Tag Archive | photography

Juvenile Male Cardinal ~ Cardinalis cardinalis

Happy Valentines Day!

I though today would be a great day to write about cardinals.

Cardinals are monogamous birds whose relationships with their spouses are harmonious, romantic and musical. The male and female sing duets, calling similar songs to each other. Native American lore says if a cardinal crosses your path or attracts your attention, and you’re single, there may be a romantic relationship in your near future. If you’re already in a relationship, you may experience renewed romance and courtship. If you or your partner have been unfaithful, monogamy is the cardinal’s message

     

Cardinals make a distinct ‘chirp’, that my ears pick-up quickly. I was home writing posts, when I heard the call. This little guy was under the suet puck I have hanging from a shepherd’s hook. Mr. Squirrel was up on the puck, gobbling and dropping a lot of crumbs. Perfect situation for Mr. Cardinal! I crept up to the window and looked down, hoping not to spook him. The cardinals at work are very skittish. Any movement at all has them flying off. This guy here had no fear. As long as the crumbs rain down on him, he was happy and not worried about who looked at him.

Cardinalis cardinalis is what’s called a tautonym: zoological names of species consisting of two identical words (the generic name and the specific name have the same spelling). Such names are allowed in zoology, however not in botany. Clearly, like I’ve said before, botanist’s are EVIL!!! Click here to see the long list of tautonyms available from the Wiki. Some of my favorites: Bison bison, Chinchilla chinchilla, Iguana iguana, Gorilla gorilla. 😉

My gift to you on Valentine’s day; a romantic Native American legend.

The Red Bird

A Choctaw Legend

Once, when time was not quite old enough to be counted, there lived a beautiful Indian maiden. This was a special maiden. She could do all the work that needed to be done to keep her lodge in order and to satisfy her mate. But this maiden did not have what she longed for — her mate. As she sat under the large tree one day, she heard the Red Bird.

“Red Bird, is it so strange for me to wish to have someone to care for, who will care for me?” asked the maiden. “If it is not so strange, why have I not found that one meant for me?”

The Red Bird had no answer for the Indian maiden, but he sat and listened to her because he could hear the lonely in her voice. Every morning for the passing of seven suns, the Red Bird came and listened to the maiden’s story. As each day passed, the loneliness felt by the maiden began to fill the Red Bird.

One day in the Red Bird’s far travels, he came to a handsome Indian brave. The brave saw the Red Bird and called him to him. As he began to talk, the Red Bird felt the loneliness in his voice that the maiden had shown. Soon the Red Bird began to see that these two lonely people had the same wish, to find another who would love and care for them as they would care for their mate.

On the fifth day of listening to the brave, the Red Bird became as a bird that is sick. The brave became concerned, for the Red Bird had become his friend. As the brave walked toward him, the Red Bird began hopping, leading the brave to the lodge of the Indian maiden. Because the brave was wanting to see if the Red Bird was alright, he did not notice that he was going from his home. The Red Bird saw the Indian maiden sitting outside of her lodge and when he came very close to where he knew the brave would then see the Indian maiden, he flew away. The brave saw the Indian maiden and realized that he had wandered far from his home. He went to the Indian maiden to ask where he was.

The Red Bird sat in the tree and watched the brave and the maiden. At first the brave was shy and the maiden would not talk, but they soon were talking and laughing like old friends.

Red Bird saw this and thought it was good. He had done as he could and now it would be up to the brave and the maiden. As Red Bird flew to his home he thought of how Great Spirit had known that someday the two would find each other. Now it was good, thought Red Bird, that maiden had someone who would see for her and brave had someone that would hear for him and that they finally had someone who would care.

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Skipper on Agastache

I love Skipper Butterflies!! They are always very friendly and will land on an outstretched finger. Maybe only for a moment, as their energy level is so high, they must skip on to the next flower. The Agastache (Hyssop) I was planting that day had these guys going nuts for the nectar, as there wasn’t much still blooming at the time.

Although the skipper had me thinking cutie thoughts, This post is really about this amazing plant.

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Agastache, also known as Hummingbird Mint, is essential to a pollinator friendly garden. Agastache plants are not on the menu for browsing deer and rabbits. Sometimes known as Hyssop, Hummingbird Mints are a showy, fragrant group of perennial herbs that as their name suggests, attract hummingbirds. Perhaps best of all, they offer color to the garden in late summer and early fall, when many gardens are winding down and getting a bit dull.

Hyssop are an easy group of plants to grow and are native to the United States. They are in the mint family, thus they have square stems. They can take most exposures, if water is adequate, although they do not like wet soils. They grow to about 3′ and can bloom for a very long time, from July through October.

Other facts:

  • Bees are attracted to the late-blooming flower which results in a light, anise-scented honey.
  • In traditional folk herbal medicine, hyssop tea has been used to help assist digestion. Native Americans also used hyssop as a medication to cure wounds, fevers, cough and diarrhea.
  • Hyssop is also effective in relieving pains in the chest, due to excessive coughing. It can help expel mucus, making it ideal for treating colds.
  • A poultice prepared with the leaves and stems of the hyssop plant may be used to heal burn injuries.
  • Put fresh or dried anise hyssop leaves in cheesecloth and hang from the tub faucet, letting the water flow over the herbs.  The scent from the hyssop will help calm agitated nerves.
  • Along with mental calming, it can also provide pain relief to sore muscles via a warm bath.  Hyssop is also supposed to curb nightmares.
  • Aside from therapeutic uses, hyssop is also used for culinary purposes. Fresh leaves and flowers can be added to salads and fruit salads as well as use it in the form of a garnish. Alternately, you may use fresh or dried up leaves with chicken, lamb, salmon as well as some vegetable dishes like peas.
  • Hyssop leaves can be used as a substitute for anise or mint.

© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl

Autumn Blooming Flowers 10-10-2016

Isn’t it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too? Douglas Adams

Click to see the beautiful see flowers I found blooming in 20132014 2015

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Agastache ‘Black Adder’

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Humulus lupulus ~ Common Hop plant

Hops are mistakenly called a “vine”, although it is technically a bine; unlike vines, which use tendrils, suckers, and other appendages for attaching themselves, bines have stout stems with stiff hairs to help it climb structures.

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Miscanthus sinensis ‘Little Miss’~ Maiden Grass    ||    Tricyrtis formosana ‘Samurai’ ~ Toad Lily

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Asters

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Heptacodium miconioides ~ Seven Sons Flower   ||    Solanum ~ Nightshade

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Chrysanthemums

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Helianthus tuberosus ~ Jerusalem artichoke, sunroot, sunchoke or topinambour  ||  Panicum virgatum Hot Rod

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Buddleia davidii ~ Butterfly Bush   ||   Hibiscus syriacus ‘Aphrodite’ ~ Rose of Sharon

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Possessed rose bush growing one pink rose on a shrub of white.

© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl

Summer Blooming Flowers 8-10-2016

I have seen a flower blooming in beauty in a secluded vale, and, ere I had a chance to look again, a chilly breath of air had scattered its petals and left it a ruin. ~ Charles Lanman, “Musings,” 1840

You don’t have to search a secluded vale to what I found blooming in 201320142015

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Echinacea ~ Coneflower (look familiar? See above!)

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Campsis radicans ~ Trumpet Vine   ||   Hemerocallis fulva ~ Ditch lilies or Tiger lilies

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Maclura pomifera ~ Osage orange

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Silphium perfoliatum ~ Cup plant   ||   Liatris spicata ‘Floristan White’ & ‘Floristan Violet’

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ZINNIAS!!!!

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Lobelia cardinalis ~ Cardinal flowers   ||   Nepeta

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Hibiscus syriacus ~ Rose of Sharon, althea or hardy hibiscus.

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We had a bit of rain recently. We rarely see our ditch filled, so of course I had to photograph it!


© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl

Summer Blooming Flowers 8-8-2016

Today is my hubby’s birthday!! Happy Birthday Honey!!pig roast

Ah, another fine year to celebrate. We’ll be having the pig roast party Saturday. Mmmmm. Bacon bread! What’s bacon bread, you ask? Well, we cook the pig above ground on a spit, opposed to the Hawaiian method of burying it in the ground with coals on top.  After the skin gets a bit crispy (thus ‘safe’ to eat) we take crusty bread and pat the pig with it. The bacon fat, mixed with the copious amounts of garlic and salt my hubby prepared the pig with flavors the bread like bacon. Oh my, I totally look like Homer over there!! You’re all invited! Email me for the address =-)

“Face this world. Learn its ways, watch it, be careful of too hasty guesses at its meaning. In the end you will find clues to it all.”  ― H.G. Wells, The Time Machine

Face  what I found blooming in 201320142015

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When you have flowers in your yard, you’re always ready to deliver a bouquet to a neighbor.

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Hosta   ||   Asclepias incarnata ~ Milkweed

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Look! Two bumble bees!!   ||   Hypericum perforatum ~ St. John’s Wort

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Potentilla fruticosa ~ Shrubby Cinquefoil   ||  Hmmm.

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Not sure    ||   Rudbeckia triloba  ~ Brown-eyed Susan

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Asparagus!!!! All grown-up

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Phemeranthus rugospermus ~ Rough-seeded Fameflower

© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl

Summer Blooming Flowers 8-3-2016

The laws of science do not distinguish between the past and the future.  Steven W. Hawking

Although the past reveals what I found blooming in 201320142015

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Lilium lancifolium ~ Tiger Lily    ||    Cichorium intybus ~ Common chicory. It’s a coffee substitute, if left trapped in the wild without a Starbucks…

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Ipomoea purpurea ~ Morning glory   ||    Lythrum salicaria ~ Purple loosestrife. Both of these plants don’t play nice in Illinois =-(

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Monarda didyma  Native, wild beebalm   ||   Eupatorium perfoliatum ~ Common Boneset

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A Rudbeckia, but which one…..    ||   Prunella vulgaris ~ Self heal

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I’m not sure who this butterfly is, but I’m sure a post will follow in the cold, lean post months of the winter!

