Get Out There

Where to See Wildflowers

We all know that April showers bring May flowers. But the wildflowers are already in full bloom in many parts of the country. National Weed Appreciation Day was earlier this week. The only difference between many flowers and weeds is where they grow. A dandelion or viola is a pretty flower until it grows in your lawn or manicured flowerbed. Flowers that pop up wherever they like might be a nuisance in your yard, but they are beautiful in nature. You should get out and see them in a park near you.

The Great Smokies in Tennessee have gorgeous flowers in bloom from February through September. With more breeds of wildflowers than any other park on the continent, Great Smoky Mountains National Park is nicknamed the “Wildflower National Park.”

If you are in Georgia, you should check out the Anna Ruby Falls Trail in Chattahoochee National Forest. It’s a 0.8-mile out-and-back paved trail surrounded by wildflowers that ends in a twin waterfall. Or, in West Virginia, you can visit the Cranberry Glades, four bogs filled with lilies, orchids, mountain laurels and more! Boardwalks around the area protect the land and make it accessible for visitors.

In Texas, you’ll have to rush to see the wildflowers at their peak in Hill country: the season will finish in May. Until then, Bluebonnets, Indian paintbrushes, poppies, sunflowers, prairie verbenas and more paint the landscape. There are many options here in Southern California, but Death Valley is not expecting a super bloom this year.

We could go on and on. The fact is flowers are blooming all around the country. If you aren’t sure what is in season around you, just google “wildflowers near me.” The internet will direct you to a park where you can breathe in spring and shake off the winter that is still clinging on. Just remember, while wildflowers are beautiful, don’t pick them from national parks or forests. We all want to bring the gorgeous greens home with us. But it’s illegal to pick plants without a permit. Enjoy looking at them in the parks. And, when you go home, maybe appreciate the dandelions in your yard a little bit more — the only difference between a flower and a weed is what you call it!

Banner image: Joel Holland via Unsplash

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