on landscape The online magazine for landscape photographers

Southern Highlands

Sarah Strickler

Sarah Strickler

returned to photography more seriously about five years ago. I’m drawn to landscape photography, partly because of a background in horticulture and landscape design, but also because of a lifelong interest and pleasure in the outdoors and natural world.


I finally saw the native azaleas and rhododendrons blooming in the wilds of the southern Appalachians this past June. I travelled from my home in northern Virginia, just outside Washington, DC, about 400 miles southwest to where the borders of Virginia, North Carolina and Tennessee converge. Guided by members of the azalea and rhododendron societies, who have been visiting these mountains for a couple of decades to inventory and monitor the wild azaleas and rhododendrons, I was able to experience some of the magic of this landscape.

These images were taken in the Roan Highlands, straddling the North Carolina and Tennessee border, and from the Blue Ridge Parkway nearby. Roan is known for its Flame azaleas (Rhododendron calendulaceum), blooming pale yellow to deep orange, stands of purple Catawba rhododendrons (Rhododendron catawbiense) and open balds (high meadows) on mountain crests and ridges. The Blue Ridge Parkway is a beautiful 469-mile road of smoky-blue mountain vistas, winding southward from Rockfish Gap, west of Charlottesville, Virginia, to just past the Smoky Mountains in North Carolina.

On Landscape is part of Landscape Media Limited , a company registered in England and Wales . Registered Number: 07120795. Registered Office: 1, Clarke Hall Farm, Aberford Road, WF1 4AL. Midge Specs, midge net glasses from the Highlands.