Monday Memories

Here’s what was going on during this time of year in the past…

Ilex VS House Sparrow

sparrowIn W. L Dawson’s 1903 book, The Birds of Ohio he said, “Without question the most deplorable event in the history of American ornithology was the introduction of the English Sparrow.”

The House Sparrow originated in the Mediterranean and expanded its range into Europe as civilization also grew. Many factors contributed to the House Sparrows invasion of America. In 1850, green inch-worms were destroying trees in New York City’s Central Park. It was thought that the house sparrow’s main diet in Europe was these green worms and if sparrows were brought to New York City, they would solve the worm problem. One year later, the Brooklyn institute released eight pairs that didn’t survive the climate change. However, after many more attempts, they did finally adapt. Others hypothesized that the House Sparrow would eat grain out of horse manure, which would help the manure decompose faster. Finally, many Europeans who immigrated to the United States during this time smuggled in the little birds they were accustomed to seeing in their native country. By the time it was realized that house sparrows do not regularly eat insects outside the nesting season or eat grain out of horse manure (yet ate it out of the horse feeders), the birds range had spread tremendously.

Ilex VS Powdery Mildew

mildew grape leaf.JPG

On grape leaf. Credit: David B. Langston

There are many species of fungus that cause powdery mildew on plants. Most only infect the leaf surface or stems and do not attack the leaf tissue of the host plant. Powdery mildew is not usually a serious problem, but to avoid severe damage to plants, quick control methods need to be taken.

Many powdery mildews, especially those that attack woody plants, are more unsightly than destructive. Good sanitation is highly important to reduce infections the next season.

  • Be proactive and purchase disease resistant plants.
  • Space the plants properly, in-well drained soils where plants receive good air circulation.
  • Dispose of diseased leaves as soon as they drop.
  • Do not compost or use as mulch.
  • Always avoid working among plants with wet foliage. Stay inside on rainy days!

Why Bulbs Aren’t Happy Looking Up Annuals Butts…

wpid-20140508_165602.jpgI was asked by a client the other day if we could plant her wpid-20150425_125400.jpgannual flowers right over her tulips, with the intent that the bulbs will ‘multiply’. I had to pass on bad news. Bulbs and annuals don’t play nicey-nice together. At least here in the Midwest…




32 thoughts on “Monday Memories

  1. With a client like that I hope you charged her plenty. I sometimes wonder how stupid some people are. So using her logic if I buried a potato in the ground with a hazelnut would I get nuts I could mash?


  2. Sorry to say, that while I realise many birds are pests, I still like the little house sparrow. Here in SA they are called Mossies, and the males have quite striking markings 🙂


  3. lol !! So much for careful planning and programming by scientists 😀 Sparrows were a menace here too many years back but now they have dwindled so much that it is becoming an alarming situation !


  4. For some reason, I’ve not had any house sparrows last year or this year. But my property is getting more woodsy all the time. Maybe the white wing doves and a pair of hawks and an endless number of squirrels are keeping them away. And just maybe they are going to my wealthy neighbors feeders.


    • I am no ornithologist, but my guess is they don’t like the woody areas. They aren’t talented fliers and like open spaces. They want to perch at feeders and normally* don’t go for suet or nyjer seed.
      *Mine do, very awkwardly fly to the suet and attempt to hang on with one foot and feed, all the while flapping one wing for balance, which makes them spin the whole shebang! Cracks me up. Surprised they don’t puke after a ride like that! 😂:D

      Liked by 1 person

  5. hey … last year i read somethung about a fungus that posed/poses a danger to oak trees. to make a long story short … last year tens of thousands of acorns dropped from the oak trees around our cottage. they bombarded us at all times of the day and night covering almost every square foot of ground. i wrote a poem about the phenomenon … imagine thousands of these little projectiles constantly falling usually in groups of 20 or 30 … making the sound of a drum line from the university of michigan band when they dropped onto my aluminum shed … .or a machine gun giving a rapid burst of fire …

    the point i’m trying to make is … all trees are in contact with each other. all you have to do is look at them touching and moving, their leaves taking in sunlight … using that information to grow … their limbs and branches resembling the structure of the human brain … the earth is a vast network of trees touching each other … a vast mind … taking in more information and knowing more than humans can possibly fathom from both above and below the surface of the planet. there is awareness there … but it is unfathomable to we mere humans …

    getting back to the fungus and the acorn phenomenon … there’s too much coincidence to the fact that … the trees had a collective sense a threat from the fungal invasion … not through words like we think… something more vast than words.

    in response to the fungal invasion they dropped millions more acorns than i’ve ever seen or experienced … birthing more offspring to replace the weaker trees that will succumb to the fungus.

    i felt privileged to be in the midst of this incredible event … i sensed something beyond everyday thought … a much greater awareness of the world … it reinforced my thinking that the planet IS a sentient being … the trees an plants perhaps the supreme living creation in all the universe based on the amount of information they gather and share … and have gathered and shared for millennia … imagine the cumulative knowledge… it’s beyond the scope of thought since they gather the language of the planet as well, through their roots …

    i say all of this as a preamble to my question …. where and how do i send you the pictures you requested of the possible fungal invasion of my moss?? if you are interested … there are two poems i wrote that address the subject … i’d love it if you’d read them … if you haven’t already … i’ll send on … i heard that spraying sour milk onto areas you want moss to grow … works! any truth to this? and that green background … wow … says a lot doesn’t it? thanks ks and thanks for your visits .. those ”likes” are to me … what sunlight is to the leaves of trees …. ks


    • The fungus you are thinking of causes Oak Wilt. For more specifics, you can read the full post HERE. This fungus is transferred by beetles and the roots of and infected oak touching. Most of the time, it is a death sentence.
      Regarding the over-abundance of acorns. Sometimes plants in general have perfect conditions to growing, sometimes not. However, they also do have a response of putting all their effort into making seeds (I call it the ‘Hail Mary’) hoping to have offspring when they think death is eminent.
      I’ve heard of using milk to get green algae to grow on the sides of clay pots, however, its just that, algae, not moss. I say NO on milk growing moss.
      I’m going to spell my email a bit spelled out as spambots look for these things. midwesternplants at yahoooooo .company -ooooo -pany =-)


      • death sentence !! i love my moss! what can i do? l’ll fight those frigin beatles to the death!

        should i dig out the moss surrounding and touching the oaks??

        i read there are two varieties of moss … one that grows by pollination … if you get down and look closely you can see their tiny little flowers … the other … the thick green moss which i love … .. i can’t remember the term used as to how they grow …

        but it looks like there’s a third variety.

        to tell you the truth i THINK it’s the pollinating variety that has the fungus .. but i’m not sure … maybe the pictures will help … thanks … ks

        so, it’s the beetles that spread the fungus? or, the beetles that invade the tree when it weakens? i see a certain kind of fungi (correct term?) on some oaks that have a hard surface … radiate outward like pancakes stacked in a semi circle … three or four rows deep …

        i read that they can be found … usually … on the weaker trees … which might be natures way of making the species stronger … ???

        it’s nice to hear you use terms like .. ‘they put their effort ..” and ”when they think …. ” these are human terms but they DO apply to trees in terms of having SOME kind of consciousness … jeeze .. i want you to read my poems about trees … ! thanks … ks


        • No worries on your moss touching the oaks. Its the oaks roots touching with their roots below.
          The beetles have the fungus on them and burrow into the tree, thus passing on the fungus. Yes, healthy trees don’t generally attract beetles, so don’t stress them out with other things like lack of water or injury. Its life to the fittest with all species, ain’t it?!? 😉


          • not much i can do about the fungal/root problem then is there?

            of course, we haven’t determined whether my moss has fungus yet. please forgive me but, i couldn’t go back in and find your email address. could you re-send it? would it be better if you sent it to … to avoid those nasty spammers? i would never want to be part of that group … i had enough spam when i went to camp … . i want to stay as far away from it as possible. i’m sure you understand. thanks … ks

            i just finished ripping 15 variagated arbecolas out of the ground. i still have a few more to go. the weed mat was wrapped tightly around each plant so i had to cut through it before i could get my shovel in the ground. after that they came out of the ground fairly easily. what a pain … . i’ll be replacing the arbecola with 25 indian hawthorn … finishing it off with 25 or 30 bags of mulch. (don’t you hate that red shit?) a little side job … i’m retired but a little extra money doesn’t hurt and i love the work … but … IT’S SO ‘F’ING HOT DOWN HERE … in two weeks we’ll be back in god’s country among the oaks and the moss and the chippers and the squirrels and the most beautiful body of water in the world … Lake Huron … wull, in my opinion anyway …

            jeeze … you know so much! i wish i were you ! and that family of yours ! looks like laugh riots are going on all the time ! … thanks again .. ks


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