Monday Memories

It’s time again for the Monday Memories Post! AKA ~ Ilex buys a day of blogging by repeating old ones…

It’s Time to Hunt For Garlic Mustard

Garlic mustard can be found growing almost anywhere, but prefers a shady location. Procuring this herb is as easy as traveling to your nearest forest preserve. Removing native plants from protected parks is illegal, but because of garlic mustard’s invasive status, most parks will encourage you to take all you’d like.

Spring rain has made the ground soft which helps with removal of garlic mustard’s tap root. This root only goes down for about an inch, then takes an abrupt turn. When you pull slowly, you can feel which way the root goes and pull accordingly. If all of it is not removed, it will grow back like a dandelion. It will also start blooming in our area soon, making it easier to find.


Juniperus horizontalis – Trailing juniper on the beach of Lake Michigan

Camping at Adeline Jay Geo-Karis Illinois Beach – State Park

This area is 4,160 acres and has a recorded 650+ different plant species. Long recognized for its unique geological features, native flora and unmatched beauty, the Lake Michigan dunes area originally was, in the 1700s, part of the “Three Fires” of the Algonquin Nation: the Potawatomi, Chippewa and Ottawa.

This area was slated to be a preserve as early as 1888, when Robert Douglas, a Waukegan nurseryman, and Jens Jensen, a famous landscape architect (If you live/visit Chicago, you’ve seen a lot of his work), worked together to make the area a regional park. With industry progressing from the south, sand mining ravaging the dunes and parts of the surrounding rural area succumbing to pasture and homesteads, legislative efforts to save the area finally began in the 1920s.


Opuntia – Prickly pear – The fruit is edible.

In 1948, the state obtained the first parcels of what is now known as Illinois Beach State Park. The Illinois Dunes Preservation Society was established in 1950 to protect the area. Through its efforts and the determinations of the Department of Conservation, in 1964 the area south of Beach Road was dedicated as the first Illinois Nature Preserve.

This area is unique, as it is a sand dune area, and the rest of Illinois is nothing like it. I was on the hunt for Opuntia – Prickly pear & Juniperus horizontalis – Trailing juniper, both of these are native to this area. In 1804, explorers Lewis and Clark noted that trailing juniper “would make a handsome edging to the borders of a garden”

Use Landscaping to Save on Energy Bills

Landscaping can significantly reduce the costs of heating and cooling the home. Scan_Pic0002Some well-placed shade trees, evergreens and shrubs not only look great, but also keep the house cool in the summer and warm in the winter.

Not much solar energy enters our homes through the walls and roof  because of the insulation. Sun shining through the windows accounts for about half of the unwanted heat in a house during the summer. Twice as much solar energy enters through the east and west windows as the south windows, particularly if there is a roof overhang on the south side of Scan_Pic0001the house.

The sun and wind both affect the temperature of residences in winter. A substantial amount of warmth can be gained from the sun shining through a southern facing window in the winter when the sun is low in the sky. East and west windows can also provide solar energy gain in the winter. The solar energy from the windows may provide 4-18% of the total energy needed to heat the home. Although, escaping warm air, along with cold wind penetrating a home, increase the heating costs and account for 24-39% of the heating requirements.

Pixel or Paper? Is Electronic Media More Environmental?

Implied is the assumption that going digital is better for the environment. However, the paper industry argues this. They are pushing companies to remove these claims, which they says are misleading consumers and are not substantiated by adequate research.

The non-profit, Two Sides, an organization representing the paper and print industry, recently published a press release that it has convinced many major U.S. companies to remove their “anti-paper” green claims promoting e-billing as more environmentally friendly than paper.

“The goal is to put an end to unsubstantiated and misleading claims that electronic communications are more environmentally friendly than print and paper.” Riebel said.

Although, Two Sides has a stake in preserving the paper industry, the organization’s movement does raise an important question: Is going paperless really better for the environment?

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Spring Blooming Flowers 4-23-2015

Happy Friday everyone!!

This week was full of exciting things, Earth Day, Arbor Day Today and also our first camping trip this weekend!

Click to see what was blooming in 2014 HERE and 2013 HERE!!


Scilla siberica – Siberian Squill


Sanguinaria canadensis – bloodroot


Bloodroot is used in the Pagan world as a proponent of marriages.

  • Place a bloodroot over your front door to encourage anyone who enters to respect your marriage.
  • To inspire a happy marriage, mix a combination of the two colored roots (darker red to brownish roots are King roots and the lighter orange to pinkish roots are Queen roots), wrap in a red flannel fabric and place under the marital bed.
  • If you fear someone is trying to break up your marriage, sew some dried bloodroot into yours and your spouse’s pillows.


