Tag Archive | green

Evergreen Winter Seasonal Pots 2016

It’s that time again!! Wiiiinter pots!!

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We pre-fab these at the office and the crews deliver these to the client’s homes. You can skip many of the next steps if you already have a prepared pot of soil. We make them this way so we don’t have to stand outside and do it! I think this almost falls into that category of, ‘Lazy man works the hardest!’ Ha!

We use nursery pots that closely fit the size of our client’s containers. Cut a plastic sheet to fit over the bottom holes. This slows or stops the water from draining and helps freeze the display in place. Next, add florist foam to the middle for stability of the larger ‘thriller’ items, as these could be rather large birch poles. Then fill the rest of the pot with a 50/50 soil/sand mixture. Be sure to really stuff that soil into the pot. The better packed soil helps hold the display in place from precipitation, the weight of snow and wind.

The design is the standard, Thriller, Filler & Spiller! The Thriller is that one large sprig/evergreen, center piece, or for this season, mostly sticks. Filler are those mid-range sized pieces of evergreen, or other material that is generally wider and less tall that the thriller material. Spiller is just that, floppy evergreen, weaker-stemmed items that hang over the edge of the pot.

A few often overlooked hints and tips:

  • Fresh cut ALL of your greens right before sticking into the pot. It does make a huge difference as to how long the greens will stay green and especially how long the holly berries will stay on the branches.
  • After you have created your masterpiece, wet the display down well. It will freeze and hold all the stuff in place. It will also give some moisture to the cuttings.
  • Before using hydrangea, pre-treat them to a blast of clear spray paint to help them keep their form.
  • If your display becomes covered in snow, be sure to clear it by hitting the branches in an UPWARD motion. If you push too hard on them downward, they may break. A broom does a great job.

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© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Eastern Gray Treefrog ~ Hyla versicolor

The eastern gray treefrog (Hyla versicolor) common gray treefrog or tetraploid gray treefrog is only different from the Cope’s gray treefrog (Hyla chrysoscelis) in distribution, call and chromosomal count.

You can listen to the subtle differences in their calls below:
Eastern Grey Tree Frog – Hyla versicolor

Copes Grey Tree Frog – Hyla chrysoscelis

They are comparatively small compared to other North American frog species, with an average size of 1.5” to 2” inches (3.8 to 5.1 cm).

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He blends right into the tree bark!

As the scientific name implies, gray treefrogs are variable in color from gray to green, depending on what they are attached to. These guys can camouflage themselves like karma chameleons! They change color at a slower rate than chameleons, however they can change from nearly black to nearly white.

Treefrogs have a cupped toes and glands that produce a sticky mucous within them that allows them to climb high into the trees, sometimes being found 50′ feet high (16M).

These frogs rarely ever descend from high treetops except for breeding and hibernation*.

In the winter, they hibernate near the surface, just under the leaf litter. They are capable of surviving freezing temperatures as low as 18F (-8C). Special proteins in their blood, called ‘nucleating proteins’, cause the water in their blood to freeze first. This ice, intakes most of the water out of the frog’s cells. Meanwhile, the frog’s liver produces large amounts of glucose (sugar) which flows into the cells to keep them from collapsing.

In my opinion, a pretty cool trick 😉

*or to say hello to his friend, Ilex!


© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl

Winter Greens Containers – 2015

Ah, another year of landscaping is coming to a close for me. I always feel a bit melon-collie at Winter pot time around the office.

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We pre-fab these at the office and the crews deliver these to the client’s homes. You can skip many of the next steps if you already have a prepared pot of soil. We make them this way so we don’t have to stand outside and do it! I think this almost falls into that category of, ‘Lazy man works the hardest!’ Ha!

We use nursery pots that closely fit the size of our client’s containers. Cut a plastic sheet to fit over the bottom holes. This slows or stops the water from draining and helps freeze the display in place. Next, add florist foam to the middle for stability of the larger ‘thriller’ items, as these could be rather large birch poles. Then fill the rest of the pot with a 50/50 soil/sand mixture. Be sure to really stuff that soil into the pot. The better packed soil helps hold the display in place from precipitation, the weight of snow and wind.

The design is the standard, Thriller, Filler & Spiller! The Thriller is that one large sprig/evergreen, center piece, or for this season, mostly sticks. Filler are those mid-range sized pieces of evergreen, or other material that is generally wider and less tall that the thriller material. Spiller is just that, floppy evergreen, weaker-stemmed items that hang over the edge of the pot.

A few often overlooked hints and tips:

  • Fresh cut ALL of your greens right before sticking into the pot. It does make a huge difference as to how long the greens will stay green and especially how long the holly berries will stay on the branches.
  • After you have created your masterpiece, wet the display down well. It will freeze and hold all the stuff in place. It will also give some moisture to the cuttings.
  • Before using hydrangea, pre-treat them to a blast of  clear spray paint to help them keep their form.

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I truly love making winter containers!!

Want more?

Click HERE to see 2014 Winter Containers – This link has a few more visual ‘How-to’s’ if needed.

Click HERE to see 2013 Winter Containers

 

Copyright – Ilex Farrell

Autumn Blooming Flowers 9-24-2015

Happy Thursday everyone!

The one week countdown to vacation starts now. Opps. Hmmm. It’s Wednesday this moment. However, this post publishes on Thursday… Awe, who cares! Next Wednesday, I will be in the Mile High city of Denver, Colorado, officiating my BFF’s wedding! Let’s hear it for my KweenBe!! Love ya!!

Click to see what was Blooming in 2014 or Blooming in 2013.

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Solanum dulcamara ~ Bittersweet nightshade

You won’t die from eating this, but you’ll sure feel like shit!

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Jerusalem artichoke ~ Helianthus tuberosus

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Physalis philadelphica ~ Tomatillo or  Mexican husk tomato

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Pennisetum alopecuroides ~ Fountain grass

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Devil’s Beggar-Ticks  – Bidens frondosus

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Miscanthus sinensis ‘Gracillimus’ – Maiden Grass

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Silver-spotted Skipper – Epargyreus clarus on Sedum.

So cute! I’ll write about you soon.

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Lonicera albiflora ~ Western white honeysuckle, Texas honeysuckle, White honeysuckle, White shrub honeysuckle or White limestone honeysuckle.

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Ohhh boy was I jealous of what I saw down in Southern Illinois… Crepe myrtle ~ Lagerstroemia indica

They were so beautiful. What a difference a zone makes.

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© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl

Autumn Blooming Flowers 9-21-2015

Haaaaappy Monday!

Last weekend I was down in Utica, Illinois to enjoy the Illinois Wine Fest.

Click to see what was Blooming in 2014 or Blooming in 2013.

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Asclepias tuberosa ~ Milkweed

Everyone is enjoying the milkweed!

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Beautiful natural art. I bet if spiders became aware, they would become great mathematicians. How do they measure that perfectly?

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Asclepias syriaca ~ Common milkweed

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I’m not sure of this grass, however the seedhead was pretty cool.

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Wish I had more time to key this out… Sigh.

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Monarch on the Joe Pye. I took so many photos of this guy enjoying this bloom, there’s no surprise more photos are turning up!!

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Hypericum perforatum, ~ Perforate St John’s-wort, Common Saint John’s wort or St John’s wort

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Eupatorium perfoliatum ~ Boneset

 

© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl

Summer Blooming Flowers 9-10-2015

Happy Day!!

Click to see what was Blooming in 2014 or Blooming in 2013.

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Monarch on Joe Pye Weed

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Oenothera missouriensis ~ Ozark sundrops

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Clueless…

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Rose hips

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Lonicera flava ~ Yellow honeysuckle….. I think!

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Aster macrophyllus ~ Big Leaf Aster

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Oenothera biennis ~ Evening Primrose, Evening Star, How Weed, Kings Cure-all, Fever-plant

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Bees love their thistle!!

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Rhus typhina ~ common sumac

Not poisonous!! Very velvety soft.

© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl

Summer Blooming Flowers 9-9-2015

Wonderful Wednesday!

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

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Helenium autumnale ~ Common sneezeweed, Fall sneezeweed, Autumn sneezeweed

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Crioceris duodecimpunctata ~ The spotted asparagus beetle

Gaaa! Squish. I don’t kill many things. I try to just make things go away. These guys are everywhere right now. EVERYWHERE.

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Campsis radicans ~ Trumpet flower

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Xylocopa virginica ~ Eastern carpenter bee

They are hiding under the blooms of my cup plant because I turned on the sprinkler. They fluffed up and flew away afterward.

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Miscanthus of some sort.

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Eupatorium fortunei ~ Pink Frost Joe Pye Weed

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Caladium ~ Annual elephant ear

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Mandevilla boliviensis

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Chasmanthium latifolium – Northern sea oats

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Clematis ~ Not sure of flavor

© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl

Summer Blooming Flowers 9-8-2015

Terrific Tuesday…

Eh, not so much. I’ve got a “Case of the Monday’s”… or in this instance, an “Attack of the Tuesdays”!

The only good thing about a long weekend with a Monday holiday is that there is only four more days to the week =-) I’ll try to focus on that.

We did have a wonderfully long weekend in Sooooouthern Illinois (Kentucky was only over the river) and got to see so many cool things not normally seen up here. For you friends that are not on this island, Illinois is a long state, 8 hours from top to bottom. That’s 2 growing zones, swoon! I will post about it soon.

I am a bit behind on the ‘Blooming’ posts. These were all shot at least a week ago. Just for clarity. Enjoy!

Click to see what was Blooming in 2014 or Blooming in 2013.

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Cornus sericea ~ Red dogwood berries

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Asclepias ~ Milkweed seed pod

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Euphorbia corollata – Flowering spurge

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I’ve got nothing. A weed?

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Solidago rigida ~ Stiff goldenrod

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Silphium laciniatum ~ compass plant

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Liatris aspera ~ Rough blazing star

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Ditto.

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I really like the leaves on these… awe, snap. Brain cloud! Anyone?

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Eryngium yuccifolium~ Rattlesnake master

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Solidago nemoralis ~ Grey Goldenrod

© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl

Summer Blooming Flowers 9-3-2015

Happy Thursday!!

I was looking over 2014 ‘Blooming Flowers’ from the month of August and I sure took way more photos in 2014 than 2015! I wonder if I’ve done less hiking, less visits to my perennial nursery or what?! Had the season gone by faster? I feel like the goldenrods, liatris and asters shouldn’t be blooming for another few weeks. I shouldn’t be seeing seedpods yet. Ugh. This means this blooming season is coming to a close soon, not that soon, but soon 😉

See what was blooming in 2014 or blooming in 2013.
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Baptisia australis ~ False indigo seed heads

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Physostegia virginiana ~ Obedient Plant

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Symphyotrichum novae-angliae – New England Aster

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Silene regia ~ Royal Catchfly

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Symphyotrichum leave ~ Smooth Blue Aster

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Nuphar polysepala ~ Yellow water lily

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Cirsium discolor ~ Pasture Thistle

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Alnus incana ~ grey alder or speckled alder

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Solidago canadensis ~ Canada Goldenrod

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I just thought this was a great mix of wildflowers…

© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl