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.
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.
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.
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!