Here in the latter half of September we are beginning to see some of the tell-tale signs of fall. The days are getting shorter, the mornings cooler, and a few of the trees are starting to get a hint of fall color. The Parkway is still predominately green, but a few trees are starting to turn at the highest elevations. We are still a few weeks away from significant color changes, with the peak commonly coming in early- to mid-October.
Many of the common late summer varieties of our beautiful blooming flowers can still be seen. Typically in late September the fields and meadows will be filled with Black-Eyed Susans, Joe-Pye Weed, Queen Anne’s Lace, Ironweed, Goldenrod, and in the wetter areas, Cardinal Flower.
In North Carolina between the Boone/Blowing Rock area and the Minerals Museum, Black-eyed Susan, Joe-Pye Weed, Foxglove, Jewelweed, a variety of Asters, Wild Basil, Queen Anne’s Lace, Heal-all, Sunflowers, Virgin’s Bower, Lady’s Thumb, Morning Glory, Coneflower, Oxeye Sunflower, Yarrow, Bull Thistle, Goldenrod, White Snakeroot, Ironweed, Gentian, Red Clover, Spotted Knapweed, Pokeberries, Daisy Fleabane, and Sourwood are all blooming.
The Craggy Gardens area reports blooming White Snakeroots, Purple Aster, Goldenrod, Yarrow, Jewelweed, Bull Thistle, Black-eyed Susan, and Evening Primrose.
From Asheville south towards Mount Pisgah, Goldenrod, Joe-Pye Weed, Phlox, Jewelweed, White Snakeroot, Angelica, Gentian, Pink Turtlehead, Heal-all, and lots of Asters are all in bloom.
The Hawthorne and Mountain Ash trees are also showing off their stunning red berries at the higher elevations.
The Parkway is a beautiful place to take a drive this time of year, but it is not like most other roads, so take some special precautions while driving. Above all, slow down and take your time. Use the overlooks to let traffic that backs up behind you go by. Enjoy the view, but watch the road.