Tag Archive | work

Spring Blooming Flowers 4-24-2017

Happy Monday!

Is everyone ready for Spring?? I am, for the most part, nothing has changed in all the years I’ve been in Midwestern landscaping. The phones at work are starting to glow, emails are filled with requests for new projects to be done ASAP. Seriously?!! Where were you all winter? I’m working on the projects that smart folks called me about in February. Smarter folks actually called me last December. Their plans have been approved, permits pulled, material produced and trees dug. All while you thought about your winter vacation and forgot about your landscape. And now you are angry that I’ve not gotten a quote back to you in less than three days? On top of that, do you really think you’re going to get into the construction schedule anytime soon? Huge belly laugh!!! Foolish 1%er. The economy is better now and your yelling for prime service is falling on deaf ears.

Click here for all things blooming in 2013 20142015 2016

Muscari spp. ~ Grape Hyacinth

Erythronium americanum ~ Trout lily

Dicentra cucullaria ~ Dutchman’s Breechs

These are related to the Bleeding heart.


Viburnum × burkwoodii ~ Burkwood Viburnum   ||   Mertensia virginica ~ Virginia Bluebells

Stylophorum diphyllum ~ Celandine poppy

A fav of mine. I’ve had these in my garden for the last 11 years. They are hassle free and continue to grow without any assistance from me. They are one of the longest blooming flowers I know of. It has bloomed for me from April through October, fairly regularly. It is very happy under a limbed-up spruce on the East side of my property.


Pyrus calleryana ‘Chanticleer’ ~ Chanticleer Pear  ||  Special Daffy in my yard.

Sanguinaria canadensis ~ Bloodroot

Another one in my East-side shade garden. These bloom for such a short time, it’s a shame. They even close their flowers at night. Remember where these are in the fall, as the leaves turn a brilliant red during the harvest months.

© 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


Hope He Makes It….

Although I didn’t sleep in a Holiday Inn last night or have any previous experience being a tow truck driver…. I have been a past member of Mensa, and think I may be able to comment on this situation without anyone questioning my intelligence. I think anyone with basic common sense will agree with me.

One of our Ford F450 trucks blew a transmission. We put it up on Craig’s List for a quick, cheap sale. The ad read, “You will need to tow the truck away upon purchase.” A potential buyer came out, gave us an offer and we yelled, “SOOOOOOLD!” He scheduled a pick-up the next day.

Does anyone else see any potential problems here? Let’s see if we can just point out a few… I don’t want to start your Monday out too hard now!

  • The front tire is barely on the bed. The heaviest part of the truck, along with a plow, dangles precariously off the edge. What you can’t see is the rusted connections holding the plow on. Oh! No red flag on the plow either.
  • The truck on the bed is a F450… the tow truck is a F250. Hmmm, just a bit of a weight difference. While it was being hoisted up onto the bed, the front end of the tow truck came off the ground. There was a moment when I thought the whole thing would flop backwards, however the operator got lucky as the pivot-point went back forward and the wheels touched ground again.
  • No one thought how smart it would have been to put the plow into the back of the truck, and point the truck forward. Well, except for me, staring out the window watching.
  • Maybe had the destination only been down the street, I would have had move confidence in the safety of this trip… However, this truck was destine for South Chicago, a good 2 hour ride, via highways.

In the end, I didn’t hear of any accidents involving this get-up. Granted, had I rolled up behind this, I would have given it a w i d e berth. 


© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

A Letter to the Person I Fired Yesterday.


