Tag Archive | Spring

Spring Blooming Flowers 5-10-2016

Happy Monday!

I hoped everyone had a wonderful Mother’s day.

Take two steps forward and one step back to see what I found blooming in 201320142015.

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Uvularia grandiflora – large-flowered bellwort or merrybells  |  Polemonium caeruleum – Jacob’s Ladder

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Fothergilla gardenii  |  Mertensia virginica – Virginia bluebells

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Geum coccineum ‘Cooky’ ~ Avens  |  Centaurea montana ~ Mountain bluet


Chaenomeles japonica ‘Texas Scarlet’ – Quince


Chaenomeles japonica ‘Orange Delight’ – Quince

© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl

Spring Blooming Flowers 4-26-2016

I like how spring is unfolding here. Lots of things are at least starting to show growth and or if it has survived the winter. I had a bunch of stuff die in my front beds. See, even professionals have issues sometimes! I had a whole row of Physocarpus opulifolius ‘Jefam’ or ‘Amber Jubilee’ croak on me. Gaaa! Those were $45. even at wholesale. I have still to see on some late emerging stuff, but after another couple of weeks, the truth will be told what is making a comeback..

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

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Stylophorum diphyllum ~ celandine-poppy, wood poppy, poppywort  |  Chionanthus virginicus ~ fringetree


Chaenomeles speciosa ~ Texas scarlet quince
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Sanguinaria canadensis ~ bloodroot  |  Viburnum Carlsii ~ Koreanspice viburnum


Rhododendron ‘Karens’ ~ Karen’s azalea


Malus ~ Crabapple

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Viburnum dentatum ~ Arrowwood vibrunum  |  Glechoma hederacea ~ Creeping Charlie


Draba verna ~ Whitlow-grass

© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl

A Day in the Life of Me

Before Spring Sprungs, I have to visit nurseries to look at the quality of stock I’ll be ordering. I used to do this in fall, however I don’t know how bad the winter is going to be and I don’t want to chance stock not surviving. Many nurseries don’t want to drive in their fields when it’s this wet. I know it seems silly, but there is so many things bad with driving in a farm-like setting like this. Soil structure is lost, compaction, pests and disease is spread, flooding, possible irrigation accidents, causes future driving issues… the list is endless.

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Of course, this kind of stuff doesn’t mean a thing to pushy clients or money hungry bosses. They wonder why I wasn’t out there last month tagging. Hmmm, lets see. A sleeping tree looks the same as a dead tree in winter. Unless you want me testing it by scratching the bark and bending and snapping twigs, maybe you just want to wait until Mid-to-Late April and see if they bud??? Just a thought from a professional horticulturist. Remember, I’m here for the betterment of the plant, not for you, evil human.
imageOne nursery didn’t care about all the above mentioned disasters and welcomed me for my own, personal mud derby! I hung tightly to the door that I felt was surely going to fall off the hinges at any moment. The ride was actually quite fun as Juan knew his routes and could keep the speed above 25 MPH. He actually had to gun it a few times to make it through the flooded ruts. Wheee! Mud everywhere!! Because the mud was sucking my calf-high boots off my feet with each step, I really slacked getting the photos I really needed to show my boss. I did have to get out for the spruce though. They are my bosses favorite.

Look! I can see my feet! This spot that wasn’t that bad!




© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl

Spring Annuals for Containers 2016


Every year, Mother Nature likes to play April Fools jokes on us Midwesterners. In 2012, I had lilacs blooming on April 13th and it was 76F that day. In 2013, it was 16F and snowing the day our annuals arrived. In 2014, the weather wasn’t that bad and hovered around the 50’s. Last year, again it was nice when the flowers got planted, however a fast cold snap killed a few of our client’s pots. That’s what happens when you force your landscape company to plant something earlier than they feel it’s safe to do. The client is mad and we get paid twice to do their pots.

Here are some basic tips to make your Spring season pots wonderful!

Be sure your container / pot is very clean to start the season. A good, stiff brush dipped in a 10% bleach solution will do the trick. This will kill off any of the nasties waiting to infect your flowers. This cleaning should take you through the season also. No need to disinfect after each season change. (Spring/Summer/Fall/Winter)

Spring flowers such as; Petunias, tulips, hyacinths, primrose, cyclamen, hydrangea, muscari, snap dragons, ranunculus, helleborus, viola, ivy and diacia are just a few cool weather choices.

Give your display a bit of height with pussy willow or forsythia branches. If cut at the right time (pretty much right before placing in display) they will also bloom, adding to the WOW factor.

These flowers will last until the weather turns hot & then it’s time to switch over to your summer display.

You don’t need to remember a bunch of annual names. The only thing you need remember for a well-presented display is: Thriller, Filler & Spiller! The Thriller is that one large plant that is generally in the center and taller than the rest. Filler are those mid-range sized plants, often of ‘fatter or fuller’ stature. Spiller is just that, plants that hang over the edge of the pot.

Just like autumn pots, these don’t grow any larger than they are now. So design accordingly.

Here are some Spring displays from 2015, 2014 & 2013.

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Bellis English Daisies – So cute! New this year for us.

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© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl

Spring Blooming Flowers 4-7-2016


A blooming flowers post! Yeah Woowoowoo!!!

Allllright. I think I might be able to compose myself (giggle), ok probably not.. This is the first phenology post of 2016. If you started following me this past winter, you’ve missed some of the best parts of this blog, the flowers!! I am super-excited that I am starting my fourth year of finding blooming things and have three previous seasons to link back to. Sweet! It may not a PhD thesis, however it is fun data to me.

Hop on the T.A.R.D.I.S. to see what was blooming in 2013 – 20142015

(Sometimes I don’t have corresponding post near the date, so no link will be given)


I think these were mid-spring bloomers, so we’ve got a week or two here. I planted these daffodils last fall. It snowed one day and was sunny and 60F the next day. Gotta love lake effect weather.

Scilla siberica – Siberian Squill


Viola sorori – wood violet, sweet violet, English violet, common violet, florist’s violet, or garden violet


Forsythia viridissima – Forsythia


Puschkinia scilloides – Striped squill


Pachysandra ‘Green Carpet’

© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl

Mr. Robin Singing His Love Song

Let me translate:

Hello my Love, wherever you are!

I will sing until I find you.

I’ll bring you worms and seeds for our babies!

To you I will always be true!!


I reblogged this from last year. I was so caught-up in gardening outside I nearly didn’t notice the calendar finally agreed with me! Spring was indeed here =-D

Have a Happy Spring Everyone!!

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Sex… I Mean Spring is in the Air!


Mr. & Mrs. Downey Woodpecker

Ah, spring is in the air here in the Midwest! I’m just starting to see the animals start their mating games. I love watching…I’m such a romantic!!

The female birds act like baby chicks, demanding to be fed.

The dominant males fighting off the young bucks for the females.

Doves cooing and preening each other.

Chattering, dancing squirrels.

House building materials are at a premium.

Male birds donning their spring colors.

Elaborate songs can be heard along with seeing fancy flight patterns of returning snowbirds.

I’ve always felt like the animals retained more knowledge of nature than we humans did. We began to lose it when we decided money was more important than simpleness. With that being said, I observe the animals to tell me how they feel nature will be treating them in the near future. And they are saying to me… “You’d better dust off your flip-flops, as it will be an early spring!!”

© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl

Monday Memories

Happy Monday everyone!!

It’s a special Monday for me… Its my Thursday, as I will be off camping this Wednesday to the Southern tip of Illinois. My husband found a unique spot, right on the Ohio river. We will be bringing the kayaks for a bit of paddling. I’m sure you will read about it later. I hope everyone has a wonderful Labor Day weekend!!

For a Great Spring Lawn Display, Design Now!

Bulbs in the lawnWhere to plant and what type of bulbs varies with how the gardener wants to deal with the remaining leaves after blooming. The leaves must be allowed to stay long enough to gather energy for next year. Taller bulb varieties must not be mowed down until early summer. Shorter leaved varieties can be mowed over, as leaf height is close to the same height of grass. My experience deems these shorter varieties have a better chance for survival, as most residents feel the need to mow their lawn as early as possible.


Plants That Bite! Stinging Nettle – Urtica dioica


I was bitten… By a PLANT! Well, stung would be more like it. I looked down to see I had grabbed a hold of some stinging nettle or Urtica dioica. As I rubbed out the prickles*, I decided I would provide this post as a public service message to all of you that want to become horticulturists. This job is DANGEROUS! It would be safer to become a fireman, cop or perhaps a crash test dummy…

*In botanical terms, thorns are derived from shoots, spines are derived from leaves and prickles are derived from the epidermis and can be found anywhere on the plant.

Another hypothesis is that nettle’s aerial parts may interfere with the body’s production of prostaglandins and other inflammation-causing chemicals. Subsequently, nettle may have an anti-inflammatory effect. It may also heighten responses of the immune system. Chemicals in nettle’s aerial parts are also thought to reduce the feeling of pain or interfere with the way that nerves send pain signals. All of the effects may reduce the pain and stiffness of arthritis and other similar conditions.

Nettle has been studied and shown promise in treating:

Arthritis, Bladder infections, Bronchitis, Gingivitis, Gout, Kidney stones, Multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, Prostate enlargement, Sciatica and Tendinitis.


The Little Sunflower That Could

imageWhen I saw the tiny cotyledons poking out of the cement, I knew it was a sunflower. However, I never thought it had a chance… It was growing right in the main thoroughfare to the front door of my home. This is where the UPS, FedEx, USPS person, all unwanted solicitors, friends, neighbors, neighborhood dogs, and we come through. Really, I would have taken a few baby pictures had I thought it would survive to flowering.

For life to have happened in such adverse conditions is downright difficult to believe. This little survivor should teach us that life is amazing, must be enjoyed and should not ever be taken for granted!




Platanus occidentalis – The Sycamore Tree


The sycamor is a favorite tree of mine! =-)

The American Sycamore Tree (American sycamore, eastern sycamore, buttonwood or buttonball tree) is native to the central and eastern United States, growing in all states east of the great plains except for Minnesota.

It’s botanical name, Platanus occidentalis, originates from “platy” Greek for broad, and “occidere” Latin for “to set, as in the sun,” meaning of the west. Sycamores are generally regarded to be the most massive tree indigenous to eastern North America.
Sycamores grow quickly and can live for hundreds of years.

Their bark have a camouflage pattern of peeling bark, like tan, gray and brown puzzle pieces which eventually turn to a smooth white on mature trunks and branches. They have large, stiff leaves resembling maples in shape, and make excellent shade trees for urban settings. Sycamores prefer sandy soils along streams, flood plains and rivers.