Good day!!

This blog will be focusing on the diverse, horticultural environment that is called the Midwest, specifically zone 5.

I am very curious about everything that goes on within my Midwestern island (and sometimes beyond), that I will post other topics that have piqued my interest whether it be odd, new, outrageous, or just nothing I’ve ever seen before! We’re 4 seasons here… Winters are long ( I also tend to get a bit loopy…) not much is happening in the horticultural department!

Our little family also loves to explore (Geocache, kayak, tube, hike) and camp, which usually produces some interesting stories to write about. We hope to travel wherever there are roads to take us in the future.

Fine Print:

I am pretty opinionated and tend to get a bit over-excited at times… I may need to apologize now! =-O However, if you’re looking for a blog to follow that is 80% Midwestern Plant information and 20% utterly crazy observations that will either keep you in stitches or piss you off enough to un-follow me. You’re in the right place!!

FOLLOWS: For me to be able to fully enjoy and comment on the blogs I do follow, I must keep my follows to a comfortable level for daily reading. Bloggers do come and go quite quickly IMHO, tho. I do enjoy comments, I tend to flip-flop follow chatty bloggers over the LIKE hit & runners.

I also don’t really have time for awards. After you’ve done 4-5 and the likes are four stars each, it got old for the amount of time I shoveled out. I prefer to give back to my FOLLOWED blogs in different ways.

Things I hang on my wall regarding Horticulture:

I live in Lake County, Illinois with my artist/plumber husband & 2 Border Collies. I grew-up tending flowers with my Mother and veggies with my Father. I earned my Degree in Horticulture (Natural Areas Management), a Certificate in Landscape Maintenance, Urban Forestry Management and obtained my Arborist license from the International Society of Arboriculture. I have my pesticide applicator license, but practice IPM (integrated pest management – i.e. I try to be organic). My desire to help others drew me to the University of Illinois Master Gardener program, where I volunteered for a time, answering the public’s gardening questions. Currently, I work for a well-known, high-end landscape firm as an estimator, designer & plant buyer.

….Yet I dream to be viewing the country via my toy-hauler, writing environmental and animal grants…

If you have any questions, please ask!

I will be happy to address any questions.

Enjoy your day!

Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl


182 thoughts on “About

    1. Thanks! Ditto on checking out other places. I saw your comment on another post & your title got me curious to check out your blog. When I’ve got more time, I will come back to follow! =-)

    1. Well then ‘Howdy Neighbor!!’ =-)
      Thanks for the follow & right back at ‘cha.
      I love the challenges of plant ID, so if you’re stumped, go ahead and email me a photo midwesternplantgirl at yahoo.com
      Enjoy this heat wave…. Not!

    1. Thanks for the follow & right back at cha! You’re blog is what I aspire mine to be 🙂 We should be able to bounce some plant ID off each other, as sometimes I post pix of plants that I don’t know, figuring someone can help me out. See ya in the reader!

      1. Thanks for the comment. Even though I have grown a lot of different plants have several websites and books to help with plant ID, sometimes I still can’t figure them out. I have sent emails to some “professionals’ for help. Most of them reply but some do not. Maybe I get lost in the spam or something. I still have a succulent I haven’t figured out and I have had it since 2009.

  1. This blog, the detail, your knowledge and experience is simply astounding. Take pride! My mother has had a “black thumb” her entire life (she claims), and for the first time ever I bought a beautiful hydrangea (I decided to pot) and a potted tropic braided hibiscus tree. We live in Indiana. May I ask you a few questions as to how to keep them alive through the winter instead of hoping the random internet source is a reliable one?

    1. Thanks so much for the compliments! 🙂
      I’d be more than happy to help you out. What kind of hydrangea did you get? If you don’t know, email a pix. I’m familiar with the hibiscus. You can either answer me here or email me: midwesternplantgirl at yahoo.com
      I can write a post about ‘Overwintering Tropicals’ which would help you out.

  2. That’s an impressive background you have. Though I’ve lived in many of the states (even Wisconsin as a kid), we’re a year in Illinois now, SW of Chicago (Aurora). We have a big 1600 square foot community garden that we’re growing by permaculture methods. I could probably learn a lot about midwest plants from you. =D

    1. Thank you for commenting 🙂
      We ARE close neighbors, welcome to Illinois! The land where you turn around and the weather has changed. Lake Michigan has her ways of messin’with the poor weatherman’s predictions. Ha! I do use permiculture techniques in my own personal garden, so I’d love to bounce ideas, etc. with you. This whole GMO thang has me planning a large expansion of the garden next spring. Nothing beats going ‘shopping’for supper veggies in your own yard! 🙂

