Rhododendrons

I visited Southern Serenity in early May this year. I’ve been there in late April and late May, but never early May. I was so very excited to see the Rhododendron bushes in full bloom. I’ve always seen the green bushes but never with the flowers. They were just gorgeous!

Up Close Rhododendron by Patti Stauss

DSCN4579Our front yard in May

 

At Sugarlands Visitor Center I asked a ranger about them, I thought they were something completely different. Ranger Rhonda told me mine were cultivated Rhododendrons because they were already blooming, the wild ones in the park weren’t yet in bloom. I know I’ve seen the bushes in the park along the trails I’ve hiked, I just never knew what they were.

 

The other discovery I made were Tulip Tree flowers. I did not know these even existed! They were a beautiful orange and yellow flower and were very high in the trees. This made them difficult to spot.

Tulip Tree Flower – courtesy Wikipedia

But the fallen petals were all over the ground so I dried some for my journal along with a very small tulip leaf. I dub this time The Trip of the Flowers!

Smoky Mountain Park Views

Autumn Panorama

Have you seen the view of the trees during leaf season in Smoky Mountain National Park? If you have, lucky you, the colors as you know are beautiful and vibrant.  The changing leaf color continues for a month starting in early October at the top elevations and working its way down the mountain to the lowest elevations in late October/early November.  It is a gorgeous time of year to be in the mountains .

Autumn view from Black Bear Falls

Grotto Falls Hike in Autumn

If you haven’t had the good fortune to experience Leaf Season in the Smokies you can see it from the comfort of your chair via these National Park sponsored webcams.  Enjoy!

Look Rock Camera

Purchase Knob Camera