This is your official source for the 2014 spring bloom report in Asheville and Western North Carolina. Every two weeks we'll tell you where spring blooms are most prevalent in the mountains. Be sure to visit this page often for the most current spring updates.
Dogwood season has begun, and throughout Asheville and the surrounding area visitors will find an abundance of native white dogwoods (Cornus florida) in the woodlands and public gardens. Considered to be the most spectacular of America's native trees, the dogwood traces its ancestry back to the Middle East. Today's cultivated varieties in white, red and pink are equally at home in Asheville.
Also prominently featured in local gardens and area woodlands is the redbud tree (Cercis canadensis). The flowers, which range from dark pink to magenta, provide beautiful color in the understory of Western N.C.'s forests and hedgerows.
Complimenting the dogwoods at the North Carolina Arboretum are fragrant viburnum and fothergilla (a member of the Witch Hazel family). There are tulips, as well, along with bright spring container gardens. Along the Arboretum's many trails visitors will see the first signs of native wildflowers emerging from the ground, including Solomon Seal, Primula, May Apple and Trillium.
This is also the time when spring ephemerals, those delicate blossoms found on the woodland floor, make their first appearance. Walking the paths at the Asheville Botanical Gardens provides a leisurely exploration of native flowers that are home in these ancient mountains: white Trillium, red Shooting Stars, blue Crested Iris, pink and red Bleeding Heart, yellow Trout Lily and Lady Slippers in pink and yellow.
Flower Fact: What we think of as dogwood blossoms are really bracts-colorful leaves that protect the actual flower buds which are enclosed in the center.
It's Tulip Time at Biltmore: Within the thick walls of Biltmore's Walled Garden, designed by Frederick Law Olmstead to capture and hold heat during fickle spring days, are many of the estate's 96,000 tulips in a variety of shades of pink, peach, purple and white.
Along the Garden's sturdy stone walls are delicate, fragrant blooms of apple and pear trees trained to grow up the walls in an ancient practice called espalier. The trees grow into flat, formal, two-dimensional forms that are not only attractive, but also take advantage of the wall's reflected sunlight and absorbed heat.
Visit the gardens at the top of each hour, 11 a.m.-3 p.m., daily, to hear live music. Each Saturday and Sunday you can visit the "Ask a Gardener" station from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. in the Walled Garden to learn a few tricks of the trade.
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Book your getaway in any of the luxury cabins at Cheshire: A Mountain Village during the month of April and receive two complimentary passes to sample Beer City's finest with Asheville Brewery Tours, and two passes to encounter local wildlife close-up at the WNC Nature Center.