Tag Archive | season

Summer Blooming Flowers 7-6-2017

My Monday this week. Wish me luck 😉

All of these were taken at my favorite, wholesale, perennial nursery.

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

Little Moonshine Yarrow (Achillia hybrid), just waiting to be adopted!

Their cousin, Apple Blossom Yarrow


Hemerocallis ‘Ruby Stella and Mauna Loa – Love the orange!!

Veronica longifolia ~ Charlotte Speedwell

ASTILBE Everywhere!

Veronica hybrid ~ Sunny Border Blues Speedwell


Gaillardia aristata ~ Gallo Dark Bicolour Blanket Flower || A blanket flower without a name!

I was chatting with the nursery owner about this one. I said I hadn’t noticed it in her catalog. She said her seed source had sent them by mistake. She noticed the baby leaves were a bit funky, yet let them grow. She only got about 50 that look like this. I’ve already reserved 5! I’ve just got to try them =-)


Gaillardia aristata ~ Gallo Peach Blanket Flower  ||  Astilbe ‘Vision in White’ False Spirea

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Summer Blooming Flowers 7-5-2017

Remember? I took that extra day off. That day is today. Most folks are back at their desks and I’m just starting to stretch in my bed, probably rolling over to cuddle Oreo and go back to sleep. Yawn. Zzzzzzzzz

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

Penstemon digitalis ~ Husker Red Beardtounge

Monarda didyma ~ Gardenview Scarlet’ ~ Beebalm


Monarda didyma ‘Petite Delight’     ||     Monarda didyma ‘Purple Lace’

Both of these are dwarf varieties that are under 15″. If you thought you had to small of a garden for regular Beebalm, try one of these!

Astrantia major  ~ Vanilla Gorilla Masterwort   Love This!!!

Achillea millefolium ~ Pomegranate Yarrow


Rudbeckia triloba ~ ‘Prairie Glow’ Brown Eyed Susan    ||     Spigelia marilandica ~ Indian pink


Phlox paniculata ~ ‘Franz Schubert     ||     Veronicastrum viginicum ~ Black Towers Culver’s Root

Are you seeing double? Nope. This one is Nepeta faassenii ~ Walkers Low Catmint 18″ – 24″ Tall

And this one is Nepeta faassenii ~ Junior Walkers Low Catmint 15″ – 18″ Tall

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Summer Blooming Flowers 7-3-2017

Huh. No landscape sized photos today…

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


Gonna start with an I don’t know. So there.   ||  Geranium sanguineum~ Cranes bill


Trifolium pratense ~ Red Clove    ||    Potentilla recta ~ Sulphur Cinquefoil


Hedge Bindweed ~ Calystegia sepium   ||   Yummy raspberries!


Phlox paniculata ~ Bright Eyes Phlox    ||    Look! A Squirrel! Nope don’t know this one either…


Leucanthemum × superbum ~ Shasta daisy     || And a favorite! The Elderberry ~ sambucus canadensis

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl




OMG Asparagus… In April!

I think the earliest we’ve ever had asparagus was late April in 2015. Granted, this is one the first one to pop-up, however the others are never far behind. I’m so looking forward to fresh asparagus!

It was my first Friday back at work last week. The four months of three day weekends are officially over. Sad face. Only clocked in 46.5 hours. It’s still early.

Due to my co-worker’s health issue, I will going out in the field this year to plant the annual container flowers. How sick is it to be happy to be out in the field? I’m only doing it due to her bad health?  Sadly, that’s how life rolls.

Enjoy your Sunday! It’s going to be a beautiful one in the Midwest! I’ll have some beautiful pix from some of the pots we’ll be planting soon.

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Show


Hurry Up, Already! Spring Can’t Come Soon Enough for Me!

Although I really can’t complain about our Midwestern winter this year, its still lasting too long for me. I’m hoping for an early spring, however it usually doesn’t happen like that when we’ve been teased so early in the year.  In mid-February, we had a week of 60F / 16C… That was just crazy weird! Of course the convertible top was down all of those days =-D We got a lot of yard work done that weekend. My front garden is all pruned and ready to be posted about. (I’ve been holding out on ya’all regarding showing you my whole front foundation bed!)

I’ve been out checking the status of the daffy and tulip bulbs, along with the buds on the lilac bush. The bulbs are barely out of the ground and no action on the lilac. I used to have a fair amount of crocus, snowdrops and grape hyacinths in my lawn. I haven’t replenished them in a few years and I think the squirrels have accidentally dug them up or they’ve perished, as I don’t see any yet. That’s OK. When things decide to pop, they tend to do so in a hurried manner. Spring bloomers, to me, are like the ocean or a 2 year old… turn your back on them for one second and they quickly change their status from OK to OH!

My quince are starting to bud. I love quince. Such a vibrant display of color. These shrubs are quite small right now, however as part of my front bed, I’m not planning on letting them get too large. I’m focusing on pruning them to be fuller shrubs. Quince can be quite leggy without proper pruning early in their lives. Since the blooms tend to be in the lower, inside regions of the plant, the more inside area, the more numerous the blooms. Same goes for my mock orange. These are a dwarf variety, however they have the same blooming location as the quince. Proper pruning will give these guys a thicker branching structure, lower in the plant. Of course you don’t want to get too crowded of a crown, that promotes less air circulation which lead to other problems. Like Goldilocks’s liking… not too much, not too little 🙂 This is a great argument for purchasing smaller, younger plants… so you are able to prune and train them to your liking.

This may be my last Friday off this Spring. Sad face. Although I am writing this post on St. Paddy’s Day, these photos were taken before the snow… There is still about 3″ (9cm) of snow on the shady parts of the yard. I’m going to try to eek one more Friday out of this month, however that’s pushing it. I’m actually doing rain/bad weather dances, as that will delay any construction / clean-ups until April 1, when our contracts actually start.

I finally got a real nice, competent co-worker to fill a much needed gap in our company. She’s very young, however hungry to learn. Who knows? Maybe she’ll like horticulture and follow that into college. Maybe not. I just hope she stays long enough to straighten this place out a bit. After only three weeks, she’s proved herself immensely in keeping all the records straight. You just don’t understand how stress relieving she is to me! I’m a horticulturist, Jim! Not an office manager!! 😉 I’m hopefully going to get out into the field a bit more because someone is there to man the office. Sadly, I did get my wish last Tuesday and had to drive to the North Shore in a snowstorm for an emergency tree locate. That was super!! NOT. In the end, it wasn’t that bad and I proved myself where 2 other ‘Master Arborists’* failed. Three’s a charm, they say…

As it is Spring around here… A time for new beginnings and all that. I’m going to try to get my life in a bit more order. First, I need to get myself in better health. I don’t know how I got so fat. I hope I don’t have a heart attack when I go out planting Spring flowers in three weeks =-O

Next, I need an income plan. Life at my job right now is pretty awesome (along with the pay), I’m not going to leave anytime soon. Yes, I have complained about it in the past (who doesn’t???), however now that I’ve got some well needed help, I can focus on what I consider more fun and that is working with plants.

Yes, I will continue with my blogging here. Honestly, during the flowering season, posts write themselves with all the photos. It only takes me a second to stop and shoot the flowers.. Haha!! I’m still hoping for that perfect writing job. Ya know…. The one that pays you enough to actually eat better than Ramon noodles? That is another reason I keep the blog going. It is a portfolio of sorts. It also shows I’m capable of finding stuff to write about.

Speaking of which… I thought of a great ‘Tuesday’ feature, that will also showcase some of the awesome blogs I follow. It’s a win / win. I’m not an ‘Awards Blog’, however I understand that they are around to try to promote each other’s blogs and share. I’m just not a big sharer of personal info, that’s all. However, I’m all for promoting each other! I’m not going to give the premise away just yet… They say you should always leave your audience wanting more….


*I’m only a test away from ‘Master Arborist’ status. It requires 10 years of active service, educational goals and passing a test.

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

The Crab Apple ~ Malus Species

Like many heralds of spring, crab apples explode with color upon the dreary backdrop of April.  For a tree that can grow in almost all 50 states, there are not many other species that can offer the colors, shapes and sizes the crab offers. It also has three season interest (as seen below), with blooms in spring, beautiful green (or red) foliage in summer, along with berries for winter. Fall is usually uneventful, as fall color is unknown to this tree.

Crab apples are loved by many of our wildlife friends.

  • The leaves are eaten by caterpillars of many moths and butterflies.
  • The flowers provide an important source of early pollen and nectar for insects, particularly honeybees.
  • The fruit is eaten by birds including cardinals, robins, thrushes and finches.
  • Mammals, including mice, raccoons, vole and squirrels also eat crab apple fruit.

Although all of the blooms are similar shaped, they come in a plethora of colors, buds that bloom to another color and different bloom times. Crabs can grow from 5′ – 50′ feet, but on average, stay between 15′ to 25′ feet range. This makes them a great choice for under wires or a street tree, along with the fact they are salt tolerant. Varieties can vary from columnar, weeping, spreading, vase-shaped to pyramidal which allows them to be planted almost anywhere. Click here for my favorite ‘cheat sheet’ (It’s a PDF) on crabs, which shows size, shape, bloom and berry colors, along with other great info.

image    image    image

Sadly, there are many things lurking out there to attack crabs. Although many of the new varieties are resistant to one or more disease; scab, fireblight, leaf spot, rusts are among the top killers of crabs. Buying a resistant variety is the key to longevity.

Although the fruits are very tart, they are plentiful and able to be turned into jellies and jams quite easily, due to their high pectin. Here’s how you can do it!

A Makah Legend

The Indians who live on the farthest point of the northwest corner of Washington State used to tell stories, not about one Changer, but about the Two-Men-Who-Changed-Things. So did their close relatives, who lived on Vancouver Island, across the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

When the world was very young, there were no people on the Earth. There were no birds or animals, either. There was nothing but grass and sand and creatures that were neither animals nor people but had some of the traits of people and some of the traits of animals.

Then the two brothers of the Sun and the Moon came to the Earth. Their names were Ho-ho-e-ap-bess, which means “The Two-Men-Who- Changed- Things.” They came to make the Earth ready for a new race of people, the Indians. The Two-Men-Who-Changed-Things called all the creatures to them. Some they changed to animals and birds. Some they changed to trees and smaller plants.

Among them was a bad thief. He was always stealing food from creatures who were fishermen and hunters. The Two-Men-Who- Changed-Things transformed him into Seal. They shortened his arms and tied his legs so that only his feet could move. Then they threw Seal into the Ocean and said to him, “Now you will have to catch your own fish if you are to have anything to eat.”

One of the creatures was a great fisherman. He was always on the rocks or was wading with his long fishing spear. He kept it ready to thrust into some fish. He always wore a little cape, round and white over his shoulders. The Two-Men-Who-Changed-Things transformed him into Great Blue Heron. The cape became the white feathers around the neck of Great Blue Heron. The long fishing spear became his sharp pointed bill.

Another creature was both a fisherman and a thief. He had stolen a necklace of shells. The Two-Men-Who-Changed-Things transformed him into Kingfisher. The necklace of shells was turned into a ring of feathers around Kingfisher’s neck. He is still a fisherman. He watches the water, and when he sees a fish, he dives headfirst with a splash into the water.

Two creatures had huge appetites. They devoured everything they could find. The Two-Men-Who-Changed-Things transformed one of them into Raven. They transformed his wife into Crow. Both Raven and Crow were given strong beaks so that they could tear their food. Raven croaks “Cr-r-ruck!” and Crow answers with a loud “Cah! Cah!”

The Two-Men-Who-Changed-Things called Bluejay’s son to them and asked, “Which do you wish to be–a bird or a fish?”

“I don’t want to be either,” he answered.

“Then we will transform you into Mink. You will live on land. You will eat the fish you can catch from the water or can pick up on the shore. ”

Then the Two-Men-Who-Changed-Things remembered that the new people would need wood for many things.

They called one of the creatures to them and said “The Indians will want tough wood to make bows with. They will want tough wood to make wedges with, so that they can split logs. You are tough and strong. We will change you into the yew tree.”

They called some little creatures to them. “The new people will need many slender, straight shoots for arrows. You will be the arrowwood. You will be white with many blossoms in early summer.”

They called a big, fat creature to them. “The Indians will need big trunks with soft wood so that they can make canoes. You will be the cedar trees. The Indians will make many things from your bark and from your roots.”

The Two-Men-Who-Changed-Things knew that the Indians would need wood for fuel. So they called an old creature to them. “You are old, and your heart is dry. You will make good kindling, for your grease has turned hard and will make pitch. You will be the spruce tree. When you grow old, you will always make dry wood that will be good for fires.”

To another creature they said, “You shall be the hemlock. Your bark will be good for tanning hides. Your branches will be used in the sweat lodges.”

A creature with a cross temper they changed into a crab apple tree, saying, “You shall always bear sour fruit.”

Another creature they changed into the wild cherry tree, so that the new people would have fruit and could use the cherry bark for medicine.

A thin, tough creature they changed into the alder tree, so that the new people would have hard wood for their canoe paddles.

Thus the Two-Men-Who-Changed-Things got the world ready for the new people who were to come. They made the world as it was when the Indians lived in it.


*** Did you like this post? I have more coming that show trees in all of their seasons. Stay tuned!!

© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl

Red Breasted Nuthatch ~ Sitta canadensis

image I started offering peanuts to my feathered & furry friends about a month ago. Word must have gotten around as now I’ve got a few new visitors! Not only do the Blue Jays and Crows love the new treat, I’ve got a Red-breasted Nuthatch now. I’m so excited to see him!


His identity had me a bit confused. I swore he was some kind of sparrow. I have White-breasted Nuthatches around and they really don’t have the same body shape. I think the Red-breasted is shaped and sized more like a Chickadee.

I was also hoping for a better photo than these  😉 Boy, that little guy is fast!


The Red-breasted Nuthatch’s diet changes throughout the year, as their southernmost areas may actually be quite far north. In summer, they eat mostly insects, while in the winter, they switch to seeds. At feeders, they like sunflower seeds, peanuts and suet. In true Nuthatch fashion, they wedge nuts in tree bark and hatch the fruit out by hammering it with their beaks. They also like to stash food for winter.

Red-breasted Nuthatches nest in tree cavities that they excavate themselves. Both parents will work on the nook, and it can take up to eight weeks to dig it out. The nest is primarily built by the female and she uses, grass, moss, shredded bark, needles, and rootlets.

One of the coolest things the Red-breasted Nuthatch does is to collect resin globules from coniferous trees and attach them around the entrance of their nest hole. The resin may help to keep out predators or contenders. The homeowners avoid the resin by flying directly through the hole.

They have an enlarged hind toe and a short tail, which allows them to move in all directions on a tree trunk, along with the undersides of branches. They don’t need their tails to move on the trunks like woodpeckers do.

image             image

image    image    image

He’s not picky at my feeders! Sunflower seeds, niger seed, peanuts or suet work for him =-)

© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl

The Names of the Full Moons

Native American Indians gave the Full Moons characteristic names to kept track of the seasons. The names vary a bit between the different Tribes and locations. This list was compiled from the most commonly used names by all the North American Tribes and offers variations within it.

Click here and enter your location to find out when the next moon is happening in your area.

January ~ The Wolf Moon
The howling of wolves can be heard echoing through the snow filled woods, hanging in the cold still air. Some tribes call this moon the Snow Moon, however most often it was used for the next month.

February ~ The Snow Moon
Usually by February, more snow has piled unto the land, thus giving this moon its name. Although tribes that use Snow Moon for the January moon, the February moon is called the Hunger Moon, due to difficult hunting conditions.

March ~ The Worm Moon
As the snow begins to melt, the ground softens and earthworms begin to move about, thus their castings or fecal matter can be found on the ground. Other signs of Spring also were giving to this months moon; the cawing of crows (the Crow Moon); the formation of crusts on the snow from recurrent thawing and freezing (the Crust Moon); and the time for tapping maple trees (the Sap Moon).

April ~ The Pink Moon
Flowers begin to appear, many of them pink including, phlox, pig squeak, lamium, pulmonaria and helleborus, to name a few. Other names for the April Moon are consistent with signs of full spring, such as Egg Moon, Sprouting Grass Moon and Fish Moon (from coastal tribes).

May ~ The Flower Moon
Many flowers are in full bloom and maize (corn) is ready to plant. Variations of this moon’s name are, the Corn Planting Moon and the Milk Moon.

June ~ The Strawberry Moon
Every berry lover knows it’s strawberry-picking season here in the Midwest! This is one of the few names that was universal to all Algonquin tribes. Many Algonquin Tribes originated in the Midwest.

July ~ The Buck Moon
Male deer start to grow their velvety, hair-covered antlers in the Northern areas during July. In the New England area, steady thunderstorms also resulted in the name Thunder Moon. Also the harvesting of hay resulted in Hay Moon.

August ~ The Sturgeon Moon
Sturgeon are a prized, large fish, common to Midwestern area lakes. During August, sturgeon begin to become more active due to it’s spawning time, thus making them easier to catch. Some tribes call it the Red Moon, due to it’s common reddening during the heat of this month. Other names include the Green Corn Moon and the Grain Moon.

September ~ The Harvest Moon
The Harvest Moon, by far, is the most recognized moon of the seasons. Many staple foods, such as corn, apples, pumpkins, squash, beans, and rice, are ripe for the picking. The Harvest Moon does not always occur in September. Traditionally, the name goes to the full moon closest to the autumn equinox, which falls during October once or twice a decade. Sometimes the September full moon was called the Corn Moon.

October ~The Hunter’s Moon
After the fields have been harvested and the leaves begin to fall, hunters can spot game animals more easily. Sometimes, the Harvest Moon falls in October instead of September.

November ~ The Beaver Moon
Beavers are very active preparing for winter at this time; thus it’s easy to trap them and secure warm fur for the winter. Some tribes called this the Frosty Moon.

December ~ The Cold Moon
Winter has truly arrived with cold temperatures and bad weather. Many tribes also call it the Long Night Moon, because the moon spends more time above the horizon paired with a low sun.

The Blue Moon
Due to a steady, 29-day lunar cycle and the changing Georgian calendar containing months with 28, 29, 30 or 31 days, the exact dates of the full moon move every year. Most seasons have three full moons, however because the cycles don’t match, some seasons have four full moons. The term “Blue Moon” is used to identify these extra moons. These are pretty infrequent, thus the term, “Once in a Blue Moon” is coined for other rare occurrences.

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl