As the saying goes..."April showers bring May flowers"... and I bring you all yet another flower quilt block that falls in line perfectly with that thought. Actual pictures of Mountain Laurel here, here, and here.
Between May and June, the native mountain-laurel blooms far and wide within the north and south eastern United States, with a frothy explosion of delicate pinkish white flower clusters. This beautiful evergreen shrub grows naturally on rocky slopes and in woodlands, and in large thickets covering vast areas of forest floors. In warm climates it can grow to the size of a tree, but remains shrub-like further north. Its leathery leaves are lance-shaped, glossy and dark green, resembling those of its cousin the rhododendron, preferring a similar habitat, in cool, moist areas in full sun or deep shade.
It's botanical name is Kalmia latifolia, and is a distant member of the heath family, which includes azaleas, rhododendron, huckleberry, blueberry, and the cranberry, just to name a few. But as good as that sounds, take note that all particles and parts of this plant are poisonous. It's highly toxic to humans and animals alike, with the exception being cats and dogs. (Imagine that!) The good news is, deer won't go near it either, making it a popular and lasting landscape companion. Some of us here can really appreciate that.
Mountain-laurel contains two substances in particular, andromedotoxin and arbutin, that if ingested can cause severe symptoms and suffering death within hours. This may account for some of the other names it is know by such as, Sheep Laurel and Lambkill. Other names include, Calico Bush, Ivy Bush, and Calmoun. The native Indians called it "spoonwood" because they carved spoons from its wood. Early American settlers also used the wood to make arbors, fences, and for a time, primitive clocks.
Its election as the official state flower of Pennsylvania was a lengthy one, taking years of deliberation by the legislation. In 1931 a state tree was finally adopted, but the commonwealth was still lacking a flower so the Pennsylvanians began to gather their support for two choices; the pink azalea and the mountain-laurel. Both sides were vocal and adamant, causing the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, unable to reach an agreement, to defer the decision to the Governor of the State, Gifford Pinchot, who was a professionally trained forester and no stranger to flora and fauna. Well, the story goes, that Gov. Pinchot preferred the pink azalea, but that he allowed his wife to make the final decision. And so, on May 5, 1933, the bill was signed into law and the Mountain-laurel (dubbed "ambition" in the language of the flowers), became the official flower of Pennsylvania.
COLORS: petals #761; buds #899; flower centers WHITE; stems & leaves #702 and a lighter green. (Do the embroidery using 3-4 strands of floss, in any colors you choose--these are the ones I used here.)
Block Size: Images should be about 4 x 4-inches or so to fit a 6.5" block----re-size them if necessary.