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Wild about the flowers: Where to find the best highway flowerbeds in NC

The best overall wildflower program division in the state was in Division 11, which includes Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Caldwell, Surry, Watauga, Wilkes and Yadkin counties
The best overall wildflower program division in the state was in Division 11, which includes Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Caldwell, Surry, Watauga, Wilkes and Yadkin counties NC DOT

Talk about flower power: The North Carolina Department of Transportation handed out its annual awards this week for the best highway wildflower beds.

Two areas in the Charlotte region made the cut.

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This area of I-85 N. at Graham Street in Mecklenburg County is among the best wildflower plantings in the state NC DOT

In the central region, NCDOT’s Division 10 came in second for best regional wildflower planting, on Interstate 85 North at Graham Street in Mecklenburg County. You’ll need to drive to U.S. 52 at Perch Road in Forsyth County to see the region’s first place winner.

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A view of the wildflower planting at U.S. 52 at Perch Road in Forsyth County. NC DOT

And Gaston County’s Division 12 took first place in the western region for the wildflowers along I-85 at U.S. 74.

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The division also came in second place statewide for the William D. Johnson Daylily Award.

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This stretch of I-85 at U.S. 74 in Gaston County was the best wildflower planting in the state’s western region. NC DOT

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This part of I-85 at U.S. 74 in Gaston County won second place in the William D. Johnson Daylily Award. N.C. DOT

If you want to see the best in the eastern region, head to Pitt County for Interstate 264 at Mozingo Road.

N.C. DOT has run a wildflower program for more than 30 years.

Wildflower beds are installed and maintained across the state by Roadside Environmental workers in each of the 14 highway divisions.

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Wildflowers along U.S. 117 in Wayne County. NC DOT

Awards were given to the best-looking flower beds in each region, as well as the best overall highway division wildflower program.

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The state has had a wildflower program for more than 30 years. NC DOT

“From improving the environment to encouraging economic development and tourism, the Wildflower Program not only makes our roadways more attractive, but it also contributes to North Carolina’s overall quality of life,” Transportation Secretary Jim Trogdon said in a statement.

Adam Bell: 704-358-5696, @abell

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