Podophyllum peltatum – Mayapple, Mandrake, May Apple, May-apple.




I see you little asparagus. Come out so I can eat you!!


Magnolia stellata – Star magnolia



Acer Palmatum – Crimson Queen Japanese Maple

These are the types of photos I take at the nurseries for my clients.


Chaenomeles × superba – ‘Texas Scarlet’ Quince


Rhododendron PJM

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Yellowfinch ~ Spinus tristis

These little guys are so cute. They cling to the nyjer sock like little circus performers. During the winter, the males colors are muted, but sill brighter than the females. These guys stay here all year.

Goldfinches are very strict vegetarians. They will wait to nest until June/July when the thistle, milkweed and other fibrous seeds are in abundance. Other birds augment their young’s diet with insects, but not Goldfinches.


Here’s Mr. & Mrs. at the ‘sock’. His bright yellow coat is a joy to see after a long. cold winter.

wpid-2015-04-16-16.12.07.jpg.jpeg  .

Almost, not quite… Stay tuned, he’ll be all yellow soon.

© ~ Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl

Keep America Beautiful ~ “People Start Pollution. People Can Stop It.”

Pollution Prevention: Keep America Beautiful — Iron Eyes Cody (1904- 1999)

I grew-up watching this commercial. It always did bring a tear to my eye also.

In 1961, Keep America Beautiful partnered with the Ad Council to create a campaign dramatizing how litter and other forms of pollution were hurting the environment, and that every individual has the responsibility to help protect it. The goal of the campaign was to help fight the negative attitudes and behaviors that lead to pollution.

The anti-litter campaign originally featured “Suzy Spotless” scolding her litterbug father and later featured pigs rummaging through trash left behind by humans. Although mainstream America remained oblivious to environmental concerns, change was in the air with the publication of Rachel Carson’s New York Times bestseller Silent Spring in 1962.  The book represented a watershed moment for the modern environmental movement, selling more than 500,000 copies.

In 1970, Senator Gaylord Nelson, created Earth Day. The Keep America Beautiful charity started a toll-free hotline and began offering a free brochure and more than 100,000 copies were requested within the first four months. On top of that, the National Litter Index dropped for the second straight year. However, it wasn’t until later that the Pollution Prevention campaign became embedded in American culture.

On Earth Day, 1971, a public service announcement featuring Native American actor Chief Iron Eyes Cody and the tagline line, “People Start Pollution. People can stop it.” aired for the first time. Iron Eyes Cody became synonymous with environmental concern and achieved lasting fame as, “The Crying Indian.” The PSA won two Clio awards and the campaign was named one of the top 100 advertising campaigns of the 20th Century by Ad Age Magazine. In 1982, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce honored Iron Eyes Cody, whose film repertoire included three Western films with President Ronald Reagan, with a star bearing his name on the Famous Walk of Fame on Hollywood Boulevard.

During the height of the campaign, Keep America Beautiful reported receiving more than 2,000 letters a month from people wanting to join their local team. By the end of the campaign, Keep America Beautiful local teams had helped to reduce litter by as much as 88% in 300 communities, 38 states, and several countries. The success of the Keep America Beautiful anti-litter campaign led to hundreds of other environmental messages through the years, from many different sources, including the Ad Council.

Please be good to your Mother Earth, not just today on Earth Day, but forever!

Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Spring Blooming Flowers 4-20-2015

Happy first Blooming Series of 2015!!
Now I will link back to 2014 & 2013 for what was blooming back then.
I hope you enjoy he series =-)

Click to see what was blooming in 2014 HERE and 2013 HERE!!


Crocus speciosus – Crocus


Viola sorori – wood violet, sweet violet, English violet, common violet, florist’s violet, or garden violet


Viola – Common annual pansies


Hyacinthus orientalis – Hyacinth


Narcissus Pseudonarcissus – daffodil, narcissus or jonquil


Forsythia viridissima – Forsythia


Abeliophyllum distichum – White forsythia

It smelled heavenly!!


Muscari – grape hyacinth


Puschkinia scilloides – Striped squill

imageMagnolia stellata – Star magnolia

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Why My Dogs Can’t Come to the Playdate…

Um, which is which?

They are a match and sound the same! Milo “My-My” to his closest friends, is a neighbor. He has a bit of a breathing condition that causes him to sound just like the toy’s grunting. Milo doesn’t really like other dogs, but loves scratches from long nails. I’m not sure what my boys would think, considering this guy is a dead-ringer for a favorite toy of theirs. I’m sure the would just shake their doggy heads!

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl