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Spring Blooming Flowers 5-23-2017

Happy Tuesday!

Only two more days of this shyt…..

Click to see previous years blooms 20162015 20142013

     

Veronica ‘Purpleicious’ ~ Speedwell   ||   Rhus aromatica ‘Gro-Low’ ~ Gro-Low sumac

Viburnum plicatum tomentosum ‘Mariesii’

Weedy grass or an ornamental… you choose.

     

Athyrium niponicum ‘Pictum’ ~ Japanese pained fern  ||   Look at this little trooper, growing through the pavers.

Podophyllum peltatum ~ May Apple

     

Geranium sanguineum ~ bloody cranesbill or bloodred geranium   ||   Cornus kousa ~ Flowering dogwood

Matricaria discoidea ~ pineappleweed

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Spring Blooming Flowers 5-22-2017

Happy Moanday!

It doesn’t feel like a Moanday. It feels like a Tuesday. I don’t think I’ve ever put more hours into a week before (59) or worked on a Saturday in 7 years. It was cold and rainy to ice the cake. Ugh. My poor husband is so busy that we can’t leave early for the holiday weekend, sad face. My co-workers, who are a tad overworked themselves, keep telling me, “Think about the numbers on your check…”. Is it worth it?

Click to see previous years blooms 201620152014 2013

     

Cornus sericea ~ Red twig dogwood   ||  Euonymus alatus ~ Burning bush

     

Syringa meyeri ‘Palibin’ ~ Dwarf Korean lilac   ||   Rhamnus cathartica ~ Buckthorn

     

Arisaema triphyllum – Jack-in-the-pulpit, bog onion, brown dragon, Indian turnip  ||  Trillium sessile ~ Toadshade or Sessile-flowered wake-robin

     

Rosa multiflora ~ Wild rose  ||  Aquilegia canadensis ~ Canadian or Canada columbine This little trooper was growing in the middle of our shade house.

Waldsteinia ternata ~ Barren strawberry

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Build a Pondless Fountain, On the Cheap

We had to rebuild our pond when the original 5 gallon bucket we used proved not to hold enough water for us to leave for a weekend before it splashed out. Many times the Robins would sit on the fountain and during their bathing would flap a good portion of water out of the system. We decided a larger basin was needed. However, many of the basins that are specifically made for pondless fountains are very expensive. What is expensive? Anywhere between $400. and $700. dollars. I feel that cost places these fountains out of many folks price-points. I’d rather use that money towards the ‘art’ part. The part everyone sees… The fountain!

We dug-up everything that was buried and set it out for re-installation. We decided we were going to try a plastic storage container and see how well the $20. dollar bin would hold up. We dug the hole about 4″ inches larger than the bin and back-filled that area with pea gravel. We hoped it would allow the bin to freeze (expand) and thaw without cracking. So far, this fountain has been through one winter with no issue.

    

So the lid wouldn’t cave in, we set the central weight of the fountain on top of a 6″ piece of PVC pipe. The pump (with its filter) sat just outside the PVC pipe. We placed holes in the lid to drain the water back into the basin, however not enough to compromise its integrity.

After everything was installed in the basin, but before the fountain was assembled above, we checked if the pump was working correctly. Better to check now than to stack the fountain and realize there’s an issue. DoH!!

    

Everything was running well, so we continued to finish the installation by adding the grate, the pond membrane and returning the stone to the area. We then carefully stacked the fountain on the copper pipe. We plugged it in and stepped back to admire our work.

If you want to see other pondless fountain ideas, click here!

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Spring Blooming Flowers 5-16-2017 Illinois Beach Park

This day’s Blooming Flowers all occurred at Illinois State Beach Park. This place has such an awesome biodiversity. I love coming here and seeing all the birds and plants. I’ve never been here this early in the year before and got to see some new plants, along with some oldie but goodies.

Click to see previous years blooms 2016201520142013

Alliaria petiolata ~ Garlic Mustard

Alliaria petiolata ~ Garlic Mustard

    

Draba nemorosa ~ Yellow Whitlow-grass   ||   Baby Oak leaves ~ Quercus

Arabidopsis lyrata ~ Lyre-leaved Rock Cress

Got me!

Lake Michigan – The view from our back window

Fragaria vesca ~ Woodland Strawberry

    

I’ve still not figured this one out…   ||   I suck at grasses, at least the non-ornamental ones.

Opuntia cymochila ~ Prickly Pear

Lithospermum incisum ~ Narrow-leaf Puccoon

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Ruby-throated Hummingbird ~ Archilochus colubris

These were taken last fall, by my hubby. We had just gotten the new easy camera, a Nikon Coolpix, however still needed to figure out how to use it. Lucky for us, the neighboring camp host had a plethora of bird feeders for us to shoot birds at. I love hummers! They are such unique birds. We were very blessed to see one nesting above our camper last summer.

I hope the new feeder I received as a gift brings more of them to my house. Although I’ve never gotten any remotely clear shots of them in my front yard, I do get many of them visiting. I have planted many tubular flowers that are in the red ranges of color, a favorite of theirs.

For now, I know it’s a bit early for these beauties to be up here in Northern Illinois… I’ll just refer to my migration map and be ready for their arrival!!

 

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Spring Blooming Flowers 5-12-2017 Volo Bog 

Happy Fooking Friday!

This week has sucked. Like really sucked. I’m starting tomorrow with 42.5 hours under my belt. I’m exhausted. Yesterday, I had a nursery tell me the 6 – 7″ caliper pears I ordered have not been dug for an order that was placed last March. Oh. My. God. Remember the small digging window trees I spoke of earlier this week? Well, these are a small window trees and the window has CLOSED on digging them. The color drained from my bosses face when I told him. I’m going to another nursery to view trees that were dug last year and over-wintered. That’s usually nt a good thing, however what choice do I have?!? Gaaa!

We are going camping this weekend. I will switch off that part of my life when I leave the parking lot! 🙂

Click to see previous years blooms 2016201520142013

Aquilegia canadensis ~ Canadian or Canada columbine

Pasque Flower ~ Anemone pulsatilla

There’s a turtle down there, I swear…

Geranium maculatum  ~ Wild Geranium


Beautiful pond

I can see it’s yellow….

     

Nope. I’ve got nothing.   ||   Dodecatheon meadia ~ Prairie Shooting Star

Geum triflorum ~ Prairie smoke

Now just look at that HAIR! Don King would be proud.

The actual Volo Bog, surrounded by tamarack trees.

      

Menyanthes trifoliata ~ Buckbean   ||   I’m going to guess a viola

     

Equisetum arvense ~ Horsetail   ||   Sisymbrium loeselii ~ Tall Hedge Mustard

Sarracenia purpurea ~ Pitcher plant

Phlox divaricata ~ Woodland phlox

Lithospermum canescens ~ Hoary Puccoon

Say that three times fast 😉

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Spring Blooming Flowers 5-9-2017

Happy second week of May. Last weeks rain was pretty tough on the tree farmers. If you guys were not aware, many trees have specific times they can be dug. Some trees have a large window, other trees the window is more like a peep hole. Pears can only be dug while in flower, Maples only while they are budding and most other plants need to harden off their new growth before being dug.

Please be kind to your landscaper. Trees don’t grow on trees 😉

Click to see previous years blooms 2016201520142013

Lonicera tatarica ~ Tartarian honeysuckle

My shade / spring ephemeral garden (Where’s Breck?)

     

Geum coccineum ‘Cooky’ ~ Cooky Avens or Scarlet Avens  ||   Vaccinium corymbosum ~ Blueberry!

Lamiastrum galeobdolon ‘Yellow Archangel’

Polemonium caeruleum ~ Jacobs Ladder

     

Thlaspi arvense ~ Field Pennycress   ||   Polemonium caeruleum ~ Variegated Jacobs Ladder

     

Uvularia grandiflora – large-flowered bellwort or merrybells   ||  Lonicera periclymenum ‘Scentsation’ ~ Honeysuckle

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Spring Blooming Flowers 5-4-2017

Happy Thursday! Is the week over yet?! I’m dying here =-P

Click to see previous years blooms 2016201520142013

    

Prunus x cistena – Purpleleaf Sand Cherry   ||  Taraxacum officinale ~ Dandelion

Cercis canadensis ~ Redbud

    

Cercis canadensis – Redbud  ||  Spirea x Vanhouttei – Bridal wreath spirea

     

Aesculus glabra – Ohio buckeye, American buckeye, or fetid buckeye   || Malus x domesticus – Apple

     

Malus – Crabapple    ||   Asarum canadense ~ Wild ginger

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Spring Blooming Flowers 5-3-2017

Happy May!

