Tag Archive | illinois

Summer Blooming Flowers 6-28-2017

We leave for Door County today!!! OMG, I am so ready to kick up my heels. Not that we’re a ‘relax-on-vacation’ kinda couple. We’ve got a rain day plan of going to an art studio that has all kinds of different activities, then we’re totally going kayaking again, we’re going to catch a fish boil, go fishing where Hubby grew-up fishing, there’s a place I want to go that I’ve not remembered what the name of it was! Doh! It’s a natural oddity.. crater.. thang in the rocks.. I’ll surely post it when I go there.

I’m not a fan of Faceplantbook, I do have a page for this site, however stopped linking posts to it years ago or even visiting it. Too much pettiness and folks were stealing my stuff! Angry face! I still post this blog to Twitter. I also forward (Gesh, I don’t know what it’s called to just throw back out a tweet..) things I feel strongly about. I don’t actually go on Twitter. I’ve only got a handful of followers there. I think it’s because I don’t read IST. Oh, that’s Internet Slang Terms. I have a pretty vivid imagination (heehee), I can come up with some pretty good answers to any given acronym.

So after trying those two and not feeling the love, I’ve been trying to embrace Instagram.  For those who visit my page, for realsies, on the computer, on the left sidebar, I’ve added a ‘What I’ve Seen‘ header, that is my account. I have been posting things that are a no-no.. Like ya’all probably think we’re alcoholics. I assure you, we’re working alcoholics.

I would love to hear any tips, unwritten etiquette, #Helpmewithhashtags, and even connect with anyone else enjoying Instagram.

I’ve got some posts set to pop off on schedule for the weekdays while I’m away. Internet is pretty good up there, I should be able to answer comments. However, I will be embracing Instagram and posting many photos from our adventures during the next 7 days, in lieu of posting them here. Enjoy your Independence Day!

Click here to be taken to the past: | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 |

     

Aquilegia vulgaris ~ Columbine in White   ||   Veronica longifolia ~ First Lady Speedwell

Muuuuuuull-Beeerries! Nom. Nom. Nom.


     

Baptisia alba ~ White wild indigo

     

Rosa ‘Radrazz’ ~ Knockout rose       ||    Wisteria frutescens ~ American Wisteria (I totally missed this one. Lame. It’s on my house!!)

     

Allium ‘Globemaster’    ||    Arenaria serpyllifolia ~ Thyme-leaved Sandwort

Erigeron annuus ~ Fleabane

Catalpa speciosa ~ I call it ‘The Cigar Tree’ because the fall fruit looks like a blunt.

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Summer Blooming Flowers 6-26-2017

Happy Monday to everyone! It is a happy Monday because in 48 hours, we’ll be on our way to Door County, Wisconsin for a week. I can’t wait!

Come with me to the past blooming flowers: 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013

     

Alchemilla mollis ~ lady’s mantle   ||  Lychnis chalcedonica ~ Maltese cross (a fav of mine!)

     

Malva moschata ~ musk mallow or musk-mallow   ||    Lychnis arkwrightii ‘Orange Gnome’

‘Orange Gnome’ close up

Rosa ~ Rose

     

Clematis ‘Serious Black’   ||   Knautia macedonica ~ ‘Thunder & Lightning’ This guy was planted 4 years ago, and started out with variegated leaves. He has since reverted back to the regular green leaves.

Kalimeris incisa ‘Blue Star’ ~ Japanese Aster (It’s way more blue than this photo)

Filipendula rubra ~ Queen of the Prairie

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Spittlebug or Froghopper ~ Cercopidae species

Midwesterners may have noticed there has been a rise of folks spitting on plants… Nah, I’m just pulling your leg! Spittlebugs are on the rise this Spring, as I’m seeing them not only in my ornamental garden, but in the forest preserves and right of ways. These little Froghoppers are in the Cercopidae family, which contains 23,000 different family members.

For strawberry farmers (a fav of spittlebugs), the spittlebugs are mildly annoying at one spittle mass per square foot, also called “aesthetic threshold”. At five or more spittle masses per square foot, harvests can become affected. I think we’re there this year.

Spittle is produced by the nymph manipulating its body and using broken-down plant juices to blow the tiny bubbles. After there are enough bubbles to surround their bodies, they use their rear legs to cover themselves. Ironically, it’s not spit that makes the spittle… it comes out of the other end of the nymph (farttle?) 😉 The spittle protects them from predators, temperature changes and helps them from dehydrating.

Adult Froghopper

Although spittlebug nymphs and adults do feed on plant sap, the damage is minimal and populations are generally small and don’t warrant pesticide use. In extreme cases, they can cause stunting and weaken plants or reduce yields. An easy way to rid yourself of them is to dislodge them with a blast from the hose. I have read about predatory wasps of the spittlebug, however not sure if they are here in the Midwest. Should you have a severe infestation, be sure to remove plant debris in Fall and lightly till the soil to reduce the amount of eggs for the next season.

After five instars, spittlebugs become froghopper adults, named as such because of their resemblance to frogs. They now have a hard exoskeleton, which keeps them from drying out and they are able to emerge from the spittle. Adult froghoppers travel by jumping, with some species jumping vertically as high as 28 inches/70 cm! This feat surpasses the ability of fleas!

One last little tid-bit:
There are two other insect families that are not related, however look just like the froghoppers; treehoppers (Membracidae), and leafhoppers (Cicadellidae). One of my favorite sites to research bugs is: BUGGUIDE.NET, Here’s how they tell the difference,
A leafhopper (Family Cicadellidae) has a row of prominent, regular spines on its rear tibiae (the second long leg segment). Spittlebugs/froghopper (Cercopidae) have no such regular spines, (but may have a few irregular ones). Treehoppers (Membracidae), usually have elaborated pronotums.

 

     

On Lychnis chalcedonica ~ Maltese cross  ||  On Weedy Grass

     

On Echinacea    ||    On Chaenomeles speciosa

They’re everywhere!!!!

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

 The Last Spring Blooming Flowers 6-20-2017

Happy last day of Spring / First day of Summer!!! I’ve got mixed feelings. I can’t believe Spring is over, however that means my job gets easier. The rains have finally seemed to back off a bit, as I thought I’d have to build a Plant Ark. Can’t forget about the plants when another flood wipes most of us pink apes out 😉

Come with me to the past blooming flowers: 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013

       

Syringa reticulata~ Japanese Tree Lilac

Not smelly, but pretty.  Also salt tolerant. A great street tree.

Philadelphus (Mock Orange) x. ‘Buckley’s Quill’ ~ Buckley’s Quill Mockorange

These smelly little cuties are right under my window that is downwind. These have such a strong sweet smell. It’s 92F /34C out and windy. I have the window cracked ever so slightly to get the smell in without bringing in too much heat. Electric bill be dammed!!

Peonies in a backyard on Bangs Lake. Beautiful!!!

Valeriana officinalis ~ Garden valerine

Another smelly one!

Common asparagus beetle – Crioceris asparagi

Ugh. Just when you were enjoying all the smelly flowers, this stinker joins the party. Sigh. Welp. It’s time to offer them a swimming lesson, free of charge. Well, it’s not really a swimming lesson, as you will only learn to die at my pool. My fav way to trap these buggars is to use what they know as my advantage. They like to drop to the ground as a defensive tactic to avoid predators. So, I place a cup of water under them, wave my hand above them and watch them do the belly-flop into my cup. I mean, it’s like shooting fish in a barrel!!

     

Asparagus officinalis ~ Very small bloom   ||   Onoclea sensibilis Sensitive Fern

     

Nyssa sylvatica ~ Black tupelo   ||   Mullberry update = Almost!

Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Spring Blooming Flowers 6-19-2017

Come with me to the past blooming flowers: 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013

     

Dianthus gratianopolitanus ‘Firewitch’ ~ Cheddar pinks, carnation   ||   Lotus corniculatus ~ Birds-foot Trefoil  (so cool!!)

     

Lonicera japonica – Japanese honeysuckle   ||   Plantago lanceolata ~ Buckhorn plantain (weed)

     

Not even gonna try on these grasses. Guessing weedys.

     

Barbarea vulgaris ~ Garden Yellow Rocket    ||   Stellaria media ~ Common Chickweed

Chickweed is known for its soothing and healing quality. Its high saponin content is thought to be the reason for its effectiveness in relieving skin problems, such as erysipelatous and other forms of ulceration, as well as many forms of cutaneous diseases.

Hesperis matronalis ~ dame’s rocket, damask violet, dame’s-violet, dames-wort, dame’s gilliflower, night-scented gilliflower, queen’s gilliflower, rogue’s gilliflower, summer lilac, sweet rocket, mother-of-the-evening and winter gilliflower.

Here, many folks think this is ‘wild phlox’. Sure, you could call it that if you like. However, the easy way to tell the difference is that this one has 4 petals and phlox has 5.

       

When this gets with this, does this happen?

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

 

What’s That Bird? 

Knowing that my camerone can’t take a photo at a distance, I’ve learned that shooting a quick video can make-up for the lack of detail. I may even be able to pull a still from the video. Sadly, not in this case.

I am a beginning birder and try to key these little guys out to the best of my knowledge, however it is based on personal perspectives also. Although I think Juncos are black and white birds, many keys have them under brown. I furiously search under black, then white and can’t find them. Now, I’ve also employed other websites like allaboutbirds.org to know even more about the birds I have identified. I’ll admit I don’t feel like I’m any better at ID, but I’ll learn. I’m used to plants that love to be admired and stand still white I look for identifying features, leaf shapes, petal count, undersides… etc. Birds and animals… Not so much.

This little, yellow guy has a black face and is not a American Goldfinch, at least not a common one, I know those. I’ve looked through trushes, flycatchers, finches… exhausting!

I was in Central Illinois during Memorial Day, not sure if migration was still happening or these guys are residents. I was in a prairie/savanna area, not too far from water.

Any guesses??

 

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

White-Crowned Sparrow ~ Zonotrichia leucophrys

This post was a bit lost in my drafts folder… These guys were passing through last month. They, like the Juncos, like to be up North for the summer. And I mean like the Great White North! I’m also too far North to be in their Northern, Southern range. Ah, alas I am in the migration range only.

The male does most of the singing, however the female likes to belt out a few delicate, but more intricate tunes. Males learn their songs not only from their fathers, but from all of the other White-Crowned Sparrows in the neighborhood. If a male grows-up on the edges of two communities, they might sing two different songs, one from each community, you could say bilingual. 

They mainly eat seeds, however will feed insects to their young. These guys were happy to see many protein-packed sunflower seeds and peanuts on the ground, as they need a bunch of energy for their migration. These guys have been known to stay awake for two weeks straight! Not only that, the can fly for a long time without tiring. Scientist have this little guy running tread mills and other endurance tests. They are trying to figure out what keeps the little guy ticking for so long. Clearly, Scientist’s want to learn how to keep us humans working longer than our standard, 40 hours, sigh.

See you next Fall, White-Crowned Sparrow! I wish I could go with you to Mexico for the winter!!

     

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Monday Memories 6-12-2017

Many of these pests / diseases are making their way around again. Be sure to monitor your plants, as many of these issues are easily dealt with in the early stages.

Ilex vs Rose Sawfly

imageLarvae can be effectively controlled with a neem oil product or an insecticidal soap. Spray only the leaves (both sides), in the morning as neem oil can possibility hurt pollinators (More research needs to go into that). The strategy is to find larvae while they are still small and before damage becomes severe, like our roses! There is no need for control after the larvae have finished eating and left the plants, give or take mid-July.

One last note, these are not caterpillars, they are actually primitive wasps, so Bt or Bacillus thuringiensis will not work.

Ilex VS Oak Wilt

Oak wilt is confused with other problems such as drought, construction stress, borers, and root problems.

These symptoms would include:Image

  • More noticeable during late summer
  • Regular size leaves, little wilting
  • Leaves browning evenly
  • Leaves remain on the tree after discoloring
  • Dying trees scattered throughout stand
  • More common on stressed sites
  • Signs of borers or root disease

Oak Wilt symptoms:

  • More noticeable during early summer
  • Small leaves, thin crown, wilting
  • Edges and tips of leaves bronzing first
  • Leaves drop soon after discoloring
  • Dying trees found in groups (root grafts)
  • Streaking and discoloration of vascular tissues

Ilex VS. Dutch Elm Disease

dutch elm diseaseThe DED fungus is spread by two insect vectors: the native elm bark beetle (Hylurgopinus rufipes) and the European elm bark beetle (Scolytus multistriatus). The fungus is transported on the beetles from infected trees to healthy trees as they feed on twigs and upper branches. The beetles lay their eggs in the bark and wood of stressed trees along with elm firewood with the bark left on. Developing larvae form channels just under the bark and the fungus grows through the galleries until it reaches the tree’s water conducting cells, or xylem. Chemicals manufactured by the tree during its effort to fight the disease plug up the xylem, causing the tree to wilt.  In the Midwest, beetles typically have two generations per year.

Ilex VS Four-Lined Plant Bug (Poecilocapus lineatus)

The four-lined plant bug (Poecilocapus lineatus) removes plant’s chlorophyll  via their piercing-sucking mouthparts. They also secrete a toxin in their saliva that digests the components responsible for holding the plant cells together that leaves a hole in the plant’s epidermis. This feeding produces white, dark, or translucent spots the plant’s leaves, which can run together forming large blotches. Leaves can turn brown, curl-up and ultimately fall off. If feeding occurs on new growth, wilting may result. This is a photo of a nymph. He was doing just fine in the damage department.

Ilex VS Eastern tent caterpillars ~ Malacosoma americanum

imageThese guys are often confused with fall webworms, and bag worms, although all three are quite different. Tent worm nests are active early in the season while webworms are active late season. Tent worms like to make their tent nests in the forks of branches, while webworm nests are located at the tips of branches. Fall webworms also enclose foliage or leaves within these nests. Tent caterpillars do not. Bag worms are single worm homes made of the foliage from the tree it has decided to call home. They mostly evergreens like junipers or arborvitae. I like to remember the difference like this… A bag can hold one, but a tent can hold many.

© Ilex ~ Midwestern plant Girl

Enjoying the Climate Roller Coaster!

This is kinda crazy weather for February in the Midwest. In my experience, when Mother Nature teases us with a week like this in the middle of winter… She will generally rain down a hellion’s dose of rag-ass on us during April – May. I know. Just try to schedule outdoor construction for a living!=-O
Granted, things have started early and hung on to transition right into summer. It was as recent as 2012, when I had lilacs blooming on April 13, instead of the average time of late May.

I hope that we have another 2012, I’m ready for it =-)

Oranges in December

image

I just looked in the mirror
And things aren’t looking so good
I’m looking California and feeling Minnesota, oh yeah….

Outshined by Soundgarden

It’s been a long winter, however not as bad as others. Global warming had our average temperature at 32F/0C for most of January. Usually February is pretty cold… Let’s hope not =-)

Have a wonderful Monday!

© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl