Press release from the N.C. Department of Transportation:
When the N.C. Department of Transportation’s Wildflower Program first started in 1985, no one could imagine just how popular the initiative would become. Now, the beautiful sight of wildflowers blooming along North Carolina’s highways never fails to bring smiles to the faces of travelers across the state.
To help promote the program, awards sponsored by The Garden Club of North Carolina are given to the best-looking flower beds in each region of the state. The 2021 Wildflower Awards were presented during the August Board of Transportation meeting by Roadside Environmental Engineer David Harris.
“The program has come a long way from when we used to plant buckets of seeds by hand. We appreciate how hard our crews work every day to create detailed flower beds for everyone to enjoy,” said Harris. “The Wildflower Program is a long-lasting initiative that not only makes North Carolina more beautiful, but also helps sustain the pollinator population.”
The awards recognize the efforts of NCDOT staff who carry out the program and enhance the overall appearance and environmental quality of the state’s highways.
“I would like to thank those responsible for establishing and preserving the partnership between the Garden Club of North Carolina and the NCDOT Wildflower program,” said Chairman of Roadside Development Pat Cashwell. “It has been my privilege and honor to organize the judging of the entries each year and presenting the awards is a real joy. I sincerely hope this partnership will continue for many years to come.”
The Wildflower Awards were given for beds that bloomed in 2021. The winners are:
William D. Johnson Daylily Award:
- First Place – Division 13, I-240 at MM 4A Buncombe County
- Second Place – Division 12, I-85 at U.S. 74 Gaston County
Best Regional Wildflower Planting, Eastern Region:
- First Place – Division 2 – U.S. 70 at NC 148 Lenoir County
- Second Place – Division 3 – I-140 at U.S. 17 New Hanover County
Best Regional Wildflower Planting, Central Region:
- First Place – Division 7 – U.S. 220 South Guilford County
- Second Place – Division 8 – I-85 at Hopewell Church Rd. Randolph County
Best Regional Wildflower Planting, Western Region:
- First Place – Division 12 – I-85 at U.S. 74 Gaston County
- Second Place – Division 14 – I-26 Henderson County
Best Overall Division Wildflower Program:
- First Place – Division 13, which includes Rutherford, McDowell, Burke, Mitchell, Yancey, Madison and Buncombe counties
- Second Place – Division 9, which includes Stokes, Forsyth, Davie, Davidson, Rowan.
A Flickr album with photos of the winners is available here.