Summer Blooming Flowers 7-6-2015

Haaaaapy Monday…

Ooh, it was not easy getting out of bed this morning. I truly can’t wait for retirement.

Click to check out what was blooming in 2014 or blooming in 2013.

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Veronica ‘Eveline’ ~ Speedwell

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Weigela florida “Alexandra” ~ Wine & Roses weigela

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Hypericum prolificum ~ St. John’s Wort

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Veronica ‘Pure Silver’ ~ Speedwell

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Leucanthemum superbum ‘Becky’ & Geranium

Nice combo!

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Cirsium arvense ~ Canada Thistle (I’m not 100% on this…)

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Aesculus parviflora ~bottlebrush buckeye

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Hakenechloa macra ‘Aureola’ ~ Hakone grass or Japanese Forest Grass

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Achilllea millefolium ‘Paprika’ ~ Yarrow

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Achilllea ‘Summer Wine’ & ‘Walther Funcke’

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Public Service Announcement – Where to Go During a Tornado and or Fireworks

Breck really doesn’t like storms. It suffices to say that fireworks are also on the top of the list for finding a safe spot. Although I’m not an ass that would want to monopolize on my dogs phobia, he would be a great spokesperson for where to go when there’s a tornado!!
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Here’s where he’s found a new spot to hide. Behind the freezer, under the basement stairs. There’s only about 6″ inches for him to fit through there, but he finds a way.

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Rock Stacking – Art or Criminal Activity?

We recently camped at Illinois State Beach Park. There were an abundance of these river rocks… (um, lake rocks?) that we were finding on our walks that we just had to have! After returning to our campsite after each walk, barely able to keep our pants above our waists because of our new-found treasures filling our pockets… We started looking at our bounty. Maybe we need the Lake Michigan Rock Pickers Guide. Just what the heck were we going to do with all of these?!?

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We found a lot of other folks enjoyed making art from the rocks.

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Even Mother Nature faked us out with the moss rock. There was no rock under it.

We kept futzing around with them and started stacking them… Hmmm rock stacking…. I remember seeing guys doing this in crazy conditions like rivers or on the side of mountains. This turned out to be a great distraction from the world and a lesson in keeping calm, cool and steady!

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First, start easy. One big stack. Check. Then go for some wings to build other stacks from. Then build more stacks!

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We played this somewhat like Jenga, however we didn’t take any off. If it toppled, you drank.

Like we need an excuse to drink…..

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We got better as the weekend progressed. Maybe the liquor kept our nerves steady ;-)

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Styles of Rock-Stacking

  • Pure balance – each rock in near-point balance
  • Counterbalance – lower rocks depend on the weight of upper rocks to maintain balance
  • Balanced stacking – rocks lain flat upon each other to great height
  • Free style – mixture of the two above; may include arches and sandstone.

Here’s some professionals at work:

Although, there is a dark side that is working against the innocent rock stackers of the world. While researching for this post, I stumbled upon a group that is AGAINST rock-stacking! Really? Do you think the Peruvian officials sent out warrants for the builders of the Nazca Lines? What about the builders of Stonehenge? Should we criminalize their acts and because of this, destroy the history to restore the rocks to their original location? Please. Heaven forbid they go after the true, evil rock stackers of the world, the builders of structures that ruin the planet!

Both Fern U. Quiseley and Stacy O. Buffume are not satisfied with just speaking out against the practice of rock stacking. Their organization has been approved to receive a $150,000 grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as part of a recent stimulus package in addition to a recent $2.5 million UNESCO grant to help establish citizen action committees and organize activists and volunteers around the world to educate the public about the dangers of rock stacking. The grant application also states that they hope to educate citizens to help “…document violations, identify serial violators, and assist local authorities with enforcement action against violators.”

Are you fooking serious? My tax dollars going to the prevention of rock stacking????

Shoot me now.

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Holly Blue Butterfly – Celastrina argiolus

The Holly Blue butterfly (Celastrina argiolus) is one of the first blue butterflies to emerge in the spring. This little man is only about an inch around. I know he’s a boy as females have black wing edges/fringe.

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Primary Larval Food Plants:

  • Holly (Ilex spp.)
  • Ivy (Hedera helix)
  • Bramble (Rubus fruticosus)
  • Dogwoods (Cornus spp.)
  • Gorses (Ulex spp.)
  • Snowberries (Symphoricarpos spp.)
  • Spindle (Euonymus europaeus)

Nectar Sources:

  • Bramble (Rubus fruticosus)
  • Bugle (Ajuga reptans)
  • Buttercups (Ranunculus spp.)
  • Forget-me-not (Myosotis spp.)
  • Holly (Ilex spp.)
  • Ivy (Hedera helix)
  • Privet (Ligustrum vulgare)
  • Thistles (Cirsium and Carduus spp.)
  • Water Mint (Mentha aquatica).
  • Honeydew / Sap

 

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Summer Blooming Flowers 7-1-2015

Click for the blooming flowers of 2014 or for blooming flowers of 2013.

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Sonchus oleraceus ~ common sowthistle, sow thistle, smooth sow thistle, annual sow thistle, hare’s colwort, hare’s thistle, milky tassel

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Knautia macedonica ‘Thunder and Lightning’ ~ Scabiosa

I missed getting the variegated foliage in this photo, however it is the bomb.

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Gaillardia grandiflora ‘Fanfare’ ~ Blanket flower

This one is double cool… Look at the fluted petals!! eeeeeeeee! Yes, I squealed. These are at my house.

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Calamagrostis x acutiflora ‘Overdam’ ~ Variegated Reed Grass

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Coreopsis verticillata ‘Sunset Strip’ ~ Tickseed

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Rosa x ‘Radcon’ ~ Pink knockout rose

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Hemerocallis ‘Happy Returns’ ~ Daylillies

These are edible! I don’t have any in my yard anymore, so no more tempura flowers for me.

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Stachys byzantina ‘Silver Carpet’ ~ Lamb’s ears, betony

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Heuchera micrantha ‘Palace Purple’ ~ Coral Bells, Alumroot, Coralbells, Alum Root

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Hosta ‘Big Daddy’

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Summer Blooming Flowers 6-30-2015

Happy Tuesday… two more days until short vacation time!!

I want you guys to be sure I don’t bring any work with me. I’m serious. Not even a small design. =-)

Click to see what was blooming in 2013 or blooming in 2014.
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Lychnis arkwrightii ‘Orange gnome’ ~ Ragged robin or champion

I. Must. Have. This! The flowers are about an inch big (3 cm). Again, as with the last lychnis I shot, I would have to alter this image to express the brightness of these blooms.

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Penstemon ‘Dark Towers’ ~ Beard-tounge

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Heliopsis ‘Summer nights’ ~ False sunflower or oxeye

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Spigelia marilandica ~ Indian pink

A native here. Likes dry shade.

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Umm.. I can’t seem to remember this one…  ;-)

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Eryngium ‘Big blue’ ~ Sea Holly

What’s not to like about this ‘punk-rock’ flower ?!?

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Heuchera ‘Midnight Rose’ ~ Coral bells. The pink flecks in the leaves enlarge and turn creamy pink towards the end of the season.

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Hemerocallis fulva ~ Orange Day-lily, Tawny Daylily, Tiger Daylily, Fulvous Daylily, Ditch Lily, Railroad Daylily, Roadside Daylily, Outhouse Lily

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A wild strawberry patch… So bitter, even the birds have left it alone!

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Morus alba ~ Mulberries!!! Soooo close! These are pie-hole height. I could eat these with my eyes closed and hands behind my back. Not yet, tho. I must wait until they are dark purple. Then I must do my civic duty and rid our land of the invasive species… one berry at a time!

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Ilex VS Four-Lined Plant Bug (Poecilocapus lineatus)

 

imageThe four-lined plant bug (Poecilocapus lineatus) removes plant’s chlorophyll via their piercing-sucking mouthparts. They also secrete a toxin in their saliva that digests the components responsible for holding the plant cells together that leaves a hole in the plant’s epidermis. This feeding produces white, dark, or translucent spots the plant’s leaves, which can run together forming large blotches. Leaves can turn brown, curl-up and ultimately fall off. If feeding occurs on new growth, wilting may result.

Damage that the four-lined plant bug inflicts can be misidentified as a fungal disease spots because of the similar appearance and timing. Many times the bug isn’t seen during scouting, as when they are disturbed, the four-lined plant bug will drop to the ground or will hide on the other side of the stem. These are the same tactics asparagus beetles employ.image

How to mitigate the damage:

These bugs do like a wide variety of plants, so be aware that the damage may look just a bit different on different plants. Unless the attacked plant is very small or having the new growth chewed, most plants will pull though with some damage. Scout the damaged plant at different times of the day. Sometimes bugs don’t wake up early in the morning!

Have a cup of soapy water ready for when you do see one. They are easy to catch, place cup below them, wave your hand near them and they will cannonball into the soap water. No squishing required. Neem oil can also be used for bad cases.

During the fall, the banana shaped eggs are placed at right angles in vertical slits along the plant’s stem. The eggs will over winter and hatch in May to late-June. Therefore, removing the dead plant material at the end of the season will lower next season’s attacks.

