Here at the end of June Parkway meadows are filled with the beautiful blooms of summer that remind us that any time of year or season the Parkway is a wonderful place for those who love wildflowers.
Purple Catawba Rhododendron has just about finished its bloom this year except for a few remaining at higher elevations. Rosebay Rhododendron, a much larger variety with white to cream colored or pink blossoms, is coming out in many places right now. Rosebay is especially noticeable in Virginia south of Roanoke to the North Carolina state line.
In Virginia through the Peaks of Otter area look for Milkweed, Yarrow, Daisy Fleabane, Ox-Eye Daisy, tall Coreopsis, Queen Anne’s Lace, Day Lily, and Black-Eyed Susan. Many of those same species are reported around the Blue Ridge Music Center near Galax, Virginia. Look for Butterfly Weed, Rosebay Rhododendron, Black- Eyed Susan, Yarrow and Ox-Eye Daisy.
In the High Country around Grandfather Mountain in North Carolina, Rosebays are bursting forth throughout along with Ox-Eye Daisy, Buttercup and Black-Eyed Susan. Around the Moses Cone Manor look for St. John’s Wort, Elderberry, White Hydrangea, Spiderwort, Fire Pink and Milkweed.
The Rough Ridge up on the slopes of Grandfather also has Galax, Fly Poison, Fetterbush and Mountain Ash. Michaux’s Saxifrage is blooming up on Beacon Heights. South of Asheville in the Pisgah area Fire Pink is common and Mountain Laurel is still in bloom in some places. Flame Azalea in its variety of yellow to orange to deep reds is very common.
The Parkway is a beautiful place to spend your summer but it’s not like most other roads so take some time and precautions while driving. Slow down and enjoy the view, use the overlooks to let traffic that may back up behind you get by. And as we often tell visitors, enjoy the view, but watch the road.
Regular updates for color reports will be posted to our web site home page. You can also use the National Park Service information line at 828-298-0398 to keep informed of what’s being reported on the Parkway.