Back from North Carolina
First plant impressions of North Carolina in no particular order - the ubiquity of kudzu, large stands of white pine and crape/crepe myrtles (Lagerstroemia).
We visited Raleigh for a few days several years ago and I don't remember seeing much of the above plants but not being an especially observant coot, I could have missed seeing many obvious things.
What was striking was the size of the crepe myrtles and their use as small trees rather than shrubs. Our neighbor, several houses down the block has a very dark pink crepe myrtle that's almost as large as some we've seen in NC but the plant is still grown as a shrub albeit a very large one with many trunks and branches close to the ground. The ones in NC are grown as small trees with fewer trunks. And the attractive bark is exposed by removing all the lower branches which reminds me of the strawberry guava trunks with its attractive mottling.
In the first photo, you can see a woman in the lower left of the photo to give you some idea of the size of the two crepe myrtles in the photo. All of the photos were taken in the grounds of the Biltmore Estate in Asheville but almost every yard seemed to have at least a crepe myrtle if not two or more. Please click the photos to enlarge.
We even saw crepe myrtles planted as embankment and median divider plants along the interstate highways. I guess they use them for this purpose because they are rather drought tolerant and seemed to be thriving despite a prolonged dry spell. I was rather surprised that most were still blooming. The pink specimen we have, and we are much further north so the flowering began weeks later, is almost finished blooming yet most of the NC crepe myrtles are in full flower.