01/16/2023 creating a special caliche/barrens habitat in containers

Visited home last weekend and Mom and Dad kindly let us take home some calcareous soil from an already disturbed area – the “lake”.
I had planned to shovel the soil but they kindly offered the much easier method of front-end loader. 🙂 We did scrape in a few small little bluestems and other plants that I have kept!
Since the soil was heavy, I carefully moved it into a bucket I could lift, and also searched for those little plants I mentioned got scraped in.
Paula and I put careful layers of soil and water to get it compact in the planters by the front door.
Paula smoothed them nicely and added water.
You can see the plants I found in the background, sitting on the porch. This is the final picture with a dusting of cactus/succulent/citrus potting soil on top.
Shackleton helped me sort the calcareous soil/barrens specialist seeds that Mom gave me.
Here are all the seeds in place with little markers! I also put one each little bluestem in the pot, a possible Oldplainsman in each, and a mystery round-leafed green plant. We’ll see what they become!
I did the two planters symmetrical but mirror images since they are on either side of the porch. Fingers crossed we get some sprouts in the spring!

10-29-2022 fall things continue

We got another package of bare roots from Prairie Moon. One rattlesnake master (since we have one already, maybe they will make seeds), one Camassia angusta- they only had one left), and several Ohio spiderworts.
Up front, the pineapple sage is blooming.
Two slightly different looking seedlings in the Penstemon cobea pot. I’ll keep an eye on them.
Winter greens looking good.
The purple Salvia greggii are really blooming right now.
The showy milkweed seems to be shutting down for the fall with some yellow colors.
I had to use one of the Chef’s big food grade buckets to hold all the fruit from the 17 lb watermelon from a few weeks ago when I cut it open today.

10/16/2022 after 3/4” rain

Heath asters from TX have started blooming.
I think these may be sand lovegrass seedlings. I put them in a lot of pots with native flower seeds as a potential nurse plant.
This is the Muhlenbergia schreberi grass from Abby. It has a fun common name. I wanted to ensure I don’t lose it or mistake it for something like a skinny bermudagrass in the shade.
This is the planter of soil from Jeanne that had a big patch of annual Sedum nuttallii. There are a bunch of sedum-looking seedlings but also plenty of other interesting looking babies too!!
I seeded these cowpen daisies pretty late and didn’t know if they’d come up until next year. Instead, they seem to have noticed the declining day length and have made the world’s tiniest cowpen daisy blooms. This is normally a medium size plant!
At least one Carolina snailseed root from Abby has produced new leaves.

09/22/2022 afternoon after work

The backyard sunflowers are quite magnificent at this point.
I don’t see any in this picture, but I saw several bumblebees up on the flowers.
The Salvia azurea are really doing well.
I have a new bunch of Indiangrass sprouting and blooming!
The little bluestem is blooming too. This clump has gotten quite happy in its second or third year now.
Jeanne, Abby, and Mom have been kindly helping me over text to confirm my accidental imports of non native and invasive King Ranch bluestem or “KR grass”. As they bloom and get identified, I have been pulling them.
I’m also continuing to work on pulling the annual, invasive Commelina communis. Unlike the native perennial dayflower, its roots are very shallow.

09/05/2022 new dayflower!

Abby has found the perennial and native dayflower in her yard and kindly shared some. It has very different roots than the non native annual one!
Earlier in the day, Shackleton supervised while Paula watered baby cacti.
Careful pouring to wet the soil around the babies.
“What is this fuss? Who opened my curtain??”

08/07/2022 bulb time

Wild Hyacinth bulbs arrived in the mail yesterday!
We planted the three bulbs in a little crescent along the edge of this drier strawberry/honeyberry bed, and reinforced the dirt berm to trap a little extra water. Prairie Moon Nursery says they like medium-dry at most, but will generally do okay if it’s wet during the bloom time (which is usually our rain times).
New earwig… We saw it moving around as we dug into the hard packed dry soil! It was somewhere between 2-6″ down. Just as bone dry the whole way. It swam across the water mud as we watered in the new bulbs. Hoping it might be a native one but waiting on what inaturalist or friends say.

06/02/2022

New book in the mail! The Social Wasps of North America by Chris Alice Kratzer. It looks very useful.
Awards for bravery all around tonight. Shacks walked right past Briar and she stayed put.
Purple coneflower finally opening up!
Ironweed is budding, seems early??
This is one of two dill seedlings in the herb bed.
Pretty sure now that this is the Mexican sage from Judy.
Whoa, standing cypress about to bloom!
The just-planted two leaf senna doing okay.
The older two leaf senna seems to have gotten nibbled. I’ll have to consider if I should put some Vaseline around it against earwigs or a wire cage over it maybe for rabbits.
A non native moss rose (Portulaca). Dog behind.

05/30/2022 holiday Monday

A megachilid bee on Gaillardia pulchella (blanket flower or firewheel).
I repotted the lemon balm into a clay pot so I could use its plastic one. In the upper left I also put one winecup in the very long tall head shaped pot. The root system was starting to escape the sprouting cells so I should probably plant its friends soon too.
I needed a lot of medium to large plastic pots to put showy evening primrose (here in middle) and Maximilian sunflower (next pic) in actual soil.
These are the Maximilian sunflowers I’ve been pulling from the prairie area, where the main plant we moved was last winter. I was storing them to give away in a tub of water and soil, but they were looking sad, so I figured it was time for potting. There’s so many they are crowded, but whoever takes them can separate them out. They seem very, very hardy.
While I had my hands dirty I repotted the ashy sunflower (Helianthus mollis). I figure it can get much bigger in this pot, and then we can plant it in late summer to overwinter in its final location (to be decided).
Someone (tail end pictured…) Kept wanting to bark at our fine feline friends in the plant window. So I made it less convenient.