a stronger mixture, applied more often or both than the PREVENTATIVE. Be aware, you will need to apply this curatively, every 3 weeks, preventatively, every 4-5 weeks.

Organically, I’ve heard of putting corn meal on the lawn. I’ve got no experience using this. Has anyone tried this??

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Summer Blooming Flowers 7-20-2015

Happy Monday!
Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend. It was cloudy, stormy and hot as heck.

Click to see blooming flowers from 2013 or blooming flowers from 2014.

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Coreopsis rosea ‘Heaven’s Gate’ ~ Tickseed

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Delosperma ~ Iceplants

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Phlox paniculata ~ Tall garden phlox

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Anyone?

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The Dianthus ‘Raspberry Swirl’, Dianthus ‘Devon Siskin’, sometimes called ‘Siskin Clocks’ ~ Pinks or carnation

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Erigeron philadelphicus ~ Fleabane  Look, there’s a Siamese twin in there!

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Pretty rose! Smelled good also.

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Abutilon hybrid ~ Flowering maple

It’s a tropical plant.

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Asclepias syriaca ~ common milkweed, butterfly flower, silkweed, silky swallow-wort, and Virginia silkweed

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Potentilla fruticosa subsp. floribunda ~

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Echinacea purpurea ‘Cheyenne Spirit’ ~ coneflower

This is a true seed mix. Although they are different colors, they are all the same species. That sure makes for ID-ing the species.

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© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Sugar River Camping

These are from our Fourth of July camping trip to Sweet Minihaha Campground. We were literally right on the Sugar River.
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Venus and Uranus were really close together.

 

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New Glarus trail.

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Cheese Heads AKA Wisconsinites call us Illinoisans ‘Flatlanders’. Yup. we are. The glaciers pretty much ended pushing all their debris up to about the border between us and left wonderful kettles and moraines to explore.

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Here’s our kayak trip down the Sugar River.

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There was all kinds of wildlife here. Muskrats, woodpeckers, mayflies…

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“No Loud Mouth Soup” I will take this sign to my grave. I don’t like loud mouth soup myself!

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We were on site 27… You’re looking at site 26. Yup, about 5 years ago, there was a site 26…

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© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Red-Wing Blackbirds Attack Sandhill Crane

red wing blackbirdThe red-winged blackbird occupies open grassy areas, prefers wetlands, and inhabits both freshwater and saltwater marshes, particularly if cattail is present. They can also found in dry upland areas, where it inhabits meadows, prairies, and old fields.

Males spend most of their days defending their territories during the breeding season. He will chase other males out of the territory and anything he deems a nest predator, sometimes going after much larger animals, including horses and people.

Red-winged blackbirds are a highly polygynous species, with most males having at least a few females living within their territory. Although after testing DNA, 25% – 50% of nestlings turn out to have been sired by someone other than the territorial male.

The Algonquian Indians from my area derived the bird’s name from their word for “spotted” or “marked”, memiskondinimaanganeshiinh, literally meaning “a bird with a very red damn-little shoulder-blade”.

I saw these red-winged blackbirds protecting their territory from two Sandhill Cranes (Grus Canadensis) that were just passing through.

 

 

Summer Blooming Flowers 7-16-2015

Happy Thursday Everyone!!

We’re almost at the weekend… I’m waiting patiently…

Want to see what was blooming in 2013 or blooming in 2014?

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Malva alcea ~ greater musk-mallow, cut-leaved mallow, vervain mallow or hollyhock mallow

The flowers and leaves are edible, great for salads or use the flowers for a great accent for your plate.

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Physalis philadelphica ~ tomatillo

They reseeded in my garden this year. Gosh, I love free plants with no work!!!

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Polygonum punctatum ~ Smartweed

Has edible leaves with a very strong peppery flavor. Better used in soups and as a spice than raw in a salad… Unless you like it – SPICEY!!

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Cirsium discolor ~ Pasture thistle… I think!

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Solanum lycopersicum ~ Tomato!!!

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Hydrangea macrophyllia ‘Endless Summer’

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Lactuca serriola ~ Prickly Lettuce, China Lettuce

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Erigeron philadelphicus ~ Common Fleabane or Philadelphia Fleabane

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Plantago lanceolata ~ English plantain, narrowleaf plantain or ribwort plantain

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Daucus carota, ~ wild carrot, bird’s nest, bishop’s lace and Queen Anne’s lace

English botanist Geoffrey Grigson suggests that the name of the plant comes not from a Queen of England but from Saint Anne, the mother of the Virgin Mary and the patron saint of lacemakers.

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Melilotus albus ~ White Sweetclover, White Melilot, Honey-Clover, Bokhara Clover.

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Summer Blooming Flowers 7-15-2015

Happy Humpday my friends!!

Tomorrow, the shackles that keep me attached to my desk get unlocked and I get a field trip day into the wilderness!! Now, before everyone congratulates me, I will be in a rain garden weeding. The only reason I’m in the muck is that I’m the only one in the company that can ID grasses & sedges from cattails and phragmites. So, in essence, I’m leaving my cushy desk job to weed and I’m excited about it!! Gesh, do you think I’m in the wrong position here?! I should be a maintenance manager not an estimator. Oh well.

Want to see what was blooming in 2013 or blooming in 2014? Click respectively.

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Veronica ‘Eveline’ ~ Speedwell

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Yucca filamentosa ~ Yucca or Adam’s Needle

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Pennisetum setaceum ‘Red Riding Hood’ ~ fountain grass

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Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Twist And Shout’

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Aegopodium podograria ‘Variegatum’ ~ Bishops weed, Goutweed, Snow on the Mountain

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One size DOES NOT fit all =-) These are adorable, IMO!!

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Hemerocallis ‘Ruby Stella’

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File this under ‘Not Sure’ =-0 In the Echinacea family.

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Monarda didyma ‘Raspberry Wine’ ~ Bee balm

These were supposed to be the ‘Very mildew resistant’, however check out the powdery mildew on the leaves. It has been a harsh year for gardeners with fungus susceptible plants. Not much we can do about it now.

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Geum coccineum ‘Cooky’ ~ Avens

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Playing with my fisheye lens and lantana. So cute!!

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl