Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Latest gardening challenge in the Ozarks

Such a busy springtime in the Ozarks this year. Weather has been the watch word of this season with such monster tornadoes in too-close-for-comfort, neighboring Oklahoma. I spent half my time hoping the storms wouldn't come here and the other half hoping they would, with all the rain and  none of the accompanying fury, of course. 

Here in north-central Arkansas, we haven't really gotten much rain. There been an inch here and an inch there, but nothing that will make up for the hideous deficit we carried over from last year's drought. Last weekend we got 1.75 inches, which was quite welcome. It was the remnants of the storm that blew through Oklahoma and drenched most of Missouri. I guess we were lucky to get as much as we did. It usually just blows on by. 

This morning, Brandon Beck of KY3 News, reported that most of the station's Springfield, MO viewing area was far ahead--with upwards of 13 inches--over last year's rainfall totals. The area where I live however, was not even an inch above last year. That isn't good, since last year was desert-like. 

Still, I can't complain too much. This Spring, while not swimming weather, has been gorgeous. It started out rather cool, but the days of late have been nothing short of perfect. The garden is growing; flowers are blooming; I've renewed an interest in the color of my thumb--I'm hoping for bright green to match the woods during a heavy downpour.

Gardening in Arkansas is not without its challenges, even in the best of times. The biggest challenge this year is what to do about the Mock Orange. 

Mock Orange

Mock Orange blossoms

We have two of them, purchased and planted at the same time. Only one has ever bloomed. It is pictured above. It filled the front yard and porch with a fragrance that is so sweet it should be bottled. The other bush, which is not pictured has been relegated to nothing but a bunch of sticks. So far, it is still alive.It never has bloomed. This year, it was infested with tiny worms that ate all the leaves. Hungry buggers; had I not intervened they would have completely defoliated it. I refuse to spray poison, so I squirted them with the heavy stream of the hose. That worked for a while, but they they must have run back the moment my back was turned. The next day, the leaves and branches were loaded again. I sprayed them with the hose again. Only this time, I did a very heavy pruning as well. I hope the plant lives. Burning is my plan for the pests. I suspect they are sawfly larvae, although I'm not exactly sure. All I know is, they are the enemy.