Where am I? Ozark Edge is my rocky, hilly patch of land in Arkansas. It’s located in the foothills of the Ozark Mountains just within the southeastern boundary of the Salem Plateau. This map shows the Salem Plateau within the Ozark Highlands. There are a variety of habitats on my property. There are Woodlands, Mesic Woods, Glades, Open Fields and even some low Wetland areas. One of the things I like most about the variety, is that it allows me to find and follow a lot of different types of wildflowers through the seasons.
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The oldest surface rocks in the Ozark Highlands are found in the Salem plateau. They are mostly dolomite and limestone with some shale and sandstone. Whatever they are, they are beautiful. Some just barely peek up through the earth and lay massive underneath. Others jut up from the ground. They are often moss covered and may have ferns growing in tiny crevices. Some of them sparkle in the sunshine or have little crystals. It’s amazing to see how the trees coexist with the rocks. The trees seem to pull the rocks up from the ground as they grow. When the trees fall, you will often see rocks tied up in the tree’s roots. Take a look at some of these winterscape pictures to see what I mean.
Weather- In the winter, there is the occasional snow or ice storm. But there are also plenty of days that are warm- in the 50′s and even low 60′s. Spring is sneaky here. You’ll have a stretch of very warm days and then it will be freezing again. The freeze/thaw cycle can be rough on plants and we definitely have years where one flower or another gets “bit” by a late frost. It gets quite hot and very humid here in the summer and we can go long stretches without rain during the hottest months. The variation in rainfall and temperature makes wildflower watching very interesting, because it changes so much year to year. One year the spring flowers will be fantastic, but not the summer flowers or vice versa. The summer of 2007 brought an unusually prolonged drought. This caused a lot of the late season flowers to either not bloom at all or have very stunted blooms. Spring and Fall in the Ozark foothills are special seasons. The awakening of the spring wildflowers and budding leaves is definitely food for the soul and is probably my favorite time of year. But the colors of the fall leaves is also wonderful. There are yellow hickories, multi-colored sassafras, red oak and many other gorgeous colors. Early spring and late fall are about brisk days with lots of sunshine providing ample opportunities to hike through the woods.
The USDA hardiness plant zone puts us in Zone 7. The average last freeze in the spring occurs around the first of April and the average first freeze of fall occurs around the first of November.