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Liatris aspera ~ Rough blazing star    ||   Breck and a Leadplant

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I’m not sure    ||    Saponaria officinalis ~ bouncingbet

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Calamintha nepeta ssp. glandulosa ‘White Cloud’ ~ Catmint


© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl

Summer Blooming Flowers 8-1-2016

So, after mucho research, I finally decided on which new convertible laptop I was going to purchase and pulled the trigger last night. It was a tough decision, as we’re talking a jump in 2 operating systems, stupid things like MIA keypads, touchscreen capability and many more upgrades. I’m not a techno-phobe, I’m a geek, however I don’t want to be a guinea pig. I rarely buy new technology. I am not in line for the newest Galaxy when it comes out. Let them get a few system fixes under their belts, then I’m on. Example, Windows 8 or 8.1 we’re the first that integrated the new touchscreen capability. Not an operating system I’d want to buy. Like it or not, Windows 10  has got to be better, as it got all the input from the guinea pigs that used W8. Hence why they were giving W10 away! I hope so, that is, as I’m going to have to find out. No, I’m not a MAC, ipad or iphone fan, please don’t suggest.

I love my old W7 Acer laptop even tho:

  • The battery hasn’t worked in 2 years.
  • The keyboard has gaps that collect crap & when I shoot it with air, the letters fly off.
  • Now the T, E, O keys have to pressed extra hard for them to register. his causes many typs 😉
  • The thermostat doesn’t work well, and doesn’t turn the fan on until the unit gets fairly warm. Nice in winter, tho.

I think I’m a pretty easy customer, but then again, I still had my needs in a laptop. I wanted:

  • A large one, 15.6″ screen, at least. I’ve got a 10″ tab already, I want to be able to see the screen without readers 😎
  • A high quality screen. Back to the lack of vision dealio. Also for my landscape design program, better to see things with!
  • A keypad! The Lenovo Yoga @ 15.6″ didn’t have one! I fly through Excel spreadsheets by keying in with my left hand and mousing with my right. That was the deal-breaker on the Yoga for me =-( Many other laptops have ditched it also.
  • I wanted a convertible, which I know I’m taking a chance on this design, but I’ll be careful!  I promise.
  • Every other thing in a laptop was not a deal-breaker for me. Price limit was $900, however looking to save.

Without further adieu, I decided on an HP ENVY x360 with an i7 processor, 15.6″ screen, keypad, convertible laptop for $850. It should arrive later this week. I’ll let you know how it goes… Wish me luck 😉

What kind of ‘puter do you drive?

Time in its aging course teaches all things.  Aeschylus

Learn what I found blooming in 201320142015

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Astilbe

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Yarrow and echinacea

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Achillea ‘Moon Dust’ ~ Yarrow   ||   Anemone ‘Honorine Jobert’ ~ Windflower

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Gaillardia ‘Gallo Fire’ ~ Blanketflower   ||  Veronicastrum ‘Lavender Towers’ ~ Culver’s root or Black root

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Platycodon grandiflorus ‘Sentimental Blue’ ~ Balloon flower   ||   Achillea ‘Moonshine’ ~ Yarrow

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Acanthus mollis ~ bear’s breeches, sea dock, bearsfoot or oyster plant – I so want one!!!   ||     Amorpha canescens ~ Leadplant

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A thistle. One of these days I’ll get around to learning them… Along with asters!    ||   An elderberry bush planted itself in my yard!!! Mmmm!


© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl

Summer Blooming Flowers 7-27-2016

Time is the most valuable thing a man can spend. Theophrastus (372 BC – 287 BC)

Hop on the wayback machine to see what I found blooming in 201320142015

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Vernonia altissima ~ Ironweed    ||   Vicia villosa ~ Hairy vetch

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Silphium laciniatum ~ Compass Plant   ||    Verbena stricta

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Amorpha canescens ~ Leadplant

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These can’t be leucanthemum x superbum… The petals are small. A Helenium perhaps??

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Eryngium yuccifolium ~ Rattlesnake Master   ||  Filipendula rubra ~ Queen-of-the-prairie

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Gypsophila paniculata ~ Baby’s Breath

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Ageratina altissima ~ White Snakeroot   ||       Asclepias tuberosa ~ Yellow milkweed

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Dalea candida ~ White Prairie Clover

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Queen of the Prairie – all grown up.


© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl