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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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: