Williams’ Pride Apples harvest year 2

Last summer we waited too long to harvest our first Williams’ pride apple. This year as soon as they started turning red, I went reading to figure out when they ripen. We have been looking to see the background color go from green to yellow, and several sites said the apple should easily fall off the tree with a tug. This has been working well! I think at first we were tugging too gently as one apple was still rotting on the tree but all the rest have been good since.

This is the only tree I bought from Raintree nursery but I would try them again if I have to replace any trees. It has had the most enthusiastic start of all our young fruit trees. You can see there are still multiple apples left ripening plus a few more in the house.
Good job, Professor Williams! They are sweet and tart and crispy!

07/08/2023 too much for baby yucca

We planted two baby Arkansas yuccas a week or so ago in front of the house. The bigger one (see next picture) is doing fine. this little one, which I am pointing at, has been struggling hard and has about half a leaf remaining. At first I just watered it extra but now I have added a shade and moisture retention barrier on the west side consisting of a wall of sticks and leaves about 2 inches high.
I point at the bigger yucca seedling. It has three skinny blue-green leaves. A stray strawberry leaf is visible in the back.

Weeds to pull or not

I have moved this content to a page as the sticky post was sort of annoying. Go to that page for future updates.

Things I keep thinking are human introduced but they’re actually native

To be added: Purslane, Mollugo, bedstraws, peppergrass, yellow oxalis, Euphorbia maculata, Euphorbia dentata (wild poinsettia), Melothris pendula, Cynanchum laeve (milkvine), little barley

Plants that are human introduced but not a big problem in undisturbed areas

Armeria serpyllifolia, thyme-leaved sandwort. Human introduced but not aggressive invader. This one was an accidental import from TX.

An Introduced geranium vs a native geranium. I’ve only seen these two in our yard so far but there are several other species in Oklahoma.

Maple that blows in from the neighbor’s yard. I am not sure of the species but there’s nothing locally native here in that genus (Acer).

To be added: chickweeds, henbit, deadnettle, dandelions, shepherds purse, white clover, yellow clover, crepe myrtle, Sherardia arvensis

Human-introduced species that can disrupt the local ecosystem aggressively

Fish mint. Weird one! Leaves almost violet like before blooming and now I can see they are less round and have touches of red. Plus it smells strongly when crushed. After finding some possible epazote in the backyard, I wonder if a few owners back at this house were into growing a lot of culinary fun!
Invasive dayflower. I wrote up how to distinguish it from the native perennial in another post. I am not sure how invasive it is outside disturbed areas, but it does seem to crowd out and overgrown things like white avens in my yard, so we’ve been actively removing it.

To be added: privet, Bermudagrass, King Ranch bluestem (aka KR grass), salsify, some brome grasses, some Poa grasses, some Palsalpum grasses, crabgrass, autumn clematis, that one aggressive sedge

Native species but no thanks

Stickers/sandburs/goatheads are native but they hurt.. They like sand. if we had a bigger land I would leave them alone outside our paths and main dog area as I’m sure something needs them. I’m not keeping them in our small space.

To be added: trumpet vine (as with the trees, I don’t have enough room), baby walnut trees, baby oak trees, sticky seed pod legumes, bidens (sometimes) and white avens (sometimes), poison ivy

06/14/2023 some rearrangements

I moved several pots of flowering plants to where they can drop seeds and also keep the dog from trampling the Baptisia australis in her borkenings at the neighbor dogs. I also moved pavers to try a new human path.
I planted the silverleaf nightshade and fern acacia too. This let me rearrange the pots here in a more tidy and compact arrangement.

06/10/2023 baby cactus repotting

Paula felt the baby Coryphantha sulcata cacti were not getting good drainage in their sprouting trays.
Gram helped by laying in the plant window, taking over Shackleton’s spot temporarily.

05/29/2023 quarter inch rain

One of our four new prairie larkspurs has bloomed!!
I took several angles as I was excited. Three of four plants tried to bloom but their flower stalks got knocked over or snipped off by something toothy.
The showy milkweed in the side yard (north of the rainbow garden) is coming up!
Our three kinds of milkweed are growing!! The lower left one is a green milkweed. The two biggest plants are whorled milkweed (A. verticillata) from Abby. The one remaining viridiflora is not in the picture.

Dayflower identification redux

Last summer I made an attempt at identifying the dayflowers (Commelina species) in our yard and the only ones I found were the invasive, human-introduced Commelina communis. However, Abby gave us some native Commelina erecta and this year we noticed some of the dayflowers had thinner leaves like on the ones she gave us. So I decided to take a look again.

It seems like for our yard, the broad vs narrow leaves are pretty indicative. So we’re going to continue pulling the broad leaved invasive ones. The Flora of North Central Texas indicates the native C. erecta has three varieties and one is narrow leaved, so the leaves probably don’t work in all regions. Once some of the dayflowers go to seed I will check to make sure they also have the smooth seeds that C. erecta has. I’m pleased to see we have more of the native species than I expected.

Even though the two species look very similar, the native species will have existing ecological and evolutionary relationships with the other plants and animals and microbes here. The human-introduced species may or may not have those. To be a good neighbor, I want to make sure our yard provides maximal food and shelter to local species, which means keeping more plants with those existing relationships.

05/16/2023 promising candidates

This seedling is not something I recognize so I’m hoping it could be Bluehearts from Mom. I left other volunteer plants in as that species is hemiparasitic and does better with a host.
The winecups are really taking off!! Super pleased.
New mystery in the prairie!

05/06/2023 lots growing and blooming

First tepary bean up along trellis!
Right in the middle of this picture is the brown coating of a green milkweed being pushed up as it takes root!
This is also probably a green milkweed, and it has two tiny adult leaves starting to push out between the seed leaves!
These seedlings are in the same pot so I think they are also green milkweeds.
Briar finds examination of seedlings boring but at least we are outside.
I’m not sure why but my hopeful globemallow suddenly died.
Here is a small seedling in the globemallow container. Maybe it is one? There are a lot of Euphorbias popping up too.
The prairie parsley is blooming! I saw a potter wasp on it but didn’t get a picture as I was distracted by a baby cottontail bunny running away!
I planted two species in this pot – small native Hypericum and an unknown pod with tiny seeds inside from a dappled light post oak/blackjack oak forest. Maybe agalinis? It bears watching.
The Venus looking-glass is blooming in the rock garden!
Another plant with narrower toothed leaves, milky sap, hairs on the veins, and square stems is growing with the Venus looking glass. Not sure what it will turn out to be! Edit 05/2023: another type of Venus looking glass!