      1. I’ve put my permaculture adventures at my blog too. GMOs, unreliable produce, even the expensive organic stuff, juicing and eating a raw foods diet for half a day, every day in summer, is what drove me to want to grow my own food. I’ve been pretty amazed at the taste and quality differences from truly fresh and organically grown food! I’m hooked =)

  3. Hi – I need to use a photo from your blog for an old article I want to put on the Indiana Daffodil Society website. I see your citation, Ilex Farrell – The Midwestern Plant Girl – midwesternplants.org,, but do I need to get your permission too? Or just beg your forgivemess? 🙂

  4. I miss the loopy long winters of Wisconsin (she says as she types and stares out the window at the five fresh inches of snow falling at the end of March in Virginia). The environment is changing, and I guess we need to find ways to adapt as well.
    I plan to follow along for the ride, and intend to soak up as much as I can from your terrific blog, Ilex. Here’s to spring – whenever it arrives! 🙂

    1. I sent snow that special delivery! Ha! It dusted snow here this AM also. So, Zone 7ish? Nice. I would sure take that. Maybe with the rate of climate change… I’ll see zone 7 in the Midwest before I’m plant food. =-) I’m looking forward to enjoying your blog also! Hopefully, I can keep the drool from frying out the keyboard…

  5. Awesome content, I feel like I have to move to the midwest with all of my plant knowledge from your front page! Thanks for checking our our Appalachian Trail posts, keep it up!

    1. Thanks for the compliment! I would love to plan a trip like you’s are doing. We also have furry friends we’d have to adjust for, but I think for the most part, people like dogs. I might as well just give you a follow, so I don’t miss anything!! =-)

  6. Thanks for visiting my blog! Your’s is very interesting….I am not much of a plant person, but just try and keep the little patch I have here in SA as green as possible 🙂

  7. Great blog! Great About page. I live on the southwest side of Indianapolis. My wife is a flower guru and most of my pics come from about 40 yards or less from where I am sitting.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog and the ‘like’. I have gone through some of your horticulture posts. I will check some of the other stuff out as I go. I am following.

    Come by again anytime. We always have the welcome mat out.

    1. Thanks for the compliment, comment and follow! :mrgreen:
      I wish I could say the same about the range of my flowers. .. I have a great shadegarden, however, the rest I have to hunt down.
      I love to comment and of course love to get them…
      “I may not follow many blogs, however, when I do. I like to comment. ”
      See you in the reader!

  8. Thanks for dropping by my blog, Ilex. I will enjoy perusing yours especially as I grew up in Minnesota and also spent time in Wisconsin and Michigan. It’s a joy to see some of those familiar flowers once again.

  9. Hi, thanks for liking my post, Furbabies are Children. My grandma was always an excellent gardener. I don’t think I have a green thumb. Though, I do hope to be better at it, since, my husband & I would eventually like to have a vegetable garden, fruit trees, besides, chickens & goats.

  10. Glad you’ve liked some of the videos on my blog. I live in Canberra, Australia, where the winters are pretty cold (rarely any snow) and the summers hot and dry. More challenging gardening here than in the sub-tropics where I used to live. Like you, I prefer to garden organically. I’m also one of those people who can’t bear to kill anything, including snails. I leave it to their natural predators to do that and there are plenty of them in my garden. Anyway, will be signing on as one of your followers. Cheers, BM 🙂

    1. Thank you for coming by!
      I do like to be organic, there are many ways to fix things in the garden without chemicals.
      If you have any questions I may be able to answer, don’t hesitate to ask!
      Have a happy new year! !

  11. Very happy to see you still on WordPress. I am an old familiar face using an alias for the time being… But, I will soon return and unveil the mask… Keep up the good work and GET DIRTY! P.S. I don’t have a mustang and my name isn’t Henry.

  12. Hi Ilex, I was born and raised in Lake County, Illinois–lived in Wadsworth and Zion most of my life, now I live in Portland, Oregon. I still am a Midwesterner at heart, although I am glad to have left the Midwestern weather behind. Oregon’s climate is much milder.

    1. Thanks for stopping by!
      I’m just a bit west of there. We’re just breaking out of our white blanket. ❄ Just saw a tulip leaf today!
      I’ve been to Oregon, so beautiful and love the weather.

  13. You have been following me for a while now and have helped me with some of my flower photos. I was wondering if you would like to carry on the Five Photo, Five Stories Challenge? You are not required to but I do enjoy your photos and knowledge of plants. I do hope you take up the challenge. Thank you.

    “The rules of Five Photos, Five Stories Challenge require you to post a photo each day for five consecutive days and attach a story to the photo (It can be fiction or non-fiction, a poem or simply a short paragraph) and then nominate another blogger to carry on this challenge. Accepting the challenge is entirely up to the person nominated, it is not a command.”

    1. I would love to, but honestly, the timing is bad. I can either do it during the winter months or I will have to pass.
      Thank you very much for thinking of me! I always love your flower photos!!

  14. DSC_1180.JPG

    i’m hoping that each of these pictures is self explanatory … this is the back yard of our cottage. sure doesn’t get much sunlight but i hate to cut any of the beautiful trees down. of course, moss likes it dark, right?

  15. oh my — it continues to amaze me — this indigenous Return Policy within the blogging world — as in you stop by and Like my Spring Harvest, I follow on over to your site, and discover the most amazing connections! And a great blog too, I might add! I hail from Waukegan, Illinois — that’s Lake County if my midwestern memory serves me. Small small world. I also attended the University of Illinois, but only for a one week cheerleader camp in the mid-sixties and several debate tournaments during the late sixties as well. Love the photo on your profile — my mother had a huge bed of these in our back yard. Love all your photography!
    So nice to meet you over my second cup of coffee this morning. Hope you’ll meander on by again 🙂

    1. Welcome! It sure is a small world 🌎 <– small world!
      I’m just on the other side of Lake County and was raised in Cook. Crazy city folk 😉
      As you can see from my profile, the blanket flower is my fav. I have two drop dead, must have flowers in my yard and it’s this blanket flower and my bleeding hearts (the feature photo on my page).
      I returned your follow and hope I can share photos that reminds you of here and I’ll get to read some of your wonderful stories! 😀 win-win!

      1. hmmmmm should have mentioned, look in my Nature heading and there’s a series of three haikus together that personify flowers: the lilac, the lily of the valley (of course you realize it’s named after me:) ), and the bleeding heart. Think you would like the pics and the sentiment. Still a midwesterner at heart….loving the moniker that we’re from the Heartland!
        have a great weekend!

      2. I sure will take a look! Love haikus. Learned them in 7th grade and have tossed out a few in my blog.
        We both got blessed with nature names 🌸. Of course Ilex is my formal name 😉
        Enjoy your weekend also!

  16. I’m glad I found you! I just move south, and will cherish having another Midwest connection. Never had much success growing things, so hopefully I’ll learn something too.

    1. Welcome to the south 😉 You must have been pretty north to call this south! Haha!
      If you have any plant questions, just comment on any post. I will usually answer the question in the form of a post.

  17. Cool blog! I’m in Seattle where gardening (for me) is largely a spring and summer thing. Late fall I put my garden to bed for the winter and forget about it. But I do love to grow my own fruits and veggies. I focus on perennial edibles, blueberries, raspberries, grapes, etc., and blooms for my local pollinators and hummingbirds. I’m one of those organic folks – no GMO’s, no chemical pesticides and only organic fertilizers. Looking forward to reading your posts!

    1. Thanks!
      Mmm, berries. I need to add more of those to my yard also. Getting some raspberries plants from the neighbor in a few weeks.
      It’s almost time to say goodnight to all the plants here. I get a tad sad. .. but in the winter, I can catch up on all the chores I put aside to garden! Yeah? 😉

  18. Making a point on this last day of the year to connect with fellow bloggers who have taken to the time to visit my blog. A friend wrote a comment after reading the Know Your Oaks FB post- he wrote “Oakay!” Happy New Year. And my parents were from Illinois and met at U of Ill and married in 1939, yes a long time ago. We always had annual car trips to Illinois to visit the grandparents and relatives. (Just thought you’d find that interesting.)

  19. Hi MPG (Ilex),

    Tis a long time since I’ve passed by, but I’m liking the revised blog layout. Also, Thanks muchly for the recent like at naturestimeline.

    Best Wishes and take care now.

    Tony Powell

    1. You are welcome Tony! Thanks for stopping by.
      It has been a long time, however sometimes life gets in the way 😉
      I’m glad to read you’ve been busy with paying gigs. A problem most writers want! I’ll get there one day…
      Keep trying to save the earth!
      She needs you 🌏

  20. Hello, I’ve seen your Gravatar image on a multitude of sites and thought I’d finally check you out – glad I did. It is a pleasure to meet you.
    (any tips on how to keep a basil plant alive?)

    1. Good day! I also see you around, especially on John’s Story Book. My dad would love your blog, he was in the AF, but during a ‘peace time’. He’s a retired aircraft mechanic now.
      With regards to your basil… What’s going on with it?
      Typically, they are considered annuals and were only ment to live a year. That doesn’t mean they can’t live longer under supervised circumstances.
      Instead of writing this all down, I found a great site that gave the most info (IMO) about the proper care of basil. I hope it helps! Thanks for stopping by!

      1. Thanks, I appreciate it. I know the basil is an annual, but mine only seem to last 2 weeks after I bring them home – does that mean I have a purple thumb? 🙂
        Peace time or war time – our military is necessary and their contributions for us are priceless. Please shake your father’s hand for me.

      2. Are you watering it? 😉
        Check the leaves for bugs. And if you buy a replacement plant, go to a different store. Many times if they sit together on a shelf, they will all have the same issue.

  21. Hello Ilex. Nice to meet you. I am a chatty blogger. LOL. I know what you mean. I must say your job sound fascinating. I just found your blog and I look forward to more lovely photos and post from you. Pamela

  22. Thanks for visiting my blog – fiesta-siesta.net. I enjoyed looking at your blog and am a gardener and fellow plant lover, as well as an Ohio native. I look forward to visiting more of your articles. (The tarot card info is very interesting)

    1. Thank you thank you!
      I just followed you as well. 😎
      Having a herd of dogs must be a blast! I would be a “dog lady” if it weren’t for my husband. I applaud all the lives you’ve saved. Who cares if you’re a foster failure… 😉 I’m glad you’re here for these fuzz faces!!

  23. Hi Midwest, I had to comment on the mummy post, but didn’t want to on that blog. I am really happy a few people saw the humor in that. I know how you feel. I have never wanted a kid, ever and I am 54. I know people think that is strange, but I don’t have any motherly instincts in me. If I were to have had a kid, yes, I would have kept it and raised it, don’t know how well I would have done, but I can not get interested in babies and kids, sorry mummy’s everywhere. I don’t think to be a whole complete woman you have to churn out more people. I don’t care about all the milestones like potty training, first steps, birthdays.etc, the list goes on and on. I have to deal with this on a personal level with friends and family, and I have to put up with it. I will be demonized for saying it, but I prefer no kids.

    1. OMG! Get out of my head 🤣😂😆
      I can’t agree with you more. I’m within a few years of you and have always felt the same way. Never had dolls, played house, tea parties… it was Legos, matchboxes and tree houses for me.
      I’ve never once wanted a kid. I thought they were a big burden. IMO, you can’t live a full life and raise your kids right in the same lifetime. I watched my Mom give up all to raise us. She didn’t work, thus dedicating herself to us. I feel if folks do have kids, one parent should be home for them.
      I couldn’t see myself doing this, and you know in our youth, baby daddies staying home was unheard of.
      I also had a very hard time with my periods. I started young, 10. I had debilitating cramps that kept me home 3 days of the month on RX pain pills. I was anemic, which caused other problems. With that in mind, I thought having a child was like the movie alien! Not that I had a model body, but I see what a child can do to a body 😲
      After I was 21, I started to seek out getting a hysterectomy. Dr upon Dr told me I’d be ‘damaged goods’ to any man. I said what about my feelings and health? I was told multiple times a kid might (might?) fix my uterus. Really? It’s not like you just try it and if you don’t like it, stop doing it. How crazy was that logic? I suffered with cysts, fibroids, pain, constant bleeding and anemia for years.
      Finally, at age 36, I saw a new Dr who asked me after an exam. “Have you thought about having a hysterectomy? ” Holy Bejezus Hallelujah! ” I almost fell of the exam table.
      I can’t begin to tell you how much better I feel! It’s like going outside for the first time. 😆😅😃
      So yes. Now many of my friends have popped out a few and we’re a bit distant now. We don’t meet up at soccer practice or the bus stop. They can’t go out at drop off hat as they need to secure sitters. No camping anymore, because little Johnny has a game on Saturday. Many have sold their campers since they don’t use them.
      The age range of my friends is odd now. Either too young to have kids or old enough their kids have moved out.. however now grandkids are the issue.
      I wish it wasn’t such a taboo to not have children! This planet needs a few less humans 😉
      I had a great response to one of my professors who told me driving my sportcar was bad for the environment. I responded to this 3x mom that I could never reach the environmental footprint she’s made on this planet, even if I drove 3 cars, as she’s exponentially added more humans to do their damage also. So there!
      I’m glad to have met you, we’re rare. I think too many folks feel the need to fit in and just do it to be ‘normal’. I can say pretty confidentially I’M NOT NORMAL 😋

