Spring is arriving in Arkansas. The air is warmer, the sun is brighter, and plants are beginning to sprout and bloom after a more than long cold winter. This is the time of year to get outside and cure the “cabin fever” of winter. One of the best ways to accomplish this is taking a day trip to another part of state. But the real key is to enjoy the beauty along the way.
Along almost any road in the state you can see the color that is provided by the environment. The two-lane roads provide a better quality view for at least two reasons. First the view is not hemmed in with a tree line like the interstate. Second the changes from forest to field to small towns provide a shifting landscape that keeps one looking.
At this time of year we can catch sight of dogwood trees scattered thought the woods flashing their white and pink blossoms. Other species are starting to look like an almost ripening lime as they begin to bud out. Even the weeds have intense colors as they begin a new season of being a pest. Some scientists think that the weeds have developed these colorful displays to discourage people and animals from destroying them. Just look at the color in the ditch along the roadside; reds, blues, whites and variegated blossoms line the edges along the road.
This road trip also provides the opportunity to enjoy the way families have landscaped their yards. Since this is in a rural setting, it is like a slow flashing slide show, first the woods, then a clearing with a house and yard, and the woods. Each house has its own landscape design which provides additional colors to the palette. Depending on the acreage some folks leave their yard natural, others may have developed it for cattle grazing, still others have planted ornamental trees, fruit and nut trees along with tulips, pansies, roses and other decorative flowers.
Those folks who would like to avoid the road trip because they do not have the time or maybe the gas for the car can still enjoy the spring colors in an urban setting. They just need to know where to look. The city is busting with color is you can take the “time to smell the roses”. Many city and county parks have developed the landscape by adding flowering trees and flowers to the park’s walkway and trails. Hospitals have also developed their landscape with blooms of all types of species and intricate designs for the flowerbeds. Shopping malls and parking lots are another source plant color.
In the urban area there will be more ornamental trees and shrubs that in the rural area so the variety of color will be across a large spectrum. The red budtrees will start to bud out with their intense colors. The cherry blossoms flower will provide a color gradient to the red bud trees and help to transition to the Bartlett Pear tree, whose blossoms are globes of white like a boll of cotton ready to harvest.
The winter has been harsh. The environment could be improved, but nature has given us beautiful colors this spring.