Good day!!

This blog will be focusing on the diverse, horticultural environment that is called the Midwest, specifically zone 5.

I am very curious about everything that goes on within my Midwestern island (and sometimes beyond), that I will post other topics that have piqued my interest whether it be odd, new, outrageous, or just nothing I’ve ever seen before! We’re 4 seasons here… Winters are long ( I also tend to get a bit loopy…) not much is happening in the horticultural department!

Our little family also loves to explore (Geocache, kayak, tube, hike) and camp, which usually produces some interesting stories to write about. We hope to travel wherever there are roads to take us in the future.

Fine Print:

I am pretty opinionated and tend to get a bit over-excited at times… I may need to apologize now! =-O However, if you’re looking for a blog to follow that is 80% Midwestern Plant information and 20% utterly crazy observations that will either keep you in stitches or piss you off enough to un-follow me. You’re in the right place!!

FOLLOWS: For me to be able to fully enjoy and comment on the blogs I do follow, I must keep my follows to a comfortable level for daily reading. Bloggers do come and go quite quickly IMHO, tho. I do enjoy comments, I tend to flip-flop follow chatty bloggers over the LIKE hit & runners.

I also don’t really have time for awards. After you’ve done 4-5 and the likes are four stars each, it got old for the amount of time I shoveled out. I prefer to give back to my FOLLOWED blogs in different ways.

Things I hang on my wall regarding Horticulture:

I live in Lake County, Illinois with my artist/plumber husband & 2 Border Collies. I grew-up tending flowers with my Mother and veggies with my Father. I earned my Degree in Horticulture (Natural Areas Management), a Certificate in Landscape Maintenance, Urban Forestry Management and obtained my Arborist license from the International Society of Arboriculture. I have my pesticide applicator license, but practice IPM (integrated pest management – i.e. I try to be organic). My desire to help others drew me to the University of Illinois Master Gardener program, where I volunteered for a time, answering the public’s gardening questions. Currently, I work for a well-known, high-end landscape firm as an estimator, designer & plant buyer.

….Yet I dream to be viewing the country via my toy-hauler, writing environmental and animal grants…

If you have any questions, please ask!

I will be happy to address any questions.

Enjoy your day!

Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl



182 thoughts on “About

  1. Hi Ilex, I live in southeastern WI and also have applied to the Hort Therapy program at Chicago Botanic Garden for 2018. Hope to meet you there! Best wishes. Jennifer K., aka @plantgirl14

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good day Jennifer! 😁 I am so excited to get this new part of my career going! I was a bit intimidated by the amount of paperwork CBG wanted for registration. Guess I’m used to normal college class registration… sign-up, pay, then attend class. Do you think there is tough competition to get in? I’ll admit I’ve got butterflies 🦋 in my belly! I wish you the best 😁 Ilex


      • It sounds like it is. The website mentioned limited capacity but I’m not sure what the enrollment number is. There aren’t many such programs in the country so I imagine there’s a good amount of competition. You have lots of great experience so I can’t imagine you’d have any problem getting in, though. I’ve been looking at this program for years and now finally able to apply. Fingers crossed! Best wishes.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Same as you, I’ve been looking to enroll in this program for a few years, but I wasn’t ready to move from my current job… I’m ready now! 😫😲
          Ironically, I went on a forest bathing walk last Saturday and met a woman currently in the program. She said there were 23 folks in her class. (I’d guess more could be enrolled, just IMO) She doesn’t recall it being tough to get in… She’s a landscape architect. She said there were all different types of backgrounds there… occupational therapists, montessori school teachers, horticulturists… She said she felt, “they are partial to the plant geeks”. I also think they want folks that will actually go out and do this career, not just come to take a class. So, I’m assuming we’re good to go 😉
          I almost did the one in Colorado, as it started this fall, and my bff lives there. No issue to attend classes/stay with her. But of course, it’s easier to just stick around here 😉
          We’re you going to skip the intro hort class? I’m going to. I am going to take the other therapy garden design class in late May, tho.
          Best of luck to you 😁


          • Hi, somehow I missed your last message. Yes I did request to skip the Intro to Hort class; seems a waste of $ for folks who already have hort/therapy knowledge/experience. I’m looking into the therapy garden design class as well. Have you heard anything yet about admissions? I thought we were supposed to hear by today. I’ve heard great things about the CO program but was glad the Chicago program was recently accredited so I wouldn’t have to look at such a distance! Take care and Happy Holidays!

            Liked by 1 person

            • Get out of my head! 😂🤣 I was just scanning my posts… looking to see where you had commented and see if you had heard!
              Nope. Dead air here. I called. Actually 3x, as I was stuck in automatic hold for 15 minutes at a time. Then given to a VM. My msg has not been returned.
              Let’s just say I take punctuality seriously… 😉 I hope they answer soon, either in or out.
              I think CO allows you to start a class whenever they start one, but yes, there’s travel and an additional class. That’s plan B 😉 My buddy would be happy to see me tho!
              Enjoy your holidays also!


              • Lmao! Last correspondence I received was comfirming receipt of all my materials, I wanted to give them until the end of today but I plan to send an email tomorrow. I’m the same way about deadlines: if you’re not going to meet one, you at least let ppl know… Hopefully we will hear something soon either way.

                Liked by 1 person

  2. Most folks seem to want to eradicate bracket fungus (shelf fungus) from their trees. I, however, have a dead tree — v-shaped, two-pronged, 9-foot stump(s), actually — on which I’d like to encourage the growth of this gorgeous fungus. Can it be “transplanted” from another tree that has it growing? Any ideas?

    Liked by 1 person

    • GREAT question! 😁
      In short, you can absolutely cultivate some kind of bracket fungus on the stump.
      In long, it will depend on what type of tree it was*, some are better at growing it than others. How long it has been dead. Some trees look dead, but aren’t.
      Cultivation of certain bracket fungi are still done for medical purposes (in the Orient), for gourmet foods and for artists.
      I found a great forum that discusses all of this: https://www.shroomery.org/forums/showflat.php/Cat/0/Number/9017610
      Basically, you need to find or buy spores of the brackets you want. Drill holes into stump, place spores and seal. Then let nature take its course.
      Here’s a post I wrote about bracket fungus: https://midwesternplants.org/2016/03/23/shelf-and-bracket-fungus/
      The last 2 photos are of the same stump at work. The tree was pretty dead at felling time. The stump took less than 2 years to grow these 3 different types of fungus.
      I hope this helps! 😀

      *if you don’t know what it was, I can try to ID from the bark, if you want to send photo.


      • Thank you for your reply! It was a pin oak that had “Oak Wilt.” It was cut down this December, though it did sprout some green leaves last spring, so it wasn’t fully dead. My landlord was good enough to leave as much standing as was safe and satisfactory for neighbors worried about their property/houses. I pleaded with him. I have seen the fungus on a few other trees nearby in our local woods (metroparks). I am certain I can bring some back on my next walk.

        Liked by 1 person

        • That’s awesome that you know the species, and you have a great landlord!
          I’m not a mushroom hunter, but I do know that morel mushrooms prefer oak trees to grow under. I hear they are super yummy.
          Oak wilt is a really bad fungus. It doesn’t make pretty bracts, more like a mass of white foam. If the tree is still somewhat alive, the fungus may still be alive also. I’m saying this as this fungus effects the food exchange part of the tree, which is just under the bark. This fungus tends to pop off the bark. Why I say this, is so when you inoculate the stump, be sure to drill your hole in about 2″, well past the bark. This is so that if the bark gets popped off, your spores are still IN the tree. Lastly, you should research when a fungus will bloom… remember the bract is the flower of the fungus. I don’t want you to be discouraged if this doesn’t look like it’s working. In the right conditions it will! I’m all for foraging for your spores, but it has to be the right time, when spores are active. I don’t know this info. Worse case, you may be able to buy a mushroom kit (I’ve bought them from Amazon, oyster shrooms are yummy!) and use that. At least you know it will grow.
          I wish you the best of luck! This sounds life a fun project! Please let me know your results!
          Happy holidays!


Time to fire-up the chair-to-keyboard interface!!!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s