This is the Blue Ridge Parkway wildflower report for July the 18th. We think of spring as the time for wildflowers along the Blue Ridge, but for many folks, summer is the best season of all as meadows of blooms brighten the Parkway experience around every turn.
On the far northern portions of the Parkway, reports of Buttercups, Columbine, and Goat’s Beard are common. This time of year in the Blue Ridge Mountains would not be complete without orange Daylilies, Queen Anne’s Lace, Goldenrod, Black-eyed Susan, and Common Milkweed. These are very common on the northern sections of the Parkway and in practically all of the districts as well. If you’re on the mountain farm in Humpback Rocks, you’ll also notice Ox-eye Daisy, Deptford Pink, and Butter and Eggs.
Look for the bright orange Butterfly Weed, Sunflowers, and Goldenrod as you move further south through the James River area. Yarrow and Coreopsis are among the mix through the Peaks of Otter and down into the Roanoke Valley. On the high plateau, which includes Rocky Knob and Mabry Mill, Rosebay Rhododendron (white or pinkish) is in bloom along with many of the above mentioned species.
The adjacent farmland and meadows in this agricultural area contain fields that are full of Queen Anne’s Lace, Black-eyed Susan, Sunflower, Deptford Pink, and Ox-eye Daisy. The bright orange Butterfly Weed stands out as well. Around the Blue Ridge Music Center, lots of the same with fields of Butterfly Weed, Ox-eye Daisy, Black-eye Daisy, Queen Anne’s Lace are common. Look for the Virginia rose along the trails near the music center.
Remember that elevation plays a key role in what’s blooming in the mountains so it isn’t a surprise to hear that Fire Pink, a spring bloomer, is still in view in some of the high elevations in North Carolina. Starting at Crabtree Meadows and heading toward Mt. Mitchell, Rosebay Rhododendron, Turk’s-cap Lily, Indian Cucumber Root, and many of the previously mentioned flowers can be found.
Turk’s-cap is also beginning to bloom at the Craggy Gardens picnic area along with Sundrops showing on the rock faces along the road. Further south in high elevations south of Asheville, Rosebay Rhododendron is in bloom as well as Phlox that is showing very nicely in the area.
The Blue Ridge Parkway has a number of built in distractions: bicycles, wildlife, beautiful views. Keep your eyes on the road as you head down America’s favorite drive.
Weekly updates at 828-298-0398 will keep you informed of what’s being reported throughout the Parkway.
Have a safe parkway visit! Enjoy the view, but watch the road.