Countdown to Spring! What’s in Bloom around Boone?

The western region of North Carolina is home to a variety of native flowers, deciduous trees, evergreens and shrubbery. As we anxiously await the arrival of spring, taking note of our early bloomers is something fun to do while strolling the streets of Boone, cruising along the Blue Ridge Parkway, taking a hike in Pisgah National Forrest or walking around Appalachian State University.

Redbuds

One of our favorite “early bloomers” is the Eastern Redbud, specifically “Hearts of Gold.”The pea-sized blossoms of the eastern redbud emerge in early spring before the leaves arrive, covering the bare branches in garlands of pink.

 

Trout Lily

Another beautiful bloom that can be seen in early spring is the Trout Lily. Next time you’re meandering through the woods, keep a look out for this small yet vibrant native flower. Trout Lillies tend to grow in huge colonies that can completely cover a forest floor. The colonies can be hundreds of years old. They take a long time to grow to such a size.  When they mature one plant will grow two leaves and one, beautiful yellow flower.

Dogwood

One of the most legendary and celebrated signs of spring is the Flowering Dogwood. This iconic native tree has deep roots in Appalachian history. The Native Americans called this tree “arrow wood”, using their branches to craft arrows for hunting large game. The early European settlers and pioneers used the strong bark and very hard wood to construct horse collars and cogs and gears for the gristmill.

The elegance and strength of this beloved plant are the subject of countless poems and spiritual symbolism. If the cardinal is the signature bird of North Carolina, the Flowering Dogwood is the signature tree. Don’t miss the early spring blooms that can be spotted peaking out amongst the emerging forest canopy.

The High Country of North Carolina has a wide variety of opportunities to enjoy the beauty of these early spring bloomers.  Make sure to visit Daniel Boone Native Gardens next time you’re in town. If you are a local resident take a trip to Mustard Seed Market in beautiful Blowing Rock. The nursery has an abundance of native plants that will brighten any landscape or flower bed. If you are on King Street, make sure you stop by the office. We will be turning out front flower beds and planting some beautiful flowers in the next few weeks!

About the Author

Susan is proud to be a native Tarheel, but as a military brat she also spent many years growing up in Kodiak, Alaska. Her father was a helicopter pilot in the Marines and then the U.S. Coast Guard, which allowed her to experience and appreciate both the South East and the Pacific NorthWest. After spending most of her High School years in Kodiak, her family was stationed back to Elizabeth City, NC. When the time came to choose a college to attend, Susan longed for something that reminded her a bit of the beautiful mossy forests of Alaska and the mountain culture that she had grown to love. Upon arrival in Boone in 2002 she immediately felt like she had come home. Although Susan is not a “true Wataugan,” she now considers the High Country of North Carolina her home. Susan loves to travel and even spent a semester abroad in County Cork, Ireland. Susan graduated from Appalachian State University in 2006 with a Bachelors degree in History, Secondary Education. Susan met her husband, David Stelling, while attending ASU. David is originally from Georgia and is a Professional Fly Fishing Guide and Outfitter in North Carolina, Tennessee and Alaska. Susan has dedicated the past 10 years of her life teaching at risk youth in western North Carolina in the award winning Blue Ridge Academy. Located in Avery County, it is a progressive and holistic approach to public education on a secondary level. Susan and David had their first child in 2015. Sophronia Woods Stelling is the light of their lives and both are grateful to have the awesome experience of parenthood. Susan and David feel fortunate to live in one of the most beautiful places and supportive communities on earth. The High Country is a wonderful place to not only vacation, but also to raise a family. Susann decided to expand her career portfolio and became a licensed real estate broker in North Carolina this past year. Susan is eager to begin this new journey and excited to bring the joy of living in the High Country to her future clients.