Tag Archive | monday

Monday Memories 8-7-2017

Ilex vs. Rabbitsimage

Rabbit Deterrents:
•These trees have chicken fencing around them, but it’s right against the bark. It needs to be away (1 foot) from the trunk and at least 6 inches underground, as best as possible.
•There are commercial repellants to use, but need to be reapplied often & don’t generally work according to the experts.
•Spread blood meal, cayenne pepper, manure or dog or human hair around plants.
•Spray plants with a solution of hot pepper sauce and water or vinegar. Reapply the solution after each rain. This solution can be rinsed off of vegetables after harvest and will not affect the taste.
•Use a foul-tasting spray deterrent that contains bitrex. Do not use bitrex sprays on vegetable plants because it will affect the taste of the produce.
•The last solution is a fine rabbit stew. Mmm.

Ilex vs. Snails & Slugs

Euchemotrema hubrichtiPreventing damage should start from last year’s observations, if possible. Most likely, if you had them last year in your garden they will be back.
Clear leaf litter from around susceptible plants. Don’t give them a place to hide.
Make a barrier of eggshells, twigs, or ashes around the plants as they don’t like to crawl over rough or sharp material. Copper wire or pipe is also effective, relying on the premise that the copper delivers an electric shock to them.
Provide a halved orange upside down as bait at night, and remove the takers the next morning.
Use a shallow lid buried in the ground and fill with beer or lemonade. Slugs and snails cannot resist a free drink, and will come and drown in the pool.
For smaller plants, make a cloche by cutting the bottom off a plastic bottle, bury slightly, and remove the lid for ventilation.
Encourage frogs and birds to your garden as they can’t resist a meal of escargot!

Ilex VS Lawn Fungus

disease Triangle

Changing your lawn care habits might reduce your risk of fungi problems. A healthy lawn has a really good chance of pulling through a fungal infection, but that is up to you!

  • Water your grass regularly, but don’t water it too much because waterlogged grass invites fungi. Don’t set your irrigation and not monitor it.
  • Dry grass can also makes your lawn more susceptible.
  • A nitrogen-based fertilizer applied annually (in the fall) supplies your grass with the nutrients it needs to flourish.
  • When you mow, don’t remove more than one-third of the length of the blades of grass at a time. A healthy length for grass (from the thatchline) is 3 inches tall.

I’ve noticed many different types of fungus coming out in droves because of our weather this season. Some are fairly rare and hard to treat.

Ilex VS Sycamore Anthracnose (Apiognomonia veneta)

The most common signs of Sycamore Anthracnose are:image

  • *Heavy leaf and twig drop in late spring
  • *A thinning crown
  • *Random, dead leaves in canopy
  • *Distorted limb growth
  • *“Witches’ broom” growth (dense clusters of twigs)
  • *Cool, wet, spring weather will aggravate the spread of this disease.

If the average daily temperature at the time of leaf budding is below 55 °F, anthracnose infections will be severe. If the average daily temperature is 60F or above during this time, disease incidence will be greatly reduced.


© 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


Is it the Saddest Day of the Year? How to Avoid Blue Monday


Blue Monday began in 2005, when Sky Travel, hired a former professor of Cardiff University named Cliff Arnall. Dr. Arnall created an equation that determined the year’s most depressing day, which seemed to correspond to when people book vacations. The equation demonstrated the third Monday in January is the most depressing of the year because of a combination of elements such as weather conditions, debt level, time since Christmas, time since failing our New Year’s resolutions, low motivational levels and feeling of a need to take action. Using that equation, Sky Travel dubbed January 24, 2005 as the first Blue Monday.

everybody hates me

The news and media markets took off with this information and it continues to buzz through the internet… (Where do you think I found it 😉 I truly though that the MOST depressing day would be today, January 4th, or the first Monday in January. I posted this today, as that is my opinion.

go fuck yourself

Let’s see how I stack up using the equation:

W=weather, D=debt, d=monthly salary, T=time since Christmas, Q=time since failing our New Year’s resolutions, M=low motivational levels, and Na=the feeling of a need to take action.

  • W ~ Weather conditions have been quite grand! We’ve been about 10 degrees above normal. A bit of snow, enough to cover the bland landscape, but nothing on the roads.
  • D ~ My debt level is a non-issue. I’m well in the black.
  • d ~ My salary is intact… for the moment.
  • T ~ I will be returning to work after a 16-day hiatus.
  • Q ~ I don’t make resolutions, however, I will say that I really wished to be farther along doing something else, career wise.
  • M ~ Motivation… Um, what is that?
  • Na ~ To do something other than what I’m doing. This is a fatty for me.
  • X10 ~ I’d also like to add a special variable for me as this is also my birthday week.

I’m no mathematician, however by my calculations, I do truly conclude that today, Monday January 4th is indeed MY saddest day of the year. I also know that after it is over, the rest of the year is usually better.

cow pee on cow

Since the unveiling of the equation, there have been no studies or evidence that have proved any one calendar date is more unhappy than another and the equation no real scientific basis. Opponents have argued that assigning indiscriminate or short-lived causes (such as bills arriving, returning to work or the end of the holiday vacation) to clinical depression could adversely affect how depression is viewed. In essence, depression could be cured by booking a vacation and not a true disease.


