Tag Archive | death

Plant Abuse – Case #2 Succulents Tortured with Glitter

Poor little Echeveria…

Every year, right before Christmas, I start to see what type of torture some marketing firms have dreamed up to torture plants. This year seems to be following a glitter / bling theme. As many of the suppliers of our annuals and evergreens also sell the austerities, I get to see these tortured plants first hand. It’s so sad, in my opinion. I don’t understand why a plastic version of these plants can’t be marketed. Non-plant folks don’t understand that the coating of glitter is suffocating the plant.How would you like to be covered in glitter?!? It didn’t turn out well for the girl in ‘Goldfinger‘.

Now THAT is a beautiful Christmas succulent pot!!

I did see a wonderful alternative for folks that want to share winter succulents that look Christmassy and are not being tortured. I have no affiliation to the Edsy shop that sells these, just an appreciation of the designs, and the fact they are not being tortured. They are also very well done, in my opinion. The best part is that you can remove the ‘Christmas’ part of this pot and still have a beautiful arrangement. Please consider one of these arrangements before buying a tortured, painted or glittered plant.

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Magic ‘Psilocybin’ Mushrooms Help Cancer Patients With Depression & Anxiety

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I wish there weren’t so many laws telling us what we can and cannot do to our own bodies…

Scientists have recently completed more studies concerning cancer patients and end of life care using ‘Magic Mushrooms’.

Psilocybin is a naturally occurring compound that is produced by more than 200 species mushrooms, collectively known as “Psilocybin mushrooms”. The most potent are members of the genus Psilocybe, such as P. azurescens, P. semilanceata, and P. cyanescens, but psilocybin has also been isolated from about a dozen other genera.

I read this write-up from Science Daily:
Improvements in the diagnosis and treatment of cancers in recent years have led to a marked increase in patients’ physical survival rates. While doctors can treat the physical disease, what is not well understood is how best to address the psychological needs of patients with cancer.

In addition to the physical pain associated with cancer, many patients also experience psychologically harmful symptoms of anxiety, depression, anger, and denial. Social isolation, in addition to hopelessness, helplessness and loss of independence, has also been associated with significant psychological suffering in patients coping with advanced-stage cancer.

A recently published book chapter “Use of the Classic Hallucinogen Psilocybin for Treatment of Existential Distress Associated with Cancer,” reviews the potential of a novel psychoactive drug, psilocybin, in alleviating the psychological and spiritual distress that often accompanies a life-threatening cancer diagnosis.

The chapter, published in Psychological Aspects of Cancer: A Guide to Emotional and Psychological Consequences of Cancer, Their Causes, and Their Management, was co-written by Anthony P. Bossis, PhD, Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology, Radiology, and Medicine at the New York University College of Dentistry (NYUCD) and Langone Medical Center.

The hallucinogen treatment model with psilocybin has been shown to induce a mystical or spiritual experience and is a unique therapeutic approach to reduce the anxiety of terminal cancer patients.

“Mystical or peak consciousness states in cancer patients have been associated with a number of benefits including improved psychological, spiritual, and existential well-being,” said Dr. Bossis.

Psilocybin (a serotonergic psychoactive agent) is a naturally occurring active component of many species of mushrooms, and is rapidly metabolized to psilocin, a highly potent activator of serotonin receptors. In addition to receiving the psilocybin compound, patients enrolled in the study also receive psychological preparation prior to the psilocybin dosing followed by a brief series of integrative psychotherapeutic sessions.

The chapter includes a clinical case vignette of a patient in the ongoing Psilocybin Cancer Anxiety Study at the Bluestone Center for Clinical Research. Participants undergo two drug administration sessions in which psilocybin is administered on one occasion and a placebo on the other.

“The primary objective of this phase I, double-blind, controlled pilot study is to assess the efficacy of psilocybin administration on psychosocial distress, with the specific primary outcome variable being anxiety associated with advanced and/or recurrent cancer,” said Bossis. “Secondary outcome measures will look at the effect of psilocybin on symptoms of pain perception, depression, existential/psychospiritual distress, attitudes toward illness, quality of life, and spiritual/mystical states of consciousness,” said Bossis.

The clinical vignette describes a patient who, over the course of three years, experienced extreme fatigue, pain, overall body aches, discomfort and psychological distress due to cancer and intensive biweekly chemotherapy. The patient became increasingly anxious and depressed and was enrolled in two study sessions; in one he received psilocybin and the other placebo. Despite continuing the arduous chemotherapy schedule, suffering from illness, and undergoing additional surgical procedures, the patient continued to report a marked improvement in attitude, coping, and mood 18 weeks after his session and stated, “my quality of life is dramatically improved,” the patient said.

Stephen Ross, MD, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the NYU School of Medicine and Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology, Radiology, and Medicine at the NYUCD is the principal investigator for the study; Dr. Bossis and Jeffrey Guss, MD, Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry are co-principal investigators.

The co-authors of the chapter were: Charles S. Grob, MD, Professor of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center and Roland R. Griffiths, PhD, Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science and Neuroscience at Johns Hopkins University.

The Psilocybin Cancer Anxiety Study was also recently highlighted in a News article, “Opening Doors of Perception: Psychedelic Drugs and End-of-Life Care” in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

“The emotional, spiritual and existential distress that can often accompany a diagnosis of cancer often goes unidentified and untreated in cancer patients. Patients who have benefited from psilocybin clinical research have reported less anxiety, improved quality of life, enhanced psychological and spiritual well-being, and a greater acceptance of the life-changes brought on by cancer. It is a welcome development that this promising and novel clinical research model utilizing psilocybin has begun to gain clinical and academic attention,” Bossis notes.

The Psilocybin Cancer Anxiety Study is currently recruiting additional subjects. To enroll or learn more, please visit BluestoneCenter.org or http://www.nyucanceranxiety.org/

New York University. (2013, January 31). Potential of psilocybin to alleviate psychological and spiritual distress in cancer patients is revealed ScienceDaily Retrieved December 1, 2016 from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130131095040.htm

Time Keeps on Ticking, Ticking, Ticking…. Into the Future

imageHello, faithful friends of Midwestern Plants!!

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know that autumn brings less and less topics to write about, let alone that season of white groundcover! =-O It is time for me to hibernate to a three posts a week schedule. It’s a sad situation for me, as I do truly love to write.

I have kicked around starting another blog, however the topics I want to write about are a bit more sensitive than plants. I follow so many ‘upbeat’ blogs about being happy, and how to change your life to be more happy. Yes, they’ve helped me somewhat. However, I feel the need to rant!! I’m not totally sure about this, however I feel that if I could get things off my mind, and there are possibly folks out there that feel the same, I would feel better. The topics would not be happy ones or following the norm.

I’m not going to make any mention of this other blog on MP, as I don’t want to get a ‘cross-contamination’ of followers… ‘Trolls’ are what I’m talking about 😉

Otherwise, my life has been filled with wanting to find a different career. I religiously (nightly) search the job offers in the non-profit field and can’t find anything over $10 an hour. I GET IT! It is non-profit work, and it’s not money that brings you to this field, it’s wanting to make the world a better place. However, I make well more than that now, and can’t take that huge of a pay cut. I’m still looking and I’ve also signed up for more intense grant writing classes.

Another passion would be writing. I look for those job offers, however making $2 per blog post is fruitless also. There are so many scam websites out there, it’s hard to weed through all of them. Getting there. Do I write a book then??? Hmmm.

Worst case, I ask my boss for a raise and an ‘official’ promotion. After our designer died in 2013, I’ve been doing her job, for the most part. We have a contracted landscape architect, who draws the plans in AutoCAD (I use DynaSCAPE), then I tell him what plants I want. I don’t get to visit the site, I use Google Earth and other photos of the area, which is LUNACY! I recently got to go out and ‘set’ plants, because the original design got a bit off because of how the hardscape was laid out. It was a lot of fun, however the exposure (sun/shade) was completely off from what I was told (deep shade). I don’t feel our clients are getting the amount of service they should be getting for the price they are paying. This may be a HAIL MARY for me. As if he tells me he’s not willing to do this, well, then I may need to leave. I’m sure he knows I’m underpaid for this position, I should be getting another $15,000 a year for the job I do according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Otherwise, life has been pretty good to us this past year. We got to do a lot of camping at new and interesting places. By far, Door County was our favorite trip and we’ll be back there next 4th of July. Most of our trips have focused on areas where we could kayak. We even had fun at Merrick State Park, where the freight trains, about 100 feet away, would blow their horns (and sometimes shake the camper!) as they traveled by every hour. Kickapoo State Park near Danville, IL was a fun trip, because we were able to kayak every day we were there. Nice! Even better, I had read last summer that the park was doing to be closed, due to Illinois broke-ass status. Welp, money must have been found somewhere, as I just looked at the statuses of the forest preserves here, and many are not closing! Yeah!!!

My husband just told his boss he was free to work every Saturday in November… hmmm. That might mean I’d be free to do that 50,000 words challenge (NaNonFiWriMo) National Nonfiction Writing Month.

I’ve also been looking into all the ‘free’ college courses that are popping up as apps. EdX is one in trying now. Hopefully, going to learn some CSS styling 😃 Neither of these activities could be done if I was posting M-F.

On a sad note, a close friend of mine died this last Sunday of lung cancer. He was only 51. A few weeks ago his doctor told him he only had a few more weeks, so throw a Par-Tay! And a party he did throw! He’s part of a group of musicians that travel to different churches to play, so a stage was set up in the garage and everyone rotated up to play. It was awesome and sad at the same time. I would think because of his faith, he didn’t have much to fear. He knows he’s going to the good place =-)

Lastly, I’d really like to thank all of you blogging buddies that make writing here such a pleasant experience! I looked into many other blogging sites available (Blogger, Weebly, Tumblr… ) and felt WP was the most friendly and easy to use. I think we chose wisely!

So, on that note, I will leave to you continue on through your reader =-)

PS – IF anyone in the non-profit sector would like to throw me a bone about getting involved, please send me an email!


© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl

What to Do If a Bird Hits the Window

imageSo, here I am working on my ‘puter when I here BLAM! I know that sound. Even though I try to warn the birds with colored clings and special ‘bird eyes only’ clings, a few still don’t see the warnings and connect. Most times, they shake it off and fly away. This time, Mr. Mourning Dove was seeing stars and planets, and was just sitting quietly on the ground. As there have been many birds of prey around lately, I didn’t want him to be a sitting duck, err, dove. I had to something to help the little, dazed guy out.

This is not my first rodeo when it comes to head injuries… I’ve had a few of my own 8-D

If the bird hasn’t moved in a few minutes, it may have a concussion. This guy was toootally out of it, he could hardly stand-up and was wobbly. Many websites tell you to put the bird in a brown paper bag and put it in a dark place… I liked my box idea, as it gave him a shelter, a place with little to no stimulation.. Basically a safe place to chill-out. Of course it was open so he could leave when his world stopped spinning. I didn’t try to give him food or water, as that could have caused a whole ‘nother rash of problems.

I came and checked on the little, window rapper every half hour. He seemed fine under the paper towel, while he tried to make sense of which way was up. After about 2 1/2 hours, he was gone.

I didn’t feel there was anything else wrong with this guy, so I didn’t feel the need to try to contact a bird sanctuary. Sadly, these guys are very common and on top of it, it’s dove season here!!

Now, if you come across a bird (or any other animal) that is clearly injured (broken wing, you see blood…), you will need to contact a professional wildlife rehabilitation or you’re gonna be in big trouble. Unless you’re trained, you cannot possess a wild animal. It stops idiots from trying to keep wild animals as pets. There is a great need for rehabbers! Wanna learn how?

