This is the Blue Ridge Parkway Wildflower report for mid-August 2012. Many visitors take this end-of-the-summer opportunity to get up on the Parkway before school begins, and escape the sultry weather of the lower elevations.
Late summer is perhaps not the time when visitors’ interest turn to wildflowers but for many, the late summer and early fall blooms are the favorites. So visit the Parkway this time of year and decide for yourself.
Any of the fields and meadows of the Parkway are adorned this time of year with tall Joe-Pye Weed (light-colored and purple flowering). Queen Anne’s Lace, Coreopsis, Black-Eyed Susan, and the bright orange Butterfly Weed are common in most places.
The tall, bright purple New York Ironweed is especially common through the Plateau District, south of Roanoke through Doughton Park. From Linville Falls to Crabtree Falls—reports of Jewel Weed, Ironweed, and Queen of the Meadow are common. Specific reports that may be worth checking out include nice displays of Batchelor Button at Grandview Overlook Milepost 281, Ironweed around Milepost 296, Mullein flowers are scattered on the sides of the Parkway between Mileposts 301 and 305, and lots of Queen Anne’s Lace between Milepost 292 and 294.
Tall Bellflower is common between Milepost 301 and 303 along the Linn Cove Viaduct Trail and the Figure Eight Trail at the Moses Cone House.
The Parkway is a beautiful place to spend your summer but it’s not like most other roads so take in some special precautions as necessary while driving. Above all, slow down, take your time, and use the overlooks to let traffic that backs up behind you get by. 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.