08/20/2022 fruit tree check-in and pruning

I was going to trim the granny Smith back carefully to see if any life remained in the tree, but it broke right off at the base, completely dry, in my hands. So that one’s a goner. I’m not sure if it was too much water or too much heat. I don’t think it was too little water, as the soaker hose leaks prodigiously near here.
The north star pie cherry died this year and I checked the trunk- no green left. I think it was irregular watering (boo, me) and heat.
The surecrop pie cherry lost all its leaves a bit later, but I found a bit of green as I pruned back its branches. I think this winter we will move it to where the Granny Smith apple was, and then replace the soil in the corten planters and do native calcareous barrens flowers there instead.
Paula found a magnificent preying mantis and it helped us look at clouds in hope of rain.
We pruned the remaining apple and pear trees back. The first summer ones are supposed to be down to three short branches, so it’s especially sparse looking. This is supposed to help them stay small. The two remaining second-summer ones are trimmed back but more branches left in place. They’ll all get pruned again in the winter for structure and shape.

07/22/2022 our first and only apple

We looked at the William’s pride apple tree today and the apple was missing!! Concern. We found it on the ground.
Sadly, the bottom half was rotted. I forgot that William’s pride is an early variety, so we should have picked sooner before it fell.
However, we cut off the bad part and the rest was quite delicious! A nice texture and magnificent smell!!
Gram was less impressed than we were.

07/17/2022 straw bale sampling and other afternoon torture

We appear to have some potatoes in the straw bales.
The Granny Smith apple is having a hard time. The leaves are turning brittle and possibly sunscalded? We are on mandatory water conservation until the city pump is fixed Monday hopefully so the most I can do is hand water it. However, this apple tree is the most westward facing so maybe it’s just having problems.
Native Texas dandelion in backyard earlier.

07/10/2022 purple

Paula tried one of our Purple Beauty Peppers and found it to be not very sweet, more green bell pepper taste still, and after looking online I think I picked them too early. Needs to be fully, deeply purple. I was worried about sunscald though (see the big tan area on the top one). They’ll still be good to use though.
The William’s Pride apple continues to get a flush of red. It’s hot out, me too!
I thought this grasshopper was really pretty. Not sure I’ve seen one like it before. We have lots of predator insects and birds in the yard so a few grasshoppers are no harm and lots of food for our other wild friends!
Zucchini begins.

06/05/2022 bird nest

Bird’s nest fungi, that is!!!
The Chef noticed these this afternoon. Very excited.
A William’s pride apple!!!
I realized there are multiple kinds of horse crippler cactus. Mom helped me identify this as Echinocactus horizonthalonius (the common and widespread subspecies), based on it having eight ribs. The flower closed in the sunshine today. Apparently it needs a second individual to make fruit, ie it’s self sterile (also known as self incompatible).
Some kind friends brought us a big obsidian rock!
I put it near the baby two leaf senna. I think the black and yellow will look very nice together.
A small pokeberry growing in backyard.
A Texas dandelion accidentally brought from home! Yay!

Thunderstorm

Big wind and rain in front yard.
Big wind and rain in back yard.
North star pie cherry!
Total of 1.34″ on Mesonet!

Strong plants and strong ants

Horsetail just shoves the hard soil out of the way!!
More Stark Surecrop Pie Cherries.
Soaker hose hard at work for the winecups and chamomile.
The hose has a leak so I put the leak over a pot of Maximilian sunflowers.
The Chef spotted ants carrying away this insect. Maybe a soldier fly??
He also spotted this milkweed bug. Hi milkweed bug! All three butterfly milkweeds in the front yard rainbow garden are up, plus the wild milkvines are pushing up everywhere too.

Checking up on fall garden intervention

Faithful blog readers may recall a Garden Intervention last fall. Today we delivered a few more plants (coral honeysuckle and Mexican plum) and checked up on the previous plantings. Here’s one of the showy evening primrose!
Doesn’t have the red spots but I think this is the other showy evening primrose. It’s in the right spot.
Several patches of Maximilian sunflower are doing great.
An interesting mystery plant I haven’t seen in my yard. Please comment if you know what it might be!
Possibly a baby Rudbeckia from the seed mixes that the resident humans have tried?
We made a second visit later in the winter to plant more sunflowers, plus goldenrod and Englemann daisies from Abby. Here’s the goldenrod!
All the Englemann daisies we planted had leaves.
Thank goodness the Doggie is home again!!