Queen Kalmia

The Queen is blooming. She flowers profusely, lighting the ever-deepening shade of the mountainside understory with blossoms ranging from white to delicate pink to an arousing shade of deeper pink. She is hard to ignore, this Queen of Shrubs. She has not been content to remain at her streamside habitat; now she wanders up the mountainsides to see what the view might be from high ridges. We know her by curvaceous limbs in other seasons when her blooms have faded away, and by evergreen leaves which lend welcome color to Winter’s landscape. Her flowers are cupped, held open by pollen-laden stamens like the spokes of a wheel, and her remarkable beauty holds to close inspection. We might call her by familiar names: mountain laurel, mountain ivy, calico-bush, but her true name is Kalmia latifolia. She is regal, and she is in full bloom now across the base of the Blue Wall. ~K