Here are some of my favorite flowers blooming now in North Georgia and further north. While all of these grow in North Georgia, many of them were also observed during my trip to North Carolina for the recent Cullowhee conference.
First up are the amazing summer lilies: turk's cap lily (Lilium superbum) and Carolina lily (Lilium michauxii). These lilies are similar looking, but there are differences that can help you separate them.
|Turk's cap (Lilium superbum)|
|Strong stem on Lilium superbum|
|Carolina lily (Lilium michauxii) is a smaller plant|
|Swamp hibiscus (Hibiscus coccineus)|
It's hard to believe that stems this size are not woody plant stems, but the plant does die back to the ground each winter. I leave the stems up all winter in the hope that bees will hibernate in them.
|Monarda didyma, Lumpkin County|
Another hot red flower is scarlet beebalm (Monarda didyma). On the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina, we found these blooming in moist ditches and open, wet woodlands. They obviously appreciate a moist environment. While they look great alone, when we found them with tall American bellflower (Campanulastrum americanum), they were even more spectacular.
One of my favorite mid-summer flowers is the orangey-red flower of the plumleaf azalea (Rhododendron prunifolium). Native to a limited range in Georgia and Alabama, this species grows very well in gardens too. The hummingbirds love it as do the large Eastern tiger swallowtail butterflies.
|Plumleaf azalea (Rhododendron prunifolium)|
|Roadside populations of Asclepias tuberosa can be vibrant orange|