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My poor Joe Pye Weed! Eupatorium fortunei ‘Pink Frost’

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Thirteen Line Ground Squirrel – Ictidomys tridecemlineatus

Cute Cute! Thirteen-lined Ground Squirrels (Gopher, Striped Ground Squirrel, Striped Gopher, Thirteen-lined Gopher, Striped Spermophile), they are not tree squirrels or chipmunks, but closely related. These guys are often seen standing on their hind legs on right of ways or other places where the grass is mowed. The squirrel’s coat pattern is distinctive, with 13 dark and pale stripes running the length of its back; with white spots in the dark stripes.

The thirteen-lined ground squirrel is the mascot of the University of Minnesota, Goldy Gopher and responsible for Minnesota’s nickname as the Gopher State.

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Don’t mind me, the cute little ground squirrel, I’m just here to clean-up the fallen seeds from the feeder above… Or am I?!? Muh-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha

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I’m very environmental. I always bring my own bags right here in my cheeks. I just pop these seeds in whole now and I’ll crack them open later during the “Rocky & Bullwinkle Show”.

Ground squirrels possibly once lived in a short-grass prairie and now our lawns are where they like to live. They dig a variety of tunnels, from short ones used for escape to deeper, longer ones with nesting/hibernation chambers. This usually gets them on the shit list with homeowners that want a perfect lawn. They also sometimes damage gardens by digging burrows and eating vegetables, but they also eat weed seeds and harmful insects. I like coexistence…. Unless you cross into MY small and humble ‘house-space’.

imageimageThese little cuties are in a brick flower planter built into my workplace’s garage. I’m pretty sure I have counted six of these little guys in there. When they were smaller, they fell out of the planter often and would need to be put back in there as it is quite high for them, but not an adult. I’ve not seen an adult enter the nest through the top, however it is possible it has another entrance somewhere else… Oh, JOY!!! I’ve not gotten any flack about feeding the birds or tree squirrels here at work, however these guys have passed the ‘house-space’ zone. In a week or so, I’m sure they will be a mature 28 days+ and at the normal time youngsters leave the nest. Sadly, these cuties are getting the HUMANE kick to the curb. I will be digging this out and corralling them out to the outcrop/evergreen area to go enjoy life a bit farther away from me. I’m not sure yet what will be my plan of defense to keep them out of there, however it will have to be some kind of barrier.

imageTheir primary diet includes seeds and insects, however sometimes they crave a little more protein…

I had just gotten to work one fine morning, waking-up my computer, opening the windows and about to go fire up a cup of joe, when I hear some awful “I’m being killed” type screams. I look out the window to see one of my cutie ground squirrels with a male house sparrow in it’s jaws and blood splattering from the birds flapping wings. I ran for the door instead of filming… Not sure what I was going to do upon arrival… As I ran around the corner, the squirrel was already almost back to it’s hole and dropped the sparrow upon seeing me.

Um, yeah. That bird had no chance.

I find it funny that I have seen these squirrels and the birds run around the ground together, within inches of each other for years, with no tangles. If this was so common, I think I would see more birds show concern when the squirrels are under the feeders.

Later, after I fled the scene with a somewhat upset belly, I saw the hunter come back for his meal. He sat by his hole, triumphantly eating his prize.

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Summer Blooming Flowers 6-25-2015

Happy Thursday to you all!!

Click to see what was blooming in 2013 & blooming in 2014.

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Delosperma ‘Fire spinner’ ~ Ice plant

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Schlumbergera truncata ~ Thanksgiving cactus

Errr. It’s not Thanksgiving!!!
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Syringa reticulata ‘Ivory silk’ ~ Lilac tree. Actually not that fragrant, however make a great street tree as they are salt tolerant.

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Leonurus cardiaca ~ Motherwort

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Enallagma cyathigerum ~ common blue damselfly, common bluet, or northern bluet

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Bumblebee” is a compound of “bumble” + “bee”. “bumble” meaning to hum, buzz, drone, or move ineptly or flounderingly. Pierre André Latreille assigned the generic name Bombus in 1802 and is derived from the Latin word for a buzzing or humming sound.

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Filipendula rubra ~ Queen-of-the-prairie

These are native here. Got me a clump about 3 feet wide by 3 feet high in full sun. It loves it.

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Trifolium Pratense ~ Red Clover

Red clover is thought to be one of the richest sources of isoflavones, which are water-soluble chemicals that act like estrogens (collectively known as phytoestrogens). Red Clover is used for hot flashes/flushes, PMS, breast enhancement (Really??) and breast health as well as lowering cholesterol, improving urine production and improving circulation of the blood, to help prevent osteoporosis, reduce the possibility of blood clots and arterial plaques and limiting the development of benign prostate hyperplasia.

And here we are, the STUPID humans that have to remove it from their lawn as it looks ‘bad’. Stupid, stupid human.

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Gaura lindheimeri ‘Siskiyou Pink’ ~ Wand flower

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Veronica longifolia ‘First Glory’ ~ Speedwell

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl