Thursday, June 30, 2011
Of a North Carolina mountain top.
We went to see the Catawba Rhododendrons at Craggy Gardens. We were on time. The rhododendrons had bloomed a full two weeks earlier than normal. All that was left was a spattering of Mountain Laurel, Kalmia latifolia.
Now that did not mean we could not go for a little hike to see what else there was to see like compact trees clinging to rocks at close to 6000 feet in elevation.
And a rock shelf holding nothing but lilies, most likely a big patch Clintonia borealis reaching its southern territorial limits way up high on a North Carolina mountain top.
Around a bend in the ridge line on the very same mountain was this ethereal and unusual forest lawn. I like it and have to wonder how did nature do that. Should I try this at home? I don't think it has to be mowed.
The high spot seems to have the same lull in bloom between the finish of the rhododendrons and the beginning of the summer wildflower season as our low spot, but there were a few blooms to be found. I'm not sure what this is. It looks suspiciously like wild strawberry, but the leaves are less serrated, glossy and leathery and the bloom is more profuse.
Patches of the tiny Houstonia caerulea, Bluets, lined the trail in places.
The Phlox carolina had started to bloom.
Maybe next year the timing will be right to see the heath balds of Craggy Gardens ablaze in color with the Catawba Rhododendron.
Still, not a bad way to spend a nice summer day.