May is a special month for wildflowers on Grandfather because this is the month when the pink-shell azalea blooms! These delicate pink blossoms are so amazing up close – it is almost difficult to appreciate them when you see them in mass all over the peaks of Grandfather! I know I am always surprised to see old stone-faced Grandfather covered with pastel pink at a time when there are no green leaves out to cushion the contrast between the gray and brown backdrop of stick season and the plethora of pink azaleas – but I adjust quickly.
And you can see from the list to the left of other species that bloom this month, spring rushes through the door in May. There are still an abundance of ephemeral woodland wildflowers blooming on the forest floor (check the Profile Trail), but the shrubs and trees will be busting out in May as well.
And the green leaves will reach the slopes of Grandfather in May, but don’t expect green on the peaks until just before Memorial Day. It is our short summers that seem to prod nature to celebrate with such abundance and show. June is coming, and with it the red Catawba rhododendron!