Rehabers are very easy to find via a web search. It’s best to do this ahead of time, so when you do see an injured animal, you know what to do and time is precious when injuries are involved. Sadly, I toootally understand rehabers are far and few between, usually have little help and do god’s work, however in the four times I’ve needed them, only once did I get through to someone and they actually helped me (with a barn sparrow). You can try a local veterinarian, however be prepared to accept the bills also.

My best piece of advice, be prepared that your ward may die on your watch. It’s sad, but that’s life. Bury them in a nice part of the garden and remember them fondly when the nearby flowers bloom. That’s how I’m getting it done. Au Natural.

Post publishing:
Sherry Felix gave me a great link to help injured birds in general. This link discusses what to do with any injured bird. Thank you again, Sherry!!


© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl

Epic Fail in My Landscape

imageLast summer, I designed and installed a whole new front foundation bed. It took almost a year for me to even design it, as I wanted to find the most obscure plants for my garden. No ordinary plants for Ilex!!

I noticed a new plant being offered at a few nurseries of mine called First Editions® Amber Jubilee® Ninebark or it’s original name, Physocarpus opulifolius ‘Jefam’ PPAF. Basically, Monrovia bought the rights to ‘Jefam’ and changed it’s name to patent it.

Ninebark’s are native here, so I didn’t question the hardiness of this shrub. I thought it’s orange leaves would be a wonderful addition to my landscape.

Sadly, this spring they barely leafed out. All five shrubs are toast. At $45 a pop at wholesale, that was a hit to my pocketbook. Hubby will be doing me the pleasure of removing them. I’ve decided large perennials would be a better choice for this location. We will be painting the house next spring and they will be safe underground opposed to these shrubs next to the house. The replacement cost is five times lower, also.

So, what happened here!?!

Well. Here are a few thoughts that ran through my mind:

  • They were planted at the correct depth, mulched and watered correctly.
  • They were planted in the correct exposure, 6 hours of sun.
  • There wasn’t an herbicide accident or outside force that took them out.
  • No animal damage.
  • Yes, sometimes things just die.

As a horticulturist, I do take this personally. I don’t understand how something can just die on my watch! I do know there are forces in nature that we as humans can’t understand yet. I get it.

The thing I did find interesting is that these plants started being advertised by Monrovia in 2014. I’m not sure how long the original ‘Jefam’ had been around. In 2015, nurseries were full of them. This year, they aren’t listed in any of the inventories. This tells me that the plant wasn’t popular or didn’t over-winter well at the nurseries. If a nursery can’t keep a plant alive, who could?

In the end, I figured my story would make non-professional gardeners feel better. Things do die in the landscape, even under the watchful eye of an educated horticulturist.

PS – I wrote this post before I ripped them out of the landscape and didn’t want to do a whole rewrite…

There is another possibility/reason they croaked. Their root systems were very week and undeveloped, a nursery management issue. Nurseries sell by pot size and actual size. Most likely the nursery had many orders for these and sold them sooner than they should have from a recent upsize in pot. Immature plants with under-developed root systems survive just fine under drip irrigation and climate control. Once out in the real world (like kids after college), they don’t realize how tough the real world is. These ripped out of the ground with little effort, as the rootball was only he size of a softball. It should have been the size of a basketball, at least.

 


© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl

Boys At Play – Just a Day at Work For Me

I work with a bunch of jokesters.
Thankfully, I am fairly rarely the brunt of the joke. They have tried, however you need to wake-up pret-ty early to catch me off guard. I now just get to enjoy all the pranks they do to each other. Many times I get to be in on the joke, as you can’t do anything around my office without me knowing about it. I hear, see and smell all. Yes, I can smell when the boys are out churning the compost pile in back… peeee-you!
This is how this one played out:
My boss and his family love to hunt and the Hispanic employees love to eat most things they kill. It’s a perfect symbiotic relationship.  As my fellow blogger (Bella Remy Photography) found out recently while trying to take photos of a Bald Eagle dining on a fallen deer… landscapers love their free meat! I’ve even seen them turn around to pick-up the wild turkey they just hit trying to cross the road.
My boss was driving back to the shop and witnessed a car hit a coyote. He quickly pulled over to see if the driver was OK (they were) and if they wanted the carcass. Yes, he did!! They clearly did not want it. He tossed it into the back of his truck and brought it back to the office.
I saw him pull it out of his truck and place it near the wheel of his son’s truck.

I think the son may have peed himself a bit when he walked around the truck and saw it! =-O

My boss guessed I probably don’t get that type of humor.

I don’t get that he picked up something no one would eat.

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© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl

Girdling Root – A Slow Death For a Tree

As an arborist, many things make me sad when I see a dead tree. Most of these trees did not have to die a slow death. A girdling root could have been prevented during planting. If the planter would have examined the tree’s rootball before installation and planted this tree correctly, this tree may have been alive today.
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Firewood.

 

Memories of Days Gone By

My grandfather died when I was 19. He was a man that was happiest when he was either playing with his model trains, playing with us grandkids or playing music.

He was a music teacher by day and a musician at night around the city of Chicago. Although he could play almost any instrument known to man, his favorites were the organ and his saxophone. He was a Jazz-man! He in turn taught his two children instruments as well, my Mother embraced the flute and piccolo (as I did) and my uncle the clarinet. If I ever get off my butt, I have records of these three, The Johnson Trio which I need to get into a professional to record these to CD. I’m sure these records probably only got one more ‘play’ in them before the vinyl gets scratched off by the needle.

After his partying days were over, he moved to a beautiful part of Michigan, right along the lake called Douglas. The house looked a bit different back then. It was a plain white farmhouse. It has obviously had a bit of a face-lift since then! My earliest memories include going there during the summer. I can’t seem to find an old photo of the house…

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The upper room used to be where my bro and I stayed.

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I was having a few growing pains of my own at the time of his death. I did attend his funeral, which was odd, as it was my step-grandmother who made the arrangements. We didn’t feel her distaste for us until that day. He wanted to be cremated, however she chose to bury him. I’ve not been back to this area since the funeral, well, until now!

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I really had no idea where he was buried. I actually figured the internet is a powerful thing… Let’s search it… I found a site called Find-A-Grave. That helped!

© Ilex – Midwestern Plants

What’s Suicide Got to Do With It?

Three weeks ago we attended the funeral of my brother-in-law’s brother, who chose to die via suicide. I even wrote a post about it that is still sitting in my drafts folder. I deemed it a bit too extreme for Midwestern Plants, maybe I need to start another blog for those kind of harsh topics. I do admit to bashing god, religion and other touchy subjects.

However, although it took all I had to not hit Publish then, I did have reason to revisit the post tonight and hover the pointing finger over the P button… My husband told me last night that yet another friend took their own life Tuesday night. That’s two suicides in less than a month.

Gary Jr. was a sweetheart. My husband has known him about 15 years. I met him through my husband. I can only say this now… that he has past… that I thought of him as boyfriend material. Not that I would ever cheat on my husband, but if my husband had dumped me, I would have gone to cry on Gary’s shoulder.

His note didn’t really explain why he needed to go. Just that he would like to be cremated and his ashes spread at Sturgis. 

I’m still in denial on this one. The wake/funeral is tomorrow. Oh, pardon me, they are calling them ‘Life Celebrations’ now, if you haven’t heard. There won’t be an open casket, as it would not be a pretty sight. Some need to see a body to pass their grieving. Me, I don’t know what I’ll need. I’m numb to this madness.

My ‘draft bound post’, toned-down and summed-up goes something like this:

Appreciate your friends, family, pets and life. You only do get one go at your life as you know it. Don’t think that god, allah, xenu or the devil will give you another shot. When your body ceases to function, you are tree food. Compost. Fit as much living as you can in the short time allotted to you.