March in the Ozarks was cold. Wild plants tried to grow. Pursuing plants was simple as so few were blooming.
April hinted at spring then sprang into summer. Trees leafed out overnight. Spring wildflowers were buried under rampant summer growth. Pursuing plants became a hopeless task.
Still, the botany project continues. That elusive goal of 2000 plants could be on the moon. This year the goal is to make 400.
Over 200 plant picture arrays were completed last year. Many others are missing one or two pictures. Some of the ones for this year will be trees.
Pursuing plants takes more time than I can spare. The secret is to carry the camera whenever I go out for any reason.
A goat kid gets lost? Take the camera. Find the goat and take a couple of dozen plant pictures.
Fences need checking or fixing? Take the camera. There are plenty of wild plants on the trek out, around the fence and on the trek in. Taking a slightly different route helps too.
This year’s plan is to take one day a week to go out pursuing plants. There are two conservation areas and a state park close enough to make day trips.
To date those plans are on hold. I’m ready. The weather isn’t. It keeps raining on the day I want to go hiking. Digital cameras hate the rain.
The weather has been frustrating. I find a plant, take pictures of it in bloom and estimate when to come back to get a seed pod picture. It rains. Next year’s list now has three plants and two trees on it.
There is one other ploy I must add to my plans. Next year I will have stakes to mark where smaller plants are. Wild pinks are so bright, so vivid, they can’t be missed. The plants are small and easily overwhelmed by taller ones. I missed the seed pods.
Another challenge is coming: the brush cutter. My road is too overgrown and must be cut. This is the worst possible time, but it will come anyway. I have at least two plants to mark so the brush cutter will leave them.
Pursuing plants may be a bigger project than I can ever complete. The pursuit is the true goal.
Many plants are included in Exploring the Ozark Hills. Check out the sample pages.