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Mountain Laurel Flowers & Festivals 2017

mountain-laurel

Why do people love mountain laurel?

Perhaps it's the pretty bell-shaped flowers, ranging in color from white to pink, that make mountain laurel a beloved plant.

Or maybe it's laurel's ubiquitous nature that inspires so much widespread devotion.

In some parts of the world, it's difficult to look out of a window in spring without seeing Kalmia latifolia elegantly brightening the landscape. After a grim, gray winter, who isn't grateful to see so much beauty so easily, almost carelessly, displayed?

Mountain laurel's hardy constitution and its generosity are other good reasons to praise it. It thrives in diverse environments, from woodlands to swamps, and provides a habitat for songbirds and small mammals.

Mountain laurel is also evergreen, adding welcome color to winter forests with its arched limbs that dangle green leaves shaped like donkey ears.

Is it any wonder that people celebrate mountain laurel each year?

The Year's First Mountain Laurel Festival Is in Georgia.

Mountain Laurel Festivals 2017

FestivalLocationDatesHighlights

Mountain Laurel Carnival & Festival

Clarksville, GA

May 20

musical entertainment, carnival, fireworks, antique auto show, parade

Kentucky Mountain Laurel Festival

Pineville, KY

May 25-27

musical entertainment, crafts, parade, 5K walk/run, golf tournament, carnival, festival queen competition

Pennsylvania State Laurel Festival

Wellsboro, PA

June 10-18

pageant, bicycle race, foot race, gospel sing, musical entertainment, arts & crafts, parade, pet parade

Laurel Festival

Winsted, CT

June 10-11

parade, pageant, ball, vendors, plant sale

Western Pennsylvania Laurel Festival

Brookville, PA

June 21-25

pageant, carnival, parade, craft and sidewalk sale, food court, battle of the bands, karaoke

mountain-laurel

Mountain Laurel Plant Profile

Mountain laurel (Kalmia latifolia) grows wild in the woods, meadows, slopes, ridges and swamps of the eastern United States.

It's native to many states, including Delaware, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, New York, Virginia, Washington, DC and West Virginia.

It's also the state flower of both Pennsylvania and Connecticut.

In places where mountain laurel is not native, it can easily be grown as a foundation plant, just like azaleas and rhododendrons, which are part of its plant family, Ericaceae.

Blueberries, huckleberries and cranberries are also members of the Ericaceae family.

Depending upon its location, mountain laurel can grow from a foot in height up to 20 feet.

It flowers from May through July, producing capsule-shaped brown fruit.

Because it's an evergreen, mountain laurel's leaves don't change color in autumn, remaining an attractive medium green year round.

Growing Requirements

Mountain laurel is extremely hardy and versatile. It can thrive in shade, partial shade and full sun. It grows well in dry, moist and wet soils of all types--organic matter filled with decaying bark and leaves; finely textured, silty clay; sandy, coarsely textured soil; and loamy soil comprised of silt and sand and clay.

It's only absolute requirement? Like blueberries and other members of the Ericaceae family, mountain laurel likes acidic soil, preferring a pH of 4.5 to 6.

Mountain Laurel Texas Style!

High Deer Resistance

Some plants that are touted as deer resistant are eaten by them anyway when other food is scarce.

Mountain laurel, however, truly is deer resistant: its leaves are poisonous to all hooved creatures, including deer, horses, mules and goats. Deer will avoid it--even when they're hungry.


Comments

Indian Chef from New Delhi India on May 14, 2013:

Dirt farmer, I have never seen this flower nor heard about it. It is nice to know it can grow anywhere from shade to sun.. I would go to local nursery to see if it is available.

Jill Spencer (author) from United States on May 07, 2013:

Hey there, Dolores! Good luck with your woodland garden. How gorgeous that will be (and low maintenance). We planted a native plant landscaping island & although we didn't add enough evergreen plants (something we intend to correct this spring and fall) we're really happy w/the results. Take it easy! Jill

Dolores Monet from East Coast, United States on May 06, 2013:

I love mountain laurel and have just planted a small one in my back yard, in the mini woodland garden. Your pictures are so pretty! Thanks for the tips!

Jill Spencer (author) from United States on May 25, 2012:

Hi Ms. Dora. It's great to hear from you. Glad you enjoyed the hub. Take care, Jill

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on May 25, 2012:

Great! Both in information and pictures. Thanks for sharing.

Jill Spencer (author) from United States on May 10, 2012:

@ Movie Master--They really are a delight to see. Thanks for stopping by, Lesley! Glad you like the photos. (: --Jill

Movie Master from United Kingdom on May 10, 2012:

Hi Jill, I didn't realise the laurel flower was so dainty and pretty.

I enjoyed reading and your wonderful photos, thank you and voted up.

Jill Spencer (author) from United States on May 10, 2012:

Hey Esmeowl12! We've started adding more and more native plants to our yard. It seemed odd at first, but it sure makes life easier because they're so low maintenance. Glad you stopped by from the beautiful Smoky Mountains!

Cindy A Johnson from Sevierville, TN on May 10, 2012:

What a great hub! I just love Mountain Laurel. It is now beginning to bloom here in the Great Smoky Mountains and thousands of people visit here each year at this time just to see it. I never really thought of growing some myself. Hmmmm. Will think on that.

Jill Spencer (author) from United States on May 09, 2012:

@ Mary 615--But you've got all those gorgeous tropical plants down there! Still, I know what you mean. Thanks for stopping by. --Jill

Mary Hyatt from Florida on May 09, 2012:

I'd really like to see this plant again. I love living in S. Fl. but I miss some of these beauties! Great photos. Voted UP.

Jill Spencer (author) from United States on May 09, 2012:

Hi TravelAbout! I never really noticed mountain laurel when I lived in WV. (Maybe I was distracted by all the other showy natives like redbud, white dogwood, sumac and rhodo.) But here in MD, it's all over the woods around our house. Hope you enjoy your laurel! Glad you stopped by. --Jill

Katheryn from United States on May 09, 2012:

Beautiful. Oddly enough, I live in Delaware and have never seen it? Now I will have to go out and buy one to plant! Nice photos. Voted up!

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