I don’t think this means anything of the sort. Although there have been others who have used the phrases ‘Blue Monday’ as a basis for their cause, I don’t think people really believe someone with true depression just has a ‘Case of the Monday’s’, that they can be cured by making more money, more time off or any of these factors in the equation.

How does one get over a Case of the Monday’s or even the Saddest Day of the Year? Here’s some answers I found across our vast internet:

  • Wake-up early and while shaking your fist yell, “Monday, you suck! You really fucking suck.”
  • Have a protein breakfast that will keep you going through the long day.
  • If no eggs are available, put Rumchata in your coffee.
  • Morning sex.
  • Take a long shower.
  • Take some vitamin B, to help keep you spry throughout the day.
  • Keep Monday’s schedule light.
  • Hope for sunny weather.
  • If you can muster it, complimenting others works for some.
  • Realize that it is finally Monday & it will be over soon.
  • Start making plans for Friday.
  • Just be happy you woke-up on this side of the grass…


Please share how you beat your Blue Monday today in the comments!!

Copyright ~ Ilex Farrell

Please do look into professional care if your whole week seems to be row of Mondays.

Monday Memories 9-28-2015

Happy Monday!!

How Leaves Cha-cha-cha-Change Colors in Autumn

leavesLeaves are green because of chlorophylls that function by capturing the sun’s energy and to manufacture food for the plant or photosynthesis. All of this takes place in the plastids (specialized cells). During the growing season, the green color of these chlorophylls masks out all the other colors that may be present. So all you see is green.

As the growing season slows in autumn, chlorophyll production slows and the green-color dominance lowers to reveal the other colors of the leaf. Many influences such as amount of water, sunlight, temperature, and microclimate can manipulate the timing of the color changes.  A couple of weeks of bright sunny days mixed with clear, cool nights seem to bring out the best fall colors.


Thatch LayerFall is the Time to Dethatch Lawns in the Midwest

The most common cause of thatch is compacted soils. Grass roots will seek air at the soil surface and then die. Other causes:

  • Overuse of fast-acting nitrogen fertilizers causes rapid growth at the expense of a good root system. These also tend to acidify the soil, repelling beneficial thatch-eating earthworms.
  • Overwatering drowns microorganisms in the soil that decompose thatch
  • Mowing too closely or taking off more than one-third of the blade causes more thatch


Frederick Meijer Sculpture Park

imageThe Frederick Meijer Sculpture Park in Grand Rapids, Michigan features momentous works of art within a variety of natural settings that are connected by waterways, winding paths, meadows and quiet walkways. Masters such as Auguste Rodin, Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth, Mark di Suvero, Richard Serra, Roxy Paine and many others have sculptures across the Meijer Gardens. This was one of my favorites by Jaume Plensa.

There are other parts of the museum. See some photos:

Frederick Meijer Sculpture Park – Inside the Tropics

Frederick Meijer Sculpture Park – Arid / Predatory Rooms



Monday Memories

I’m starting to see my small area of the world wake-up and stretch. I witnessed my first snowdrop bloom, have had to yell at my dogs NOT to chase the rabbits in the yard and my workload has increased. One out of three ain’t bad.

I’ve seen many things start to progress and want to record it, technically for posterity. I do like that I have a phenology list of plants around me and want to continue to propagate it (giggle)! I have thought about writing new posts and/or reposting old ones. Not a fan of reposts per se and writing a new one about the same topic is well, stupid IMO. However, I see others doing these type of recap posts and though it was a great idea. Monday Memories is born.

This also gets me off the hook for fresh material on the busiest day of the week  😉

The Willows are starting to turn yellow here. wpid-20140304_070015_richtonehdr.jpg

This is right on schedule with last year. This photo is from last year and had I taken a new one last Friday, it would have been void of snow. However Mr. Jack Frost is not done wit us yet! We’ve got 3-5 inches predicted for this evening! (Technically, I’m writing this Sunday night ~ We’ll see in the comments if I’m right!)


Summer blend gas is on order.

Our gas prices are starting to rise, even though the cost of a barrel of oil is going down. Yeah, living by a large city is awesome!! Not. So even though there is plenty of gas made and ready to go, the refineries have to make summer blend for the area that drives the price up almost double. $2.97 per gallon now will be $4.50 in June.

The upside is usually the price of diesel stays the same price throughout the year at about $2.70 per gallon. This is good when we are camping and driving a bit to get where were plopping for the weekend.


s daliDaylight Savings Time

This was a few weeks ago, however I think it’s important to understand where these notions come from and just why do we do it?!?

Many think this was all done to try to save resources, energy and money… However, environmental economist Hendrik Wolff, of the University of Washington, found that the Daylight saving did indeed drop lighting and electricity use in the evenings… HOWEVER, higher energy demands during darker mornings completely canceled out the evening gains.


Coming up soon!


© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl