A New Union of Terrorists


Boko Leporidae, Leader of the ICWIS

Boko Leporidae hopped into the assembly of terror cells in Grumpa Joe’s garden. Boko did not look like any of the Wabbits living in the garden, he was fluffier and more like the Easter Bunny. His shorter ears stood erect on his head, and his fur was white with splotches of black.  “We have to unite, or die, said Boko.”


Hunched down low in the first row in front of Boko were Aga Bam-bi, and Ali Bug-Bunee. Aga munched on a clover flower while Ali nervously scanned the garden for signs of Grumpa Joe. Ali twisted and twitched his ears in all directions. His eyes open wide scanning the garden for movement while his nose was a constant twitch.  Both Aga, and Ali suffered a devastating winter living in dire conditions of deep snow and brutal cold. As leaders of terror cells their focus shifted to survival, and not in terrorizing the garden. Little did they know that in their quest for food that had stripped the young bark off the Viburnum and the Willow shrubs causing them great stress. Missing from the meeting were the squirrels. “They took a terrible beating from the hawks,” said Aga.

Behind Aga and Ali sat Slimy the Slug, a new member of the organization. Slimy sat nervously hoping the meeting would end quickly. He needed darkness to carry out his work, and this meeting cut into his feeding time. Unlike the Wabbits, Slugs can not work in sunshine. The sun quickly dehydrates their vital fluids and kills them.


Aga Bam-bi and Ali Bug-Bunee at the union meeting


“Without a united front, we will all perish and Grumpa Joe will win. He will succeed in driving us out of his garden.”

“He hasn’t planted any Petunias yet this year,” said Ali.

“The tulips are all bloomed out so there is little left for us to raid,” spoke Aga.

“Fear not,” said Boko. “With a united effort, no matter what he plants we will take him down. Are we going to stand together, or will we go down?”

“We will stand together,” they answered in unison.

“Good. As soon as we know what his Monet Vision looks like we will strike terror into the old man’s life.

Grumpa Joe and Peggy spent the winter in the Valley of the Sun enjoying the warmth away from the deep snow that blanketed the garden. All winter Grumpa Joe envisioned the 2014 Monet Vision. “I’m going to call it Golden Glow,” he told Peggy. This year I will outsmart the Wabbits by planting flowers they can’t stand.”

“That’s a good idea,” said Peggy.

“There is only one problem?”

“What is that,” she asked?

“The flowers they hate are not available in the colors you like, you won’t have any pinks, or blues, or reds to enjoy. I can see it in my mind and it will be the most beautiful garden we have ever had.”

“What ever you say Dear.”

Grumpa Joe got a very late start on planting because of all the travel he and Peggy did. First, they had to return from the Valley and then they had to go half way back across the country to attend the graduation ceremony of  Grumpa Joe’s grand-daughter. Before they left, he spent most of his time pulling weeds and preparing the flower beds.

When GJ returned home and walked around his garden he spotted Aga Bug-Bunee chewing peacefully on clover flowers. Eat all of that you want he said to himself, but stay away from my annuals.

After the graduation, Grumpa went on a flower buying spree. He bought a variety of Marigolds in yellow, orange, and mixed. This will fix them he thought. Those fuzzy Wabbits will stay away. I think it is the smell that does it.

In his day dreaming he envisioned a garden of yellows and golds of many sizes shapes and textures. Right after he planted his first batch of marigolds, he went on a second flower safari and bought more marigolds but also daisies, zinnias, some low growing Lysimachia,  a full flat of tall skinny Celosia, and a spicy orange Asiatic Lily. He plunked a few pots of  yellow Lantana into the mix and hoped he wasn’t buying very expensive Wabbit food.

A week after he planted the marigolds he noticed a few plants doing poorly. He got on his knees to get close to the ground. The foliage on the plant was gone. All that remained were the stems. Hmmnn! Where have I seen that before? Oh Yes, in my very first garden on Keeler Avenue I planted a line of Marigolds and they looked the same as this one. It took me a lot of research to find the culprit of that mystery, and when I did, I didn’t want to believe it. The garden has many critters, he thought. For every plant I buy a specific bug or predator exists to take it out. Now a new battle begins, and I’m afraid it involves chemical warfare for this terrorist. I can have no mercy on this tribe. I must annihilate them in order for the garden to live on. The formula for this new weapon resides in my study, I must find it quickly.


Slimy the Slug

The Union of Wabbits and Slugs met in the garden late at night after all the house-lights were out. Boko Leporidae, asked for reports on activity in the yard. Aga spoke first. “The Old Man planted Marigolds, I hate them and won’t go near them.”

“Anyone else?”

Slimy spoke up, “I ate a very delicious Marigold this week, and I can’t wait to get back for some more.”

Boko asked,” What are we going to do? There are many rabbits who will not eat Marigolds, but only one slug that will.”

Slimy answered, “I’ll begin recruiting as many of my friends as possible. Once they know there are Marigolds, they will drop the Hostas and come slithering over.”

“Do you think you can get enough help to do the job?”

“Oh yes, but it will take a few weeks to get their attention.” We have so much to eat in this yard it doesn’t pay to move around too much. We’ll just have to multiply in droves to make it happen.”

“Keep up the good work,” said Boko. “Stay observant and explore the yard for species you love and take them down as soon as you can. This guy is an infidel and needs to be taught a lesson. The early chapters of our holy book demands that Infidels be terrorized. While you are doing that I will contact the NSA (Nature Spy Alliance) for more intelligence and search for new members.”

“Hey Chief, what will we call our new union,” asked Ali Bug-Bunee?

How about the Illinois Coalition of Wabbits, Insects, and  Slugs, or “ICWIS” pronounced Icy-Whiz?

“Yeah that sounds catchy.”


. . . .to be continued



The 2011 “Monet Vision”

The 2011 version of the Monet Vision is beginning to take shape. The recent spell of high temperatures combined with the rain has made the garden “pop.”

Last year, I let the perennials do all the work. I didn’t spend a nickel on annuals. This year is the opposite, I am planting purchased material in colors I want to see, and spreading seed to fill in. Here are a few photos from which you may form an impression.

Looking toward the waterfall. as Garden Angel watches.

The first bloom of water lilies.

Several varieties of Heuchera blend with hostas

The Clematis is barely showing.

This show is to continue all summer long.

Choo-Choo Hosta

My friends know that I am into gardens. I have a page dedicated to my Garden hobby. I often show photos of flowers and my garden in my posts. During the winter, I write about my indoor garden.

This weekend, I had occasion to scour through a couple of thousand old photos. I came across some that I had forgotten about. They are of my first real garden adventure. Prestwick is the neighborhood I lived in during another lifetime. The properties were large and there was room to make some nice things happen. There were trees, shrubs, lawn, and flower beds too. Previous to Prestwick, I didn’t really get into gardening, but Barb did. She was the master planter and color coordinator. I helped her with shovel work. When we moved to Prestwick, I got the bug, not for the horticultural aspect but for an aqua-scape. I fell in love with the idea of a pond. I told people that I always wanted to own lakefront property, but couldn’t afford it, so I built my own lake in the back yard. The idea became a reality and the rest developed from there.

I told a fellow engineer at work about my ideas for the pond while we were on a twenty hour flight to Singapore. A few months later he asked me  when I would get started. “Soon,”I replied.

“How soon?”  he asked.

He basically chided me to “s_ _ _  or get off the pot.”

“I can be there tonight with a backhoe.”


I got home from work at my usual six-thirty and had supper with Barb. In the middle of our dinner the dishes began to shake on the table. “What is that?” she asked.

“It is probably Delmar coming to dig the hole.”  Just as I finished those words a blue tractor with a back hoe stopped at the end of our drive.

“What is going on?”

“We are digging the hole for the pond.”

“When were you going to tell me?”


That was the beginning of my love affair with the garden. It took several years to develop a pond and the surrounding landscape. Each year, we changed it to make it look better. I had a new vision of what it should look like after I finished the last one. Of course, each vision built on the last.

During the first five years I installed a little pond with a waterfall spilling into the big pond,. That wasn’t enough, I added a second  waterfall to spill into the little pond. After that, I was unhappy with the water clarity, so I designed a filter. A pump moved pond-water underground to the filter-aerator.  Clean oxygenated water returned  via a stream to the big pond. A little complicated, but it all worked pretty good, and it looked okay too. The fish were very happy and growing along with a variety of bog, and water plants. There was the sound of trickling,and splashing water to soothe the soul.

All the time I was playing hydro-engineer, Barb continued to plant a variety of perennials. She mixed annuals in between to add color and textures. The garden was shady, so she learned to plant only those things that grew well in shade like hosta and Impatiens.

We went to the Farmer’s market in town and discovered a vendor who specialized in hostas. He gave me a history of all the possibilities and varieties of hosta plants. Before long there was a collection of sixty different hosta varieties.

One year we were on a vacation trip to Michigan, We loved to stop in small towns and look at the shops. Out of a hundred shops, maybe one turned me on. This time, we found a shop that sold G-Scale Trains made by the Kalamazoo Toy Train Factory. These trains are commonly used in garden railways.  I never heard of a garden railroad before, but the idea was intriguing. Barb let me buy an 1850’s steam locomotive with a tender, a passenger car and a flatbed. It was on display around our christmas tree for the first few years before I got the bug to add a new feature to the pond;  add the train as an item of interest in the garden. What that translates into is track, and a train. No buildings, or people, just track, plants, and trains. The garden became animated.

It took a complete year to develop the 100 foot road bed with trestle, a bridge, and a tunnel.  The effort was worth it.

Here are some of the photos that started this long-winded piece of personal history.

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Answer to Riddle

As beautiful and graceful as she is,  if  this critter continues to eat my flowers, she will adorn my office wall. This week, I’ve watched her come through the yard. She ate leaves from a mulberry tree. The next day, I saw a pair of them walk through. Since they saw me both times, they skittered off into the wetland. I never saw them eat any  flowers. The next day, I began to notice deer tracks all about the yard, and many of my plants showed signs of deer damage. Allot of mysterious things began to make sense, like a bunch of lobelia plants without buds, Canna Lillie’s with tops missing, and Asiatic Lillie’s with stems clipped.Bambi's Mother

A week ago, my friend Tom called me to come over and dig some hosta plants from his yard. He helped me dig out several varieties. I drove home, split them and planted them around the yard. The plant in this photo is  under the squirrel bungee. Notice how neatly the leaves are clipped from the stems. Next to this one is a different variety that was tasted, and pulled by the roots from the ground.  Evidently, deer do not like the taste of bright green hosta leaves. They love the dark green best. All around the yard, wherever I planted the dark green variety the leaves were snipped from the stems.Hosta Plant Eaten by Bambi's Mom

Last evening, as I watered the flowers, I noticed the Stella Dora  Lilly was different. Earlier in the week the plants were loaded with buds. I looked forward to the color splash. Now, all the buds are gone, and the stems stick up like toothpicks. It’s been so cold this spring that they were late blooming.  Well, they will really be late now. I hope the critter liked ’em.