North Carolina – Spring 2010 – Part 1

We took a wonderful week-long trip to western North Carolina to visit our friends Sara and Chuck.  They have a beautiful house in the woods, half-way up a mountain.  We got there just as the leaves were beginning to come out.  So when we arrived, we could still see the valley and the mountains in the distance.  By the time we left, 5 days later, the distant view was starting to disappear behind a screen of new leaves.

This is their house – it blends in to the colors of the woods.

The view from inside

And it looks cozy and welcoming at night, with the lights shining.

The house is surrounded by woodland – trees and wildflowers and a waterfall.

The woods was full of spring wildflowers.





Bishop’s Cap

Wood Anemone

Robin’s Plantain

Star Chickweed

Showy Trillium

The most unusual plant in their “yard” is Ocontee Bells, a flower that’s only native to a small area of North and South Carolina and Georgia.  Sara’s mother was instrumental in saving the plant from several places that were being developed, raising the plants, and making them available to nurseries.  Although it’s rare in the wild, it grows well in cultivation.

The flowers were almost gone when we got there, but there were a few hiding between the leaves.

These are the spent flower stalks.

We saw one snake.  They had warned us that there are two poisonous snakes to watch for – Rattlesnakes and Copperheads – so we were on the alert.  When we saw this one we were concerned, but we looked it up afterward, and it turned out to be a beautifully marked Garter Snake.

Sara and Chuck took us to see another garden that Sara’s mother created: the Corneille Bryan Native Garden.  It’s a small park in a forested ravine between two rows of houses.  Beneath the trees is a small stream, some wandering paths, and dozens of native wildflowers.

Here’s the entrance to the garden.

And a few of the wildflowers

Virginia Bluebells

This is a yellow Trillium – I think Trillium luteum.

Yellow Trillium detail


Larkspur flower closeup


A mountain view from the Blue Ridge Parkway