Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Wildflowers in the Blue Ridge Mountains

Piper and Martha headed up the Blue Ridge Parkway

Every morning Piper and I head south on the BRP for a long walk. The parkway is closed going south from our house (local traffic is permitted) to repair and replace the stone bridges and railings. It's a quiet time of day and we often round a curve and see deer in the road. I found a book on wildflowers at the used book store in Sparta and now we are trying to identify all the flowers we see. So I thought I would show you some of the common and not so common ones.

This is mountain laurel, mountain ivy or "calico bush", depending on where you grew up. It has just finished blooming and the mountains were covered. It varies in degree of pinkness; some are deep pink and others almost white. The flowers are saucer shaped and I grew up picking them and then one by one letting them float down the creek like little ships!

This is Catawba Rhododendron and it is way more "showy" than the laurels. Purples of all colors bloom out from shiny dark green leaves. This year I saw one rhododendron that was a red - a deep purple red. These are also pretty much finished blooming although I saw one this morning that was just beginning to bloom.
This is a Lady's Slipper and according to the book it is a stemless Lady's Slipper - the leaves being stemless not the flower. I found these in my neighbor's yard and yes, I coveted them! They are in the orchid family. I did not find any of the smaller yellow ones this year - they are not as common as these pink ones.

So tomorrow I will post some pictures of a really unusual plant I found in my yard which is called "fly poison"! Stay tuned....

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