Ageratina altissima var. roanensis) that we saw on the way up is joined here with a vibrant blue monkshood (Aconitum uncinatum), a few blooms of scarlet beebalm (Monarda didyma) and some grasses. This is a combination that would be reproducible in my own garden (given enough space!).
There are five paths up to LeConte Lodge so it was fun after dinner to explore some of the
|Gentian and grass of Parnassus|
|Gentian found! Gentiana linearis|
|All those white flowers are grass of Parnassus blooms!|
The two plants were found in a very rocky area that obviously has constant moisture. It was fabulous to see such a unique and natural area. We were not expecting to find the Parnassia so it was a delightful surprise.
After a good night's sleep in cabins with no electricity, we had breakfast and headed down the mountain via the Bullhead Trail. This trail is not very scenic but plant nerds can find good in almost any natural setting. Angelica venenosa, asters and goldenrod were some of the perennial plants that we saw. The bees were very fond of these plants, especially the angelica.
As we continued through a dry area, we found different goldenrods (such as Solidago erecta), a lone blue aster, and plenty of yellow false foxglove (Aureolaria flava). We find all of these in Georgia, and I do love the cheerful late season blooms of the false foxglove.
|Plant some Eupatorium for the bees, they love it|
As we descended further, we went back through a moist area with plants typical of rich, moist soils: ferns, sweet Joe-pye weed (Eupatorium purpureum), yellow jewelweed (Impatiens pallida), Indian cucumber root (Medeola virginiana), mandarin (Prosartes), mountain bugbane (Actaea podocarpa), Solomon's seal (Polygonatum biflorum), Solomon's plume (Maianthemum racemosum), and many mushrooms.
And the last thing of the day - less than a mile from the trailhead - we saw a black bear! He was moving too fast for a picture. He paused once in the middle of the trail, and we got a good look at each other. Then he took off at a very rapid rate through the undergrowth and was gone.
If you enjoyed these pictures, I think you'll like this video of summer wildflowers in the Great Smoky Mountains (© Great Smoky Mountains Association 2012).