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.

08/19/2022

I tried cantaloupe in my oatmeal this morning, hoping it would be magical like peaches, but I think they’re best eaten cold and alone. The melon, not the person doing the eating.
Gram is too tall to stretch under this chair.
He came out from under the chair to stretch, then went back under the chair to continue observing his Doggie.
Two new blooms on the two leaf senna!!
I think one of the juniperleaf cuttings had some nearly ripe seeds on it and they sprouted!!! I kept them in standing water in the shade for the first few days as a cutting, then moved them to a dry spot but still in the shade, where they are now. Still watering every day. This is additionally interesting because the seeds I collected from the original juniperleaf in the winter have not sprouted anywhere I put them. I was reading today in Nokes’ germination book that sometimes fresher seeds don’t have such an impermeable seed coat.
A few little grasses in the backyard where I sprinkled the native grass mix from Plants of the Southwest! The mix was blue grama and buffalograss.

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!

08/13/2022 walking around

A mystery yellow composite flower along the sidewalk. Update: Mom and Abby have identified as camphorweed, probably Heterotheca subaxillaris. Camphorweeds are native.
Leaves and stem of the yellow flowered plant.
This picture is from yesterday (08/12/2022) but there are lots of Grindelia getting ready to bloom near the railroad tracks. A few had opened up by today.
I was also pleased to find 2-3 Scarlet Pea plants along the sidewalk near the Grindelia yesterday. They were still blooming today.
Downstream from the OU duck pond there is a somewhat hidden bridge and there was a native hibiscus blooming near it.
A few tiny annual coreopsis were in the field near the creek. Before it got mowed this spring there were a lot more and taller.
It was too hot. We gave Briar and ourselves some ice cubes upon returning.
She has taken to resting her chin on her ice cubes after getting a drink from her water bowl.

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.

07/18/2022

The Missouri fluttermill primroses just keep going! I’m wondering if it’s that I’m giving the new Justicia pilosella behind them water? It’s usually just a cup or two.
A mystery squash has emerged.
The green basils are getting sunscald on their leaves, I think. The amethyst basil are shaded a bit by the mealy blue sage and look better, but also wilt more often between watering.

07/10/2022 eeeee!!

Five Coryphantha sulcata from Montana!!!
Eleven in this tray.
You can see the roots!!
Another one with roots.
“What are you doing to my favorite window perch?”
Five in the last tray.
A few here were somehow upside down. We’ll see if they make it!
One upside down in a pot with plastic wrap. I think the food containers with clear lids are the way to go. Seven days from planting to sprouting. About 50 seeds, 23 up so far.

06/23/2022

The second Coryphantha sulcata seedling seems to have died, but the original is getting longer.
Another two spotted bumblebee (Bombus bimaculatus) visited the mealy blue sage today!
There was only one but I took a lot of angles. You can see the two spots if you zoom in.
In flight you get the best view of spots.
I liked the pollinating wasp zooming through in this picture.
Baby mantis!
I believe this is a baby red yucca, as that’s what I planted here, and it seems too sturdy to be grass.
A big ol mydas fly in the backyard!!
The native clematis likes its new sunnier spot about 20 ft to the west. It already has two or three new leaves!
I weeded the strawberry/honey berry bed but got called in for dinner when there was still a patch left. Maybe tomorrow.
I found a second pale zig zaggy spider in the backyard. Looking at it closer, I think it’s the wrong pattern and shape for Argiope aurantica, the usual banana spider.
Filling up the bird bath intrigued the dog.
African blue basil has flowers!
One of the many marigolds in the raised beds (we mixed the old seedheads and plants in over the winter) is beginning to flower!
The corn is going to town! A vaquero bean is flowering!
A fine little bell pepper!!
Cooling off after gardening with the mysterious Paper Protozoan. Note the hairy flagellum sticking out.

06/18/2022 onion time

Oops. We disturbed this big beautiful toad.
The toad hopped over our onions to nestle down under some bean plants. We turned the soaker hose on after we were done harvesting to make sure any other plants we disturbed weren’t too upset, and hopefully that will keep the toad safely into the cooler night too.
Three kinds of onion!
The shadiest bed has Inca pea beans planted over Thomas Laxton sugar peas which we removed as they were getting mildewy. Now the pea beans have room to grow.
Our supervisor chose a shady, cool corner.
Left are the dried Thomas Laxton sugar peas for next season. To the right are Oregon sugar pod II (the original kind I had) from earlier this spring. I am going to bleach them to prevent transfer of the mildew to next season. We also put the plant waste in the city yard waste bins as their composting gets much hotter than ours.