Another Weekend in the Mountains

Last weekend in the mountains of North Carolina I spent a delightful afternoon walking back woods roads and following a rushing stream. The streams in the area were running strong after a series of heavy rains.


In poking around the woods I came across a number of wild flowers and other fascinating vegetation. Some I could identify, but most remained unknown but no less beautiful.

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These little buttercups (left) were growing wherever there was a bit of sunshine touching the surface. The tiny flowers on the right were fascinating for the intricacy of their petals.

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The white flowering shrub along the creek is probably a doublefile viburnum. I saw a number of them along the creek, too many I think to have been planted there on purpose. The leaves on the tree at right suggest a dogwood, but the bud form is one I had never seen. Tom Nunnenkamp, a friend and grower of some 27 dogwoods in his garden in Charlotte, helped me identify it as probably Cornus alternifolia, a species indigenous to the North Carolina mountains.

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One of many ferns in the floor of the woods. The “Buck private’s stripes” on the leaves at right make identification of Persicaria quite obvious.

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I was excited to find numerous instances of Jack in the Pulpit (left) and trillium on the woods floor. I would welcome help in identifying the trillium.

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There are other things growing in the woods. At left, catching moss in the ageless process of enveloping a large stone. At right, a colony of lichen creating a pattern on a stump.

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The woods and steep walls rising from the streams are filled with native rhododendron. Their buds were beginning to swell. They are a bit behind this year, probably due to a very cold winter, even for this elevation, and a subsequent later spring. On my last visit to this area at this same time of year, the rhodies were blooming everywhere. A last touch of blue (right) caught my eye and, on closer examination, revealed a sizable patch of native iris, most likely Iris cristata.

I wrote about this same area in Guess What’s in My Garden! about a visit there several years ago. In my account of that visit I concluded,

“The only unpleasant thing about that weekend in the mountains was a guy in the next cabin practicing a bagpipe. He sure made it hard to take a nap!”

I’m happy to report that the bagpiper was not in residence this trip, and the sounds of water rushing over ancient stones made soothing background for a good nap.


And I think this little fellow enjoyed the weekend almost as much as I:



About johnvic8

John Viccellio retired after 24 years in the U. S. Navy and began to dig into gardening when he could finally land in one place. He completed the Master Gardener course in 1992 and has since designed and constructed two of his own gardens. He wrote a monthly garden column for ten years and was a regular contributor to Carolina Gardener magazine. John published his first book, Guess What's in My Garden!, in 2014. He lives in a retirement community in Matthews, NC.
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6 Responses to Another Weekend in the Mountains

  1. How beautiful. A wonderful journey with you through your excellent photos. What an adventure you had. Thanks for sharing.


  2. I’m wondering about that trillium. Do you suppose it might be red trillium past it’s prime?


  3. johnvic8 says:

    I am not knowledgeable concerning trilliums. Will have to do some research. Thank you for the suggestion.


  4. pbmgarden says:

    Wonderful stroll. The rushing water looks lovely, and I do recognize your Persicaria now. Thanks! Susie


  5. msheinzy says:

    Love your quote at the top of the blog! One of my favorites from your poem!


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