      1. I rejoice in not being normal or fitting in. Let everyone else follow that path.
        It is antiquated, and the women that follow it are cardboard caricatures of what they think they should be, and what society expects. I love the liberation I feel with not conforming.
        Don’t know if I said all that right.
        Society used to be that way. It was expected.
        Boy and girl meet and date, then get married. Girl has been raised to believe all these fantasies about love and prince charming, and leading a fulfilling life by having a family.
        Well prince charming often turns out not to be so charming in many cases. Couples rush to have this perfect family unit, and they never really get the chance to know each other, or get to know what life is like, living on your own. I feel it is important if a couple gets married, they should have some time together before jumping in to starting a family.
        The women feel the need that they must have someone to complete them, and make them whole. They want so desperately to be loved.
        I think many women feel having a baby will make everything more perfect, as it is the product of a union of love.
        With the advent of women’s lib and birth control, you would have expected things to turn around a little, and it did somewhat, but the old adages still remain.
        I have always known I was not that type of person, that was willing to give up my identity, and what I wanted.
        I don’t need or want a husband, or baby to feel that I am a whole woman.
        Look at how many divorces there are and even worse, unhappy marriages.
        Having kids doesn’t make it better. At some point I think it is irresponsible behavior to have so many. You are right about the footprint. We already have to many people vying for dwindling resources.
        I would not even think of bringing another human life into this cesspool that we have turned the world into.
        You statement about your mom, hit me to, because I feel the same way about mine, and I know that she didn’t really want kids herself, but she made the sacrifice because it was what you were supposed to do.
        I always hated dolls and anything girly, I like stuffed animals, bikes, skateboarding and books. I also loved Legos and Matchbox cars. I didn’t have a treehouse, but that would have been great.
        I was never crazy over babies at any time in my life.
        Fortunately, I never had the health issues that you did. I think the doctors that told you that all those years, were not being doctors like they should have been, but men. I am glad you finally found one who helped you, as the other ones should have.
        A lot if this stuff is pounded in our heads by movies, tv and books. I think it is a disservice.
        Oh and you are right about one parent being at home. With the economy the way it is now, it’s almost impossible for that, those days are pretty much over with.
        Now most of kiddies go to their grandmas, and they have a more active part in their childhoods.
        I can say that neither one of my grand mothers had any role whatsoever in raising me or watching me. That would have been quite foreign. I don’t think they did that too often back then. I am sure there were exceptions, but I was not one of them.
        The grandmas to me are even worse.
        If perchance I did have a kid, I would not expect my mother to watch my kid all the time. I would want my mom to enjoy her later years, she already raised kids. She deserves a break. I see this all the time with people I know, and what gets me is they assume that I feel the same way, because babies are so cute and lovable, what is wrong with you? I hate that judging.
        My friends all went on to have kids, and of course we would go our separate ways, and nothing would be the same again. Don’t they ever miss that or wonder what would it had been like without kids? Once you have one, it is a life time thing, first with the kids, hen the grandkids. When do you get to be you?
        I was on some board one time mentioning this very thing, and boy, did I get beat down. I sure hit a nerve, and I had to go slinking back into the corner, and stop making comments. I wasn’t going to win.
        I don’t really even have a lot of friends. The one I do have and am closest too, has six kids and now three grand children. We can never do anything or go anywhere. To me that would be like a life sentence of servitude.
        Don’t get me wrong. I do nor believe in abusing any baby or child and would not tolerate if I knew someone was doing it. There are so many that are though. I do feel bad for them. No one that is defenseless should have to suffer. That is another reason why women should be more responsible.
        I dread going to family events, I hate holidays.It’s all about the kids and their joyous little faces. Aren’t they just darling? I can not identify with that any more than they could identify with my beliefs. I want to be anywhere else other than at their houses watching kids open gifts, running around and screaming. Then you get invited to all that shit. Yes, I also get to hear about the sporting events, the grades at school, potty training progress.
        Are these people blind???? Do they see me with a kid??? Again, they are assuming I have the same attitude and feelings. Why would I want to hear all that? Do they want to hear about me? No. They are too wrapped up in all that shit. I could go on even more, but I am afraid someone I know will read this and I have to carry on with the facade to some degree.
        You are right, and I think I said the same thing, they do it to fit in and because they think it is the normal thing to do.
        Nice to meet you and sorry for such a hard time with the doctors and your health. It’s great to meet another person that isn’t NORMAL.
        I do have to add that, I am in no way a person that plants, so I hope that isn’t a big deal. I couldn’t grow a potato and all you have to do with that is throw it in a hole and put some dirt back on it. I would not know one flower from another. Maybe a sunflower, rose and tulip, that would be about it.

      2. There’s nothing you wrote about above that I don’t agree with! 😊
        So many divorces and single parents… kids weren’t supposed to grow up that way.
        The funny thing about me saying one parent should be home… from what I understand, childcare is pricey. Even my well paid coworker tells me its 75% of her salary. Why work? Raise your child! They need you around more than that new pair of sneakers.
        Yes, children are a life of servitude! I get that there are women out there that just don’t get what were saying. There are even women out there that are CEOs of companies. Like the new Yahoo CEO. She kept her pregnancy a secret until she was hired. Now she’s sitting pretty with a salary and a 12 week preggers leave. Sneaky! She makes enough $ to have nannies, et all.
        Ironically, my friends with kids don’t talk to me about their kids or very little. I think they ‘use’ me for a bit of ‘I’m not a parent’ time. I don’t even ask about them as I don’t need to hear it either. We talk about everything but!
        Oh, the funny thing about all my drs? They were all female! You’d think they’d be more sympathetic. Nope. I went to female Drs because just like the saying goes… ‘would you bring your car to a mechanic that doesn’t drive?’ 🤣
        Yes, I’ve been shut down more times than I can count. I told my sis in law that folks with kids take more days off of work than me. She said no. Are you crazy! More kids in the family makes the % go up that a parent will need to stay home because of a sniffle or other issue. Kids get so many days off of school these days too! Gesh!
        We could go on and on….
        So glad to have met you!
        I do write about other things than gardening. I try to not be so focused 🤓 and have some variety here.
        See ya in the reader!

      3. Yes, that is true about woman working, a lot of them have to take days off because of the kids. If I were a person that did the hiring. I would not want to hire a woman with kids, because I have seen this when I worked. They would get to leave, they would also get weekends off, because they had kids. I think that is a form of discrimination. It used to piss me off, that they received preferential treatment. You’re lucky, I get to hear about kids where ever I go. I can’t escape it.
        I know childcare is expensive now. I used to babysit, yeah, I did that and I hated it. I got a dollar an hour, didn’t matter how many kids, sometimes there were four. That was over 40 years ago. I finally said I don’t need the money that bad. I would make more money on my paper route. But if a person is paying child care, isn’t that tax deductible? I know my friends used to get a big tax check at the end-of the year for deductions. I don’t know if they still get that much, but for awhile, my boyfriends daughter, they were getting close to $5,000 of $6,000 back. Why should they get paid to have the kids, it was their decision? I have had both make and female doctors. I preferred the men, but my latest is a female and she’s not bad. The last two before her though were total bitches.
        As far as your story, I would think they would understand and be sympathetic. Where do you live? I am in Michigan.
        That is exactly what kids are, they are a life of servitude, and it doesn’t end once they are 18, it is a lifelong thing.
        I know, because I wasn’t the best kid, but I always tried to do things for my parents, especially my mom. I wanted to pay her back for taking care of me. It was my turn.
        I can tell you one thing about women, when ever I have had a job, and had to do an interview with a woman, I would never get the job. I am much more relaxed being interviewed by a man, and it’s not because I am good looking or anything like that. I just do terrible with women.
        I didn’t know that about the Yahoo CEO,maybe I read it somewhere and forgot, but I am sure she would not have been considered had they known she was pregnant.
        I will check out more of your blog. I am sure I will find some cool things, I might even get into flowers, bit I live in an apartment, so I wouldn’t be able to have a garden.

      4. Yup. My coworker, who has 2 little ones, is off at least once a month, may be a sick kid or a day off school.
        My boss now tells me how much he loves that I don’t have kids. Duh. I rarely miss work, I do take scheduled vacation, but I’m usually bringing homework with 😝
        Really!? They get that childcare money back? That’s BS 💩! I wonder if anyone had fought paying school taxes and not having kids? Many of the ‘over 50’ communities don’t have to. I’m in Illinois, BTW. Both our state’s seem to be in turmoil 🤤
        Welp! Hope you enjoy this nice weather coming our way. It’s my last Friday off! I’m going to try to get out for a long walk. Try to get some cobwebs outta my mind 🤔

      5. If she’s only off once a month, that isn’t much compared to what the women I work with are off. I hate that I have to work weekends and they don’t. I complained to my boss, a woman of course, and her response was, ‘she has kids”. Well she is the one who hired her, and I don’t get why they are able to dictate there schedule. I thought if you had a job, you were supposed to be available when needed.
        No, I didn’t mean actual childcare, although they may be ale to write it off, not sure. I am saying as a deduction, and credit. Here I don’t think there is any way of getting out of school tax, unless you live in an apartment, even then you still may have to pay. I live in a mobile home and I pay, but it isn’t that much. Now the over 50’s communities may have something going where they don’t have to.
        You enjoy yours off too., and the warm weather.
        Yeah, between tainted water, and awful roads, it;’s not so great. Oh and we have the highest car insurance in the country, and they raised it again.

      6. Got cha on the taxes, however I think The Trump may be trying to pass that, tax breaks on child care. Gaaa!
        The over 50 communities don’t have to pay the school tax here, as they didn’t need to build schools to accommodate any children for their large neighborhood. That was the trade off.
        I lived in Florida for 5 years. The insurance there was 3x what I pay up here. Horrible!

