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Which NC Roadside Has The Best Wildflowers?

When it comes to deciding on the best roadside blooms, North Carolina has a lot of options to choose from. Each year, the N.C. Department Of Transportation Wildflower Awards are given to the most eye-popping flower beds across the state and to the division with the best overall wildflower program. On Wednesday in Raleigh, Governor Pat McCrory and NCDOT Secretary Tony Tata announced the 2012 winners and recognized the contributions of two individuals – former Governor Jim Martin and former First Lady Dottie Martin – for their contribution to the Wildflower Program.

In 1985, Dottie Martin read an article in the Wall Street Journal about Texas’ wildflower program and was inspired to begin something similar in North Carolina. She shared the idea with the NCDOT and shortly after, the Wildflower Program was established. The program now spans over 1,500 acres of flower beds across North Carolina. At the Wildflower Awards ceremony, Governor McCrory inducted Jim and Dottie Martin into the Wildflower Hall of Fame. 

The 2012 Wildflower Award winners are:

(See photos of the winners in the slideshow above)

Best Overall Division Wildflower Program

  • 1st Place – Division 4, which includes Edgecombe, Halifax, Johnston, Nash, Wayne and Wilson counties
  • 2nd Place – Division 7, which includes Alamance, Caswell, Guilford, Orange and Rockingham counties
  • Honorable Mention – Division 11, which includes Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Caldwell, Surry, Watauga, Wilkes and Yadkin counties

William D. Johnson Daylily Award

  • 1st Place – Division 12 – I-77 Rest Areas at Mile Marker 39 in Iredell County
  • 2nd Place – Division 13 – I-26 West at Mars Hill in Buncombe County

Best Regional Wildflower Planting, Eastern Region

  • 1st Place – Division 6 – I-95 at I-74 in Robeson County
  • 2nd Place – Division 4 – U.S. 70 Bypass at Little Creek in Johnston County

Best Regional Wildflower Planting, Central Region

  • 1st Place – Division 7 – I-85 at Kivett Road in Guilford County
  • 2nd Place – Division 9 – I-85 at N.C. 8 in Davidson County

Best Regional Wildflower Planting, Western Region

  • 1st Place – Division 11 – I-77 median at weigh station in Surry County
  • 2nd Place – Division 13 – U.S. 19/23 at Exit 24/Woodfin, Buncombe County

The NCDOT Wildflower Program is managed by the department’s Roadside Environmental Unit, and the Wildflower Awards are sponsored by The Garden Club of North Carolina, Inc. 

Where are your favorite roadside wildflowers? Tell us in the comment section below.

Laura moved from Chattanooga to Chapel Hill in 2013 to join WUNC as a web producer. She graduated from the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies in the spring of 2012 and has created radio and multimedia stories for a variety of outlets, including Marketplace, Prairie Public, and Maine Public Broadcasting. When she's not out hunting stories, you can usually find her playing the fiddle.
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