Tag Archive | water

Reed-Turner Woodland Preserve – Spring Blooming Flowers 4-5-2017

Last weekend, my hubby allowed himself to get talked into a quick jaunt around Reed-Turner Woodland Preserve in Long Grove, Illinois. It’s a pretty small preserve at 36 acres. It was donated to the Long Grove Park District by Barbara Reed-Turner. It’s a fabulous little gem with so much diversity and wildlife to see. The town of Long Grove does have many activities such as Strawberry & Apple Fests, along with it’s quaint feel, makes for a great day trip. All of the following flowers were captured at the preserve. Since I’ve not had another blooming flowers in the past that’s remotely close to this one, I’m not linking back to any past blooming posts.

Winter aconites – Eranthis hyemalis

Aren’t they adorable? They look like little ballerinas.

Pussy willows ~ Salix discolor

Scilla Siberica – Siberian Squill or Wood Squill

Vinca minor ~ Periwinkle

Salem Lake

Bird Log – Lots of birds fly through here!!

Natural Stadium Seating

More Squill

Indian Creek

The only bird I can pick-out here is the White-breasted Nuthatch. An maaaybe a red-breasted. Their noise is a bit higher pitched.

I hear Redwinged Blackbirds, Robins and many loud ‘Clicky’ birds. I could see it was a midsize bird, but that’s it with the dank gray skies.

Lots of clean-up going on this spring.

Common snowdrops ~ Galanthus nivalis


© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Monday Memories

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.

rain barrel35 Water Saving Methods in the Garden

  1. Water lawns during the early morning when temperatures and wind speed are the lowest. This reduces evaporation and waste. Watering in the evening can leave leaves wet all night, promoting disease problems. Better yet. DON’T WATER THE LAWN AT ALL!!! It doesn’t die, it goes dormant.

  2. Do not leave sprinklers or hoses unattended. Your garden hose can pour out 600 gallons of water or more in only a few hours, so don’t leave the sprinkler running all day. Use a kitchen timer to remind yourself to turn it off.

  3. Use water from dehumidifiers to water indoor and outdoor plants. You can also collect condensation water from air conditioning units to use for watering plants.


99 Edible Plants for the Midwest Forager

Many young weeds are great for food! Take a look at this list and get ready for fresh, free veggies!

Plants can be your best bet for long term survival or your short ride to being plant food. Here’s another wonderful site: Plants For a Future that lists over 7,000 plants and their medicinal purposes, really really great stuff going on there.

Asclepias spp. – Milkweed ~ Young pods, before they set seed*

Asimina triloba – Pawpaw ~ fruits (I’m dying to try these)

Artium spp. – Burdock ~ The root

Barbarea spp. – Winter Cress ~ The young leaves & flower

Betula spp. – Birch ~ The sap, inner bark, twigs

Brassica spp. – Wild Mustards ~ The young leaves, flowerbuds, & seeds

Capsella bursa-pastoris – Shepard’s Purse ~ The young leaves, seedpods

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Rock Stack Pondless Fountain

This fountain may look familiar to you if you were around when I first started my blog in 2013. It was one of my first few posts. What started this whole fascination with pondless fountains was my husband bringing home a large clay pot from a client’s house. I looked at it, thinking to myself, “Gee, this would look cool laying on it’s side, spilling out water.” And the rest is history.

After having him install that first fountain, we were addicted. When I started my garden design business, I was approached by a client wondering if I installed these type fountains. I said, “Heck yeah!” and showed her the clay fountain we had installed. She had found some copper pots and hoped my artist hubby could figure something out for her. He did and it is so unique. (check out the link above to see it).

Since then, he’s been putzing around with other designs. He likes the ‘rock-stacked’ look and this one was created. I love it! It was placed in the front of my house. When the windows are open, I can hear the splish-splash of the water. I like to sit in the window on weekends and see all the wildlife that visits it. Bees, wasps, birds of all sizes (saw my first flicker!!), squirrels, bunnies and chipmunks all take their turns enjoying the water.

I was so excited to reinstall it after having to temporarily remove it so I could redesign the front garden. After two long years, its back in operation at the Farrell house! Woo-Hoo!!



I’m not the only one to see it back in operation!!

© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl

Long Pond ~ Kickapoo State Park


This area was inhabited by the Kickapoo tribe. They later were moved to Kansas.
Kickapoo (Kiikaapoa or Kiikaapoi) which means “Stands here and there,” and “wanderer” which describes their nomadic ways.
This area was once a marred landscape, ravaged by turn-of-the-century strip-mine operations. Fifty years of nature’s rejuvenation have changed Kickapoo’s 2,842 acres into an outdoor playground. Twenty-two deep water ponds, ranging in size from 0.2 of an acre to 57 acres, provide a total of 221 acres of water for boaters, canoeists, scuba divers and anglers.
Long Pond is right below our camp site. It was a great kayak paddle.

© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl

Gross Reservoir / Dam and South Border Creek ~ Colorado


We took a wonderful, dam drive out to the Gross Reservoir area looking for a dam place to hike. The reservoir area was kind of boring. We decided to go towards Osprey Point which headed up! We found this parking area and heard water… That was an invite in my dam mind!

This river was a Class V Kayak run:

Class V- Extremely difficult. Long and violent rapids that follow each other almost without interruption. River filled with obstructions. Big drops and violent currents. Extremely steep gradient. Even reconnoitering may be difficult. Rescue preparations mandatory. Can be run only by top experts in specially equipped whitewater canoes, decked craft, and kayaks… Mmm, so we’re juuuust a tad under-experienced 😉 Safe to say, we didn’t brink our Yaks.

We decided to hike the random railroad tie steps down to the water. Pretty dam steep my friends. I walk leaning back in case I fall, I’m way closer to the ground. I had my grippy shoes on for rocks, however all bets are off with the dam loose soil. We noted the sign warning of cougar attacks and how to thwart one… Remember, you never need to outrun the thing chasing you, just who your with 😉 I also hoped to not be part of a horror movie where the dam dam breaks and we’re washed away…

It was well worth walking down to the water. Toe test proved it to be pretty dam cold. No wading for me, although we did see a few fly fishers standing in it, no prob.

image  image  image

Owned and Operated by Denver Water. I think there are seven reservoirs total. Colorado is pretty anal about their dam water. I get it. It will be worth more than gold, once people get their heads out of their dam asses!!
Elevation: 7,225 feet (2,220 meters) — spillway
Capacity: 41,811 acre feet (one acre foot = 325,851 gallons)


Karma Khameleon ??








Gross Reservoir

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The Dam Lookout



The Dam Mountain View

© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl

Rain Garden Maintenance

We had a client that requested us to have his retention basins replanted with more color than the all cattail garden. We installed the plugs last September. Here is the results of our venture! Although just a bit thin, every species seemed to have made it over the winter and the full filling of the basins.

I was able to get released from the chains of my desk and got to come out to this location! This was a special treat! The whole reason I was let-out was because there was no one able to identify native plants. Why am I wasting my time sitting at a desk? Anyhow.

Here’s what the basins looked like this July.  There were a few cattails that were trying to resurface, however we pulled them by hand. The basin only measured about 14 feet wide so I waded in with my rubbers and threw the offending weeds at my crew for them to collect. They couldn’t identify the weeds fast enough, so they learned by looking at the things I had already pulled.



The lobelia and bull rush look so beautiful to me. I wish more people thought as much. Another reason I was brought out here was the clients were complaining that they weren’t seeing fields of color. No patience whatsoever. Grasses always grow faster than the flowers (forbs). Native restorations are usually said to be complete in three years. This is only year one.


Sagittaria latifolia – Common arrowhead

Very tasty when roasted, the texture is somewhat like potatoes with a taste like sweet chestnuts. The tubers can be eaten raw but they are rather bitter. It is best to remove this skin after the tubers have been cooked, but before eating. The tubers can also be dried and ground into a powder, this powder can be used as a gruel or mixed with cereal flours and used to make bread. North American Indians would slice the boiled roots into thin sections and string them on ropes to dry in much the same way as apples. The tubers are best harvested in the late summer as the leaves die down.

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl