First, the Weeds

Man is the only critter who feels the need to label things as flowers or weeds. ~Author unknown

I really wanted to get out and take some photos of Spring, but it’s cold.

And windy.

And the flowers and trees are either lagging behind their usual schedule, or we humans are just more anxious than ever. Which would make sense, seeing as how we’re locked inside.

Continue reading

Good Beans, Bad Beans

When weeding, the best way to make sure you are removing a weed and not a valuable plant is to pull on it. If it comes out of the ground easily, it is a valuable plant. ~Author Unknown

Did you know Illinois is the nation’s second leading exporter of soybeans?

Continue reading

Some Like it Hot

Those who forecast the weather are gloating over a recent break in our Midwestern heat (like they had something to do with it!)

Temps that were hanging in the high 90s and low 100s have dropped — finally! — to a more reasonable low 90s.

So far, so good. What they fail to mention is how dry it is.

I’m not a farmer, and I can’t find any data to corroborate this, but I’m calling it a drought. If it looks like a duck and walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it probably is a duck!

While parts of Illinois benefited from the passage of a cold front (and its accompanying storms), we did not. No rain for weeks on end.

Oddly enough, our plants seem to recognize the difference between Mother Nature’s drenching and the stream from a garden hose.

Since a picture is better than my rambling and complaining about it, take a look and see for yourself:

Wonder if our Kentucky Bluegrass will turn green again?

Big ole cracks where grass is supposed to be

This redbud, I’m afraid, has seen its last days

Weeds seem to love this dry heat!

Now, lest you think all is lost, let me contrast this dire picture with some that show what happens when plants do get water (even if it’s from a hose!):

Aren’t these beautiful and happy-looking?

Snapdragons in full bloom love the sun

Vinca, another sun-loving flower

My crepe myrtle — yes, it should be pruned, but that’s a chore for late winter. Isn’t it magnificent, though?

Determined Weeds

Weeds, I’m afraid, have gotten creative in Central Illinois.

It’s been ages since we’ve had significant rain — the figure that sticks in my mind is less than an inch in the past 30 days, combined with temps in the 90s. We’re not as bad off as Texas and Oklahoma, but a drought is a drought.

Just this week the national Drought Monitor upgraded most of Illinois (except the Chicago area) from “moderate” to “severe” drought status.

No kidding. When everybody’s yard looks like this:

Dried-out lawn

Well, that looks like a drought to me!

Some cities have taken to voluntary or mandatory conservation. Stream and lake levels are low, crops are beginning to suffer. The rains that flirt with our area seem to fizzle or produce just a few drops before moving on.

So our weeds are showing up in the most unlikely of places.

Like in between bricks:

weed in bricks

and in driveways:

driveway weeds

and on sidewalks:

sidewalk weeds

alongside fences:

climbing weed on fence

in between landscaping rocks:

weed in rocks

and even in the streets:

street weeds

The weather casters keep promising us rain. They can promise all they want; they don’t control the weather. But it could be worse — too much rain, in the form of hurricanes, is just as devastating as too little.

Meanwhile, the weeds don’t seem to care. They’re invincible, tenacious, and ever-present. As Dave Barry has said: Crabgrass can grow on bowling balls in airless rooms, and there is no known way to kill it that does not involve nuclear weapons.

Are you being a persistent weed today?