The mountain laurel is finally in full bloom at Mason Neck State Park! The big glossy-leaved shrubs are nearly foaming with blossoms.
I have been eagerly monitoring them for weeks now, impatient for the crinkled flower buds to pop open. Young buds look like hard pink asterisks. As they mature they swell, somewhat like Jiffy Pop popcorn pans. The buds themselves are sticky to the touch. I know this because I find it hard to resist squeezing one as if I could force it to burst into bloom! Nature won’t be rushed, however, so I wait.
The buds swell more and more each day until finally they open into clusters of white and pink flowers. It is one of my favorite times of the spring each year.
This week I walked our Bay View Trail and discovered the woods are full of blooming mountain laurel. Zebra swallowtails flit through the dappled shade and warblers of all kinds sing from the treetops.
Enjoy the attached photos of mountain laurel growing beside the Bay View Trail, and come visit Mason Neck State Park soon. The flowers will be fallen before too long.