      7. Really, I didn’t know that. I am 54. I should get myself in a 50’s community, but I know they are beyond my financial abilities.
        You could be right about Trump with the kids. I don’t have any kids, so I don’t know what benefits parents can claim or write off. I just know that they used to get a lot of money back at the end of the year for having the kids. I suppose that also was in part income based.
        I think that is a good plan for older people, especially when they are on fixed incomes, they should not have to pay school taxes.

      8. I just looked it up… Sadly, its true. The Trump (I voted for him. no pres has been 100% to my liking) has been trying to pass writing off childcare. Click this link for the story.
        Also, about the over 50 neighborhoods, there’s always a trade off. No taxes, however you have association fees. Just when you think you’re ahead, you’re not!
        There’s a reason all the old folks flock to FL or AZ. After living FL, I get it. Services, hospitals are a stones throw from everywhere, over 55 discounts aplenty, 50 communities are EVERYWHERE!!!! OMG.. The grocery store would walk your cart out and load your car no matter who you were.

      9. Oh yeah, I knew that, but I forgot about it. They had to pay that fee. Love that one, then they tell you what you can and can’t do with the yard, garbage cans, parking. You can’t win. My cousin lived in one down in Florida, it was an entire city, and they had everything there, stores, a show, restaurants and people drove golf carts.The community that was for over 50’s I was interested in was a mobile home park in North Carolina, they didn’t have any dues, just the lot rent.

      10. Yeah. There’s always a catch. I couldn’t live where I can’t do what I want. I’m a rebel like that. I call my camper ‘Plan B’ (Not as good as your ‘Planet B’ 🤣😂) . If things go bad for us, that’s where we’ll live. Heck, I’d even build a treehouse before having to live in a community like that.
        Who knows. Maybe I won’t care in another decade… only 13 years till 62 for me!

      11. Yes, but by that time retirement age goes up to either 65 or 67. I am in the same boat, but I am a couple years older than you. A treehouse would be great.
        It would be nice to have a camper in case. Is it one you pull or a motor home type?
        I always thought about that too, but the only drawback would be the repairs if it broke down. You would have to have enough money to keep it up. I don’t know but I really like those silver Airstream campers.

      12. We have a toy-hauler, that we pull. It has a garage for our motorcycle. I love the garage, so much storage.
        Yes, if things break, you do need to have the $$ to fix right away. Luckily, we’re both pretty handy. My hubby is a plumber and knows a bunch about mechanics.

      13. That helps to have that skill with mechanics, and plumbing. You can do it yourself and save a lot of money. Those costs are expensive. I wish we had a garage for storage, but as we live in a mobile home park, we do not have anything but a small shed.

      14. We have boxes here, where we can drop clothes off. As for bigger items, I would imagine they still do pickups here. They used to call and ask on a monthly basis. I know you can also drop of at store locations, like the Salvation Army, and Goodwill.

      15. I am really surprised he wants to do that. It used to piss me off when people I knew that had three or four kids would get four thousand dollars back or more.

      16. People make a choice to have kids in many cases, so I don’t see why are any different than the rest of us. I get discriminated because I have no kids.

  24. Love the posts on your horticultural digs. We are in zone 9 and put in a drought tolerate butterfly garden about a year ago. We reduced our our yard work by removing grass. We don’t have a need to weed as the plants block out the unwanted “weeds” and plants don’t need watering. We have a great selection of pollinators the neighborhood didn’t have before.

    1. I’ve seen you around in the comments sections of other blogs I follow… usually I like blogs of folks that follow the same blogs I do and I was right with yours 😁 See ya in the reader!

  25. Hi Ilex, I live in southeastern WI and also have applied to the Hort Therapy program at Chicago Botanic Garden for 2018. Hope to meet you there! Best wishes. Jennifer K., aka @plantgirl14

    1. Good day Jennifer! 😁 I am so excited to get this new part of my career going! I was a bit intimidated by the amount of paperwork CBG wanted for registration. Guess I’m used to normal college class registration… sign-up, pay, then attend class. Do you think there is tough competition to get in? I’ll admit I’ve got butterflies 🦋 in my belly! I wish you the best 😁 Ilex

      1. It sounds like it is. The website mentioned limited capacity but I’m not sure what the enrollment number is. There aren’t many such programs in the country so I imagine there’s a good amount of competition. You have lots of great experience so I can’t imagine you’d have any problem getting in, though. I’ve been looking at this program for years and now finally able to apply. Fingers crossed! Best wishes.

      2. Same as you, I’ve been looking to enroll in this program for a few years, but I wasn’t ready to move from my current job… I’m ready now! 😫😲
        Ironically, I went on a forest bathing walk last Saturday and met a woman currently in the program. She said there were 23 folks in her class. (I’d guess more could be enrolled, just IMO) She doesn’t recall it being tough to get in… She’s a landscape architect. She said there were all different types of backgrounds there… occupational therapists, montessori school teachers, horticulturists… She said she felt, “they are partial to the plant geeks”. I also think they want folks that will actually go out and do this career, not just come to take a class. So, I’m assuming we’re good to go 😉
        I almost did the one in Colorado, as it started this fall, and my bff lives there. No issue to attend classes/stay with her. But of course, it’s easier to just stick around here 😉
        We’re you going to skip the intro hort class? I’m going to. I am going to take the other therapy garden design class in late May, tho.
        Best of luck to you 😁

      3. Hi, somehow I missed your last message. Yes I did request to skip the Intro to Hort class; seems a waste of $ for folks who already have hort/therapy knowledge/experience. I’m looking into the therapy garden design class as well. Have you heard anything yet about admissions? I thought we were supposed to hear by today. I’ve heard great things about the CO program but was glad the Chicago program was recently accredited so I wouldn’t have to look at such a distance! Take care and Happy Holidays!

      4. Get out of my head! 😂🤣 I was just scanning my posts… looking to see where you had commented and see if you had heard!
        Nope. Dead air here. I called. Actually 3x, as I was stuck in automatic hold for 15 minutes at a time. Then given to a VM. My msg has not been returned.
        Let’s just say I take punctuality seriously… 😉 I hope they answer soon, either in or out.
        I think CO allows you to start a class whenever they start one, but yes, there’s travel and an additional class. That’s plan B 😉 My buddy would be happy to see me tho!
        Enjoy your holidays also!

      5. Lmao! Last correspondence I received was comfirming receipt of all my materials, I wanted to give them until the end of today but I plan to send an email tomorrow. I’m the same way about deadlines: if you’re not going to meet one, you at least let ppl know… Hopefully we will hear something soon either way.

  26. Most folks seem to want to eradicate bracket fungus (shelf fungus) from their trees. I, however, have a dead tree — v-shaped, two-pronged, 9-foot stump(s), actually — on which I’d like to encourage the growth of this gorgeous fungus. Can it be “transplanted” from another tree that has it growing? Any ideas?

    1. GREAT question! 😁
      In short, you can absolutely cultivate some kind of bracket fungus on the stump.
      In long, it will depend on what type of tree it was*, some are better at growing it than others. How long it has been dead. Some trees look dead, but aren’t.
      Cultivation of certain bracket fungi are still done for medical purposes (in the Orient), for gourmet foods and for artists.
      I found a great forum that discusses all of this: https://www.shroomery.org/forums/showflat.php/Cat/0/Number/9017610
      Basically, you need to find or buy spores of the brackets you want. Drill holes into stump, place spores and seal. Then let nature take its course.
      Here’s a post I wrote about bracket fungus: https://midwesternplants.org/2016/03/23/shelf-and-bracket-fungus/
      The last 2 photos are of the same stump at work. The tree was pretty dead at felling time. The stump took less than 2 years to grow these 3 different types of fungus.
      I hope this helps! 😀

      *if you don’t know what it was, I can try to ID from the bark, if you want to send photo.

      1. Thank you for your reply! It was a pin oak that had “Oak Wilt.” It was cut down this December, though it did sprout some green leaves last spring, so it wasn’t fully dead. My landlord was good enough to leave as much standing as was safe and satisfactory for neighbors worried about their property/houses. I pleaded with him. I have seen the fungus on a few other trees nearby in our local woods (metroparks). I am certain I can bring some back on my next walk.

      2. That’s awesome that you know the species, and you have a great landlord!
        I’m not a mushroom hunter, but I do know that morel mushrooms prefer oak trees to grow under. I hear they are super yummy.
        Oak wilt is a really bad fungus. It doesn’t make pretty bracts, more like a mass of white foam. If the tree is still somewhat alive, the fungus may still be alive also. I’m saying this as this fungus effects the food exchange part of the tree, which is just under the bark. This fungus tends to pop off the bark. Why I say this, is so when you inoculate the stump, be sure to drill your hole in about 2″, well past the bark. This is so that if the bark gets popped off, your spores are still IN the tree. Lastly, you should research when a fungus will bloom… remember the bract is the flower of the fungus. I don’t want you to be discouraged if this doesn’t look like it’s working. In the right conditions it will! I’m all for foraging for your spores, but it has to be the right time, when spores are active. I don’t know this info. Worse case, you may be able to buy a mushroom kit (I’ve bought them from Amazon, oyster shrooms are yummy!) and use that. At least you know it will grow.
        I wish you the best of luck! This sounds life a fun project! Please let me know your results!
        Happy holidays!

Have any awesome thoughts to share?

%d bloggers like this: