12/2022 backlog of infrastructure and little babies

Yesterday, 12/31, I finally glued on the rain barrel cap holders that the Chef 3D printed for me! I used epoxy after cleaning both surfaces with ethanol.
Paula got solar powered outdoor lights for Christmas and has used them to make the path to the compost visible! Edit: thanks to Mom for inquiring if we can turn the lights out. Yes we can! It’s important not to pollute the dark with more light than we use at any given moment.
I am hoping these tiny seedlings are the annual bluets that sometimes grow in this part of the yard. Keeping an eye on them.
A tinier potential annual bluet seedling next to the comparatively large wild geraniums. These two pictures were 12/31/2022.
12/28/2022, the Ratibida columnifera rosettes survived the big cold!
Two Verbena halei rosettes also exist and made it!
Finally, and very thrilling, two potential Penstemon oklahomensis seedlings! They don’t appear to be hairy leaves like some other common seedling volunteers. Stay tuned.
Shackleton enjoyed a leashed walk in the same excellent 12/28 weather.
Jeanne kindly sent us some Salaginella riddellii- Riddell’s Spike-Moss. We put the biggest chunk in the rainbow garden (in green of course) on 12/25.
We put a smaller piece of the spike moss in the cactus planter.
12/25 was so nice we also moved some volunteers. This is the big root of a poke berry! We moved those along the back fence where another pokeberry lives. We also moved several ampelopsis from random spots in the yard to along the south fence trellis.
A blackjack oak acorn with a sprout on it! We planted this exciting find (12/24) into a pot on 12/25. Fingers crossed for a spring sprout.
Judy gave us an adorable toad house! I have placed it near the veggie beds. Please come eat our earwigs, toad friends.
12/24 checking the pot containing Sedum nutallii from Jeanne. The sedums seem to have made it along with Verbena rosettes (V. Halei??) and other intriguing volunteers.
Going somewhere! Wow!! Happy briar in the car.
On 12/24 we visited the lake at Lexington WMA. This seasonal creek was frozen solid! The lake was too. Briar wears her hunter orange.
After the deep freeze, only the top tips of the recently transplanted rosemary got frozen. They were pressed down by the sheets. But the sheets protected the rest of the plant!

12/10/2022 finally turning

The greens are doing well.
Seedlings are in the raised bed but I’m not sure what they are. Hoping for field violets?
The apple trees still are mostly green but one pear tree is turning. The three pictures below of leaves turning yellow and orange are from the one pear tree in front.
Later we walked the dog at Saxon park. Lots of rabbit’s tobacco sprouting.

09/24/2022 seedlings and fall flowers

Wild tepary bean has a flower!
Mystery seedling. I put a lot out here of many species so it gets to be a surprise unless someone recognizes it.
I suspect this is an Illinois bundleflower as I distributed a lot of them.
The big leafy seedling looks neat and is accompanied by a spotted euphorbia and maybe a blurry lyre leaf sage?
An almost metallic little moth on the goldenrod from Abby (probably S. canadensis). Mom saw a similar one recently at home on frostweed.
Possibly a Ceratina bee on the mistflowers.

08/14/2022 Ruby Grant park morning

Our first Salvia azurea of the season blooming!
The first of many Helianthus annuus this morning.
A lone Maximilian sunflower starting to bloom. The rest don’t even have buds.
Snow on the mountain was magnificent today!
We went on a new part of the trail today and encountered some highly concerning Art.
“It has a lot of eyes Mom”
The little mosaic seats are also suspect.
“Why do you humans keep doing things to me”
“Ok I guess it’s ok”
We also came to terms with the big Art.
Possibly Amorpha, false-indigo.
Soapberry! Thanks Abby for the identification.
Another H. Annuus.
A beautiful Grindelia bud.
More sunflower (H annuus)
A differential grasshopper snacking on the sunflower.
We found a magnificent patch of silver leaf nightshade!
We had Briar pose among the silver leaf nightshades.
Possibly a Physalis?
Maybe non-blooming camphorweed?
Possibly Asclepias verticillata (thanks Mom!)
An aster starting to bloom!
Unknown flower that hasn’t bloomed yet.
Possibly Cardiospermum, balloon vine? From reading, it seems to be native but disliked for clogging farm equipment.
The balloon vine flower.
Ruby Grant park considerately has a dog level water fountain at the parking lot!

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.

Physalis questions for the audience

Plant A: the volunteer. It has generated two fruits and Paula wants to eat them. I want to know what this plant is first. Help me not let Paula get sick.
Close up of plant A leaf.
Close up of Plant A young flower. A more mature flower a few months ago (see below) has more brown/purple on petals but not I think on the anthers?
The north central Texas flora keys out to two main groups by hair type. These, on Plant A, appear to be simple, and possibly retrorse (curving down). No hair joints eliminates P. heterophylla.
Plant A: the leaf and the two fruits. The fruit calyxes are five angled.
I zoomed in on a picture of the previous flower, same plant A. I believe the anthers are yellow. I would like help with that, as it’s been a while since I’ve tried to confirm anthers. Yellow anthers and simple hairs get it to P. longifolia or P. virginiana in the NC TX Flora. The leaves for both species are are ovate to lanceolate, which seems inconsistent with Plant A. Longifolia also is said to often have purple stems. This one has stripes but not fully purple. The NC TX Flora says these two are possibly toxic. The new Foraging Texas book says all the Physalis are fine. Other sources claim virginiana’s fine or may need a frost. One of the sources is this book about Physalis and relatives so I may get it via interlibrary loan.
This is the underside of Plant B. Plant B should be a cultivar of Physalis pruinosa based on its location and what I have planted there. It has similar simple, possibly retrorse hairs. Plant B is not flowering yet this year. I had a really hard time finding flower pictures for P. pruinosa, as most people sort of reasonably are interested in the fruit. It does appear to have yellow anthers.
Plant C. This is from a probably perennial wild Physalis (I have never planted any Physalis that made it to fruiting in the backyard). Its hairs are distinctly stellate. None of the individuals in the cluster of 2-4 Plant C individuals were flowering, but the hairs seem to narrow it to P. cinerascens or P. mollis. I think P. cinerascens seems more likely on leaf shape, but both are edible and neither have simple leaf hairs.
Plant C leaf (left) and plants A (upper right leaf, bigger) and B (lower right leaf, smaller – it’s from a younger plant), and plant A fruits.

So, am I missing anything obvious here? Is this identifiable? Have any of you consumed P. longifolia or P. virginiana and lived?

Update: Mom showed me a few other keys and they get it to P. virginiana too. None of the keys contain P. pruinosa. P. virginiana is also a perennial while P. pruinosa is an annual, so maybe next year will also provide a clue.

06/27/2022

A paper wasp flies to mealy blue sage.
Using the two new wasp books, we narrowed it down to three species of Polistes: dorsalis, bellicosus, or fuscatus.
I’ll look this wasp up tomorrow in the pollinator wasps book.
It was going in and out of the hollow dead branch.
The native black currant is ripening!
Pizza with garden basil, garden onions, garden garlic.