Dear Ex-coworker,

Three weeks ago, our boss hired you to be a maintenance account representative. I’ve heard stories about the past people he chose to hire without consulting the other higher ups… One came in on her first day with purple hair. He rubbed his eyes and swore it wasn’t that color when he hired her. The next one thought it was OK to run 3 other businesses from her cell phone while on the clock here. After those fails, he asked his sister-in-law, the other maintenance account representative, to interview the next two employees who turned out fine. Those two employees were my predecessor and me.
I know you’re thinking that he was the only one at your interview… And that you told me you like to dye your hair purple sometimes.
I also remember the look on your face when I told you we planted invasive species like pears, burning bush and gooseneck loosetrife… And the lack of interest while I explained one of the many Excel spreadsheets that are used at the company.
I read your resume after the boss told me he had hired you and you were coming aboard in two weeks. Although you did have a degree, it was in botany. Botanist’s and horticulturist butt heads IMO, but that’s off the subject. You really had no landscaping or customer service experience. Your last job was working in the hothouses in an annual nursery. Ironically, that really didn’t set off any alarms, as just because you don’t have experience in something, doesn’t mean that you don’t have the potential to be trained to do it.
The first few days, you were super excited to work for us. Your starting date corresponded with the beginning of our spring color program, which meant going out and planting containers with annuals. Who wouldn’t enjoy that? It would be an awesome job description to have! However, that was only a small portion of your job description. You were only going to be aiding in the color program, not running it like you dreamed-up. Sadly for you, as the incoming employee, you were going to be getting the brunt of the paperwork. No one likes paperwork, however everyone from a McDonald’s manager to Donald Trump has to do paperwork.
After the annuals were completed, you began to spend the next few days in the office with me. I began training you on how work orders flow, horticultural schedules are set and where to find things. Although you took notes, you were constantly checking your personal phone. Then, while explaining the maintenance billing spreadsheet that you were completely not picking up, you huffed and asked why the owner’s wife, who only does the accounting, can’t do this for herself. I explained that she is an accountant, not an account representative that knows what services were performed on the client’s properties. This is part of your job, not hers.
While training you, you didn’t seem to understand that I have a job to do also. I work in construction. Yes, much of the paperwork I was doing was maintenance related. However, by hiring you, it freed me up to quote and process more construction jobs, which are more lucrative than maintenance. I did show you many things that weren’t going to be part of your job because I needed to complete them such as permitting, estimating, designing and how we construct common landscape elements. If you were the ‘go-getter’ my boss had hoped you were, you would have absorbed this free insight and educated yourself in case I ever left, thus opening a promotion to you.
Bits of the information I was sharing did pertain to your job. You were going to need to learn how to read a blueprint, understand how scales work and planting offsets. When I asked you if you had any experience with this, you replied yes. It wasn’t a test to see what you knew, I simply wanted to know if I needed to explain it or not. After two phone checks, a coffee run and to start munching on a banana, you sat back down and asked me if there were more than one scale. Um, yes. You wouldn’t have asked me this if you knew what you said you knew.
At this point, I admit I was frustrated and needed to complete my quote, so I sent you out to water the flowers, which you were more than happy to do. Perfect.
When you came back into the office with your phone blaring music, you continued up to your office and stayed up there for ten minutes with a music volume that could clearly be heard in my downstairs office. As you have no other duties aside from what I was giving you to do, I wondered just what you were doing up there. Your answer of looking into health insurance plans online was not the right answer on company time. I asked that you sum it up and that I don’t mind you having music on, but it can’t be heard downstairs. You said a huffy “fine” and turned it completely off. As I descended the stairs, I heard your office door slam. The accountant-boss’s-wife asked me if that just happened and I said yes.
The next few days were unbearable for all of us. From your attitude, we knew you weren’t happy with the amount of paperwork / days in the office you were required to do. It was not hidden during the interview that this was not a drive-around-in-a-truck 40 hour job. Even on the days that you were out with the other account rep, you showed no motivation to learn any of the things you’d need to know to do your job. We also started to learn that you had no customer service skills whatsoever and you seemed to be missing many basic social manners as well. Such as:

  • How to answer a phone. “Good morning/afternoon, Company Name. Yes, she is here, can I ask who’s calling?” Hold button. You just answered “Hello, just a minute” and didn’t put the client on hold, but put the handset on the desk.
  • Music volume. Be courteous. Client’s or coworkers shouldn’t be hearing it in the background.
  • After showing you a cabinet you can put your food in, you thought it was OK to just take a banana from my cabinet without asking. Your welcome for the yogurt, also.
  • Patchouli perfume has connotations. You also used too much, which only amplified our thoughts as to why you wore it. The oil lingers everywhere you’ve been or touched. Bleeeech!!
  • Sleeping in the truck on the drive back to the shop is unacceptable.
  • No, tank tops and shorts are not acceptable, even if it’s hot out.
  • When asked to go to the counter of a nursery for a pick-up, you asked, “What am I supposed to say? I’m here for roses?”. No try, “Hello, I’m Your Name, from Company Name, here to pick-up our order.” Then after being asked to stay and wait for the order, while your coworker uses the Ladies.. She returns to the meeting spot and you are nowhere to be found. She waits for the order, pays for it and loads it into the truck, all the while wondering where you were. After ten minutes of looking for you, she finds you wandering the isles. You stated you got bored waiting and wanted to wander awhile.
  • Your interest in the crews was not what we felt was acceptable in a managerial position. You asked us too many personal questions, like who was single and also spent too much time chatting with them at jobsites about their personal lives.
  • Yes, there is a broom in the closet for when you track mud all over the office. It amazed me the 6 boot cleaners at the door didn’t tip you off.
  • Even tho we warned you many of our clients have security cameras, you still thought selfie’s were acceptable. We feared you were posting these to Facebook with our company logo on your shirt.

Although you would have thought this was enough for us to part ways, the clincher was when you told me, within listening distance of accountant-boss’s-wife, that you didn’t need to learn how to file, because it wasn’t part of your job, walked away to your office and shut the door.

That afternoon, without the boss, the three of us employees decided that dealing with your ‘tude wasn’t worth the lessening of our workload or stress. You were creating more stress and worse, we thought you would bring shame to our company.

I will remember the morning the accountant-boss’s-wife and I fired you for a long time. We had discussed what we would say. We didn’t want to hurt you, however we had to be prepared with answers when you asked us why we had to let you go. We told you that you didn’t seem happy to be working in the office. You seemed to remember being told you were going to be in a truck all day, working with client’s, crews and flowers. Clearly a delusion. You then said answering the phones, filing and paperwork are not for you, as you have a college degree. That I should be doing it as I wasn’t educated. You seemed pretty surprised when I told you I had a degree also, let alone 3 certificates, an arborist license and countless other endorsements. Since you’re not working for us anymore, I can now tell you I also make twice as much as your educated ass.

It took you almost a half an hour to pack-up all the stuff you managed to move into your office in the three weeks you were here. I had the pleasure (not) of standing in your office to be sure you didn’t pack any proprietary information or delete files on the computer. You mumbled the whole time, I tried not to listen and read work emails on my phone. I also tried not to laugh when you said that we didn’t know how to run a business, that we’d miss you and that I didn’t know how to train people.

I wish you the best. I hope that you can learn from this experience, although I’m shocked that in your 35 years on this planet, you seemed to have picked up little in the common sense/courtesy department.


Your gratefully ex-coworker.


red head quote

How I felt the day before I fired you.

No Mail Again…


I’m not sure why our mailbox at work is so attractive for trucks to run over. This is the second time, last time it was a snowplow, this time it was the dumpster truck. It fell on its face so I couldn’t get the outgoing mail out that day. The mail lady pulled up shortly after I took this photo. She just shook her head.

© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl

Boys At Play – Just a Day at Work For Me

I work with a bunch of jokesters.
Thankfully, I am fairly rarely the brunt of the joke. They have tried, however you need to wake-up pret-ty early to catch me off guard. I now just get to enjoy all the pranks they do to each other. Many times I get to be in on the joke, as you can’t do anything around my office without me knowing about it. I hear, see and smell all. Yes, I can smell when the boys are out churning the compost pile in back… peeee-you!
This is how this one played out:
My boss and his family love to hunt and the Hispanic employees love to eat most things they kill. It’s a perfect symbiotic relationship.  As my fellow blogger (Bella Remy Photography) found out recently while trying to take photos of a Bald Eagle dining on a fallen deer… landscapers love their free meat! I’ve even seen them turn around to pick-up the wild turkey they just hit trying to cross the road.
My boss was driving back to the shop and witnessed a car hit a coyote. He quickly pulled over to see if the driver was OK (they were) and if they wanted the carcass. Yes, he did!! They clearly did not want it. He tossed it into the back of his truck and brought it back to the office.
I saw him pull it out of his truck and place it near the wheel of his son’s truck.

I think the son may have peed himself a bit when he walked around the truck and saw it! =-O

My boss guessed I probably don’t get that type of humor.

I don’t get that he picked up something no one would eat.



© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl

The Plumber Saves the Day

Do you know who saves more lives than doctors?Plumber-Protects

The plumber has one of the most important jobs in our society and is someone we couldn’t do without. At some point in our lives we will all have to call on the help of a plumber. Their skills are varied and vital in the running of our homes and businesses. There has been a stigma attached to being a plumber lately and many people now see the plumber as the new lawyer or doctor, in terms of their salary and general importance in society. However, what makes a good plumber hasn’t changed over the years. It’s not in the desire to be rich* but the desire to use their hands to do their job well.

Professor Kotlikoff, president of Economic Security Planning Incorporated states, “Yes, doctors have a bigger salary.  But, doctors have to endure nearly a decade of expensive education before making any real salary, after which the doctor is hit by a very high progressive tax rate.  Because of all the costs the doctor incurs, the taxes and the lost wages, plumbers make more, and have almost the same spending power over their lifetime as general practitioners.”

Here’s my hubby, workin’ for a livin’!



  • Believe me, if he was making that much money, I’d be a “stay-at-home-dog-mom!!”