May is a funny month. Seems it’s supposed to be the month for flowers and April was the month for showers… However, it seems after us pink apes have messed with Mother Nature and global warming has increased…

May monsoons bring June’s beautiful blooms!!! MPG

Click to see previous years blooms 2016201520142013

    

Trillium sessile ~ Toadshade or Sessile-flowered wake-robin || Phlox divaricata – Creeping phlox

Malus – Crabapple

Brunnera macrophylla ‘Jack Frost’ – Heartleaf brunnera

Picea abies – Norway spruce

     

An out-take from a photo I was trying to Instagram || Malus – Crabapple

Dicentra spectabalis! It sure is spec-ta-bu-lous 😉 – Bleeding hearts

     

Syringa vulgaris ~ Common lilac  ||  Magnolia × soulangeana ~ saucer magnolia

At blooming May 1st, the lilac is still a bit later than its earliest bloom day of April 13th of 2012.

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Monday Memories 5-1-2017

The Hunt for Garlic Mustard for Tasty Meals!

garl mustDuring the first year of growth, plants form rosette clumps of heart shaped, slightly wrinkled leaves that smell like garlic. The next year plants flower in spring, producing white flowers, and as the flowering stems bloom they stretch into a spike-like shape. This pain-in-the-butt plant has enough energy in it, that if you pull it while it’s blooming, it can still produce seeds, which are released during the early summer.

So what can be done about this invasive species? EAT IT!

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.

Use Landscaping to Save on Energy BillsScan_Pic0001

Landscaping can significantly reduce the costs of heating and cooling the home. Some 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 the 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.

Ilex VS. Powdery Mildew

mildew grape leaf.JPGThere 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.

Powdery mildew grows predominantly on leaf surfaces and does not require water to infect the plant. Powdery mildew fungi overwinter in tiny black bodies called fungal threads, which can be found in leaf litter, twigs, and dormant buds. In Spring, the fungal threads produce spores that start the cycle, especially during periods of high humidity when days are warm and nights are cool, ideal temperatures range between 60F to 80F. Vulnerable plants are most susceptible while new shoots and leaves are expanding. Fungus is host specific, meaning the powdery mildew on phlox does not infect crab apples.

Ilex VS. Volutella Blight on Pachysandraphoto 2

How to not stress out your pachysandra:

    • Plant it in a partial shade or shade area. Not in the sun.
    • Do not overwater, water in the morning and use drip irrigation, not overhead.
    • Be sure to do a fall cleanup to remove any fallen leaves or plant debris from the bed to improve air circulation and reduce moisture levels. Blow lightly with blower.
    • It is also helpful to periodically thin the planting to prevent dense growth and increase air circulation.
      Use leaf mulch, not woody chips.

 

Four-Spotted Sap Beetle ~ Glischrochilus quadrisignatus

imageFour-Spotted Sap Beetle (or ‘picnic beetles’, ‘picnic bugs’, or ‘beer bugs’) feed on sap from injured trees, decaying vegetables or fungal matter. They love ripened fruit, as well as beer, wine, fruit juice and fermented beverages. The beetles like to party in large numbers when these beverages are present, often drowning while enjoying their libation. Then I get to enjoy protein in my wine =-P

They can be a nuisance to farmers, however they don’t generally bother crops until something else causes the crop to be damaged in some way. Once damage is done, like Japanese beetles nibbling on tomatoes do they come from miles around. They aren’t strong fliers, however scientists have tested marked beetles by placing a basket of rotten tomatoes 200 yards away, and the beetles found the prize in less than two hours.

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl