Mountain Hydrangea lives up to its name. It shares the showy blooms and beautiful pink or purple color of big-leaf hydrangeas, but because it grows wild on the chilly mountain tops instead of the mild seaside, it naturally developed substantially better cold tolerance. The sturdy lacecap blooms will be bright pink or deep purple-blue, depending on your soil pH, and the handsome dark green foliage resists wilting. Found these in Blowing Rock, North Carolina.
Rhododendron calendulaceum, commonly known as flame azalea, is an upright, loosely branched deciduous shrub. It is native primarily to woodland slopes and mountain balds in the Appalachian Mountains from Pennsylvania to Georgia. Here are some images from Roan Mountain Bald in North Carolina/Tennessee.
Located on the North Carolina/Tennessee state line, Roan Mountain is actually more of a mountain range about 5 miles long – called a massif – than it is a single peak. Famous for its Catawba Rhododendron gardens with its brilliant purple flowers in spring. Grassy Ridge, along the eastern flank of Roan Mountain, is the longest stretch of grassy bald in the Appalachian Mountains. These treeless mountaintops offer spectacular views, fields of grass waving in the winds, and an alpine-like hiking experience. Will post images from this vista over the next few days.