Appalachia Appalachia Through My Eyes

Appalachia Through My Eyes – Dayflowers & Old Friends

My life in appalachia - Dayflower

Do you ever wake up with someone on your mind that you haven’t seen in a good long while? This morning I woke up thinking about Mildred Johnson.

I’ve known Mildred for a few years now, she’s one of those salt of the earth people-a true Appalachian Lady in all respects. When I first met Mildred she was a little wary of me-I’m sure she was wondering why in the world I asked so many questions! (wariness is a true Appalachian trait)

But once Mildred realized I was harmless and was really interested in the knowledge she had to share we became fast friends. From the first time I met Mildred she reminded me of Pap and Granny.She’s the kind of person who’d help you any way they could; who’d offer up encouragement about whatever it is you’re trying to do; the kind of person who’d offer you a pallet on the floor so you could spend the night; or better yet offer you their bed and make themselves a pallet on the floor.

I usually get to go on at least one cemetery trip with Mildred each summer (decoration days held on the North Shore of Fontana Lake at the cemeteries that are now isolated by the lake), but so far this summer that hasn’t happened. We had the best laid plans to go on one a few weeks ago-then Chatter woke up in the night with a fever and sore throat and we didn’t get to go.

Once I started thinking about Mildred I went back and looked through some of the photos I’d taken on past trips made with her, and the wildflower above jumped out at me. I took it 2 summers ago.

It’s commonly called a Dayflower. As the name suggests the flowers only last a day. I usually see the blue flowers along the edges of our big garden every summer. The blue against the green of the leaves makes them pop out at you-I always think the petals look  like ears. The one in the photo was growing just above a big hole in the creek-where Mildred told me they used to hold baptizings when she was a child.


p.s. If you’d like to know more about the cemetery trips go here: The North Shore Cemetery Association and North Shore Historical Society.

Appalachia Through My Eyes – A series of photographs from my life in Southern Appalachia.



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  • Reply
    July 19, 2017 at 12:28 am

    I always referred to it as Wild Wandering Jew…the blossom looks like a tiny face with beautiful blue ears. Thank you for sharing…

  • Reply
    July 28, 2012 at 9:00 pm

    Those petals DO look like ears!
    I love those kind of people that bring a smile to your face just at the thought of them.

  • Reply
    Susie Swanson
    July 6, 2012 at 7:39 pm

    Mildred sound like someone I’d like to talk with also…that flower is beautiful.

  • Reply
    July 6, 2012 at 7:47 am

    Miss Mildred sounds like an interesting person to talk too. Liked the little blue flower.

  • Reply
    July 6, 2012 at 1:57 am

    The flower is lovely. I wanted to comment on a post I read the other day before I had figured out how to comment on here….You had mentioned being car sick. If you drink ginger tea or ginger ale (made with real ginger) before you leave in the car and sometimes during if it’s a long trip, it will help with the motion sickness better than most of the stuff you buy in the store. My Gram told me about it years and years ago…my folks always used Dramamine and so I slept everywhere we went. Gram said that the ginger tea or ginger ale would work and since my kids and I and the grandkids all have issues with car sickness…we use it and it works like a charm. I just thought I’d share so that the next car trip you take might be a bit more enjoyable.

  • Reply
    Spashel Ed
    July 5, 2012 at 3:13 pm

    Do them spiders get worts frum handlin toady frogs two?

  • Reply
    July 5, 2012 at 2:54 pm

    Don-thank you for the info-and the links to the photos. I agree with you-it is a pretty little flower-and so is the spiderwort that you shared : )
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Celebrating and Preserving the
    Culture of Appalachia

  • Reply
    Don Casada
    July 5, 2012 at 1:59 pm

    Tipper, it appears to me that your plant is actually Commelina communis, Asiatic dayflower. It’s commonly found around roadside ditches, disturbed areas…and on the hill below our house. It is considered an invasive by some, and as the name suggests, it is non-native. That doesn’t keep it from being pretty. The key indicator is that it has two (very) blue petals. While it’s not obvious from the photo, it actually does have a third petal under the filaments which is a translucent white.
    There is another member of the spiderwort family, which I just call spiderwort (more accurately Virginia spiderwort). I don’t know the latin names of any of the flowers, but as I did for the Asiatic dayflower, looked it up: Tradescantia virginiana. It has three petals which are all of a more purplish hue. Unlike the Asiatic dayflower, it has a slew of tiny filaments weaving in and around the stamens. For comparison see the links below:

  • Reply
    July 5, 2012 at 12:31 pm

    Ethel-the book I have says the latin name is: Commelina erecta L. And as B. Ruth said-the book also says the dayflower is part of the spiderwort family.
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Celebrating and Preserving the
    Culture of Appalachia

  • Reply
    July 5, 2012 at 12:11 pm

    You’re so right about Mrs. Johnson
    being an amazing woman of Appalachia, enduring many hardships in her life. You don’t
    see many folks giving that
    friendly smile…Ken

  • Reply
    July 5, 2012 at 11:16 am

    I love your description of Mildred, she sounds like she embodies all the best traits of Appalachia. I hope you two can make a field trip soon!
    Do you happen to know the latin name of that plant? It looks sort of familiar, but I’m not quite sure. It looks like one I’ve heard called Spiderwort.

  • Reply
    B. ruth
    July 5, 2012 at 11:02 am

    I love little blue flowers. It seems there are so few in nature…I actually dug up some of these by a creek bed in our area where we were told we could gather some rocks…
    I always, when I could think of it, Spiderwort, and I think my wildflower books support this…My Grandmother called them widows tears, when we would see them on a mountain picnic, near the cemetary…
    I have a problem with spiderwort…that sounds so gross..and I respect spiders but like to keep my distance and do not like to refer to them in the names of my flowers.LOL
    Day flowers always remind me of Daylilys since they only last a day as well…Anyway, they are so pretty early in the morning, like the morning glory, the dew just sparkles like diamonds on them…
    Thanks for this reminder, Tipper

  • Reply
    dolore barton
    July 5, 2012 at 10:08 am

    What a great way to learn about decendants of families and/or friends. I really like those little blue flowers. I have planted over the years many day lilies and each day I look out my kitchen window to see what is new for the day.

  • Reply
    July 5, 2012 at 10:01 am

    I have been thinking about old friends too lately – since Dad passed. Stirring up old memories I guess. In my art days I would make silver pencil rubbings of lovely old cemetery markers on thin rice papers and shadow box mount them like fine engravings. I really like your day flower! I might know it. It appears to be the volunteer that came up next to my garage. That plant is taking over the area for a yellow mum I planted. Their inky blue color really caught my eye this Summer. Does your day flower act like a vine and spread every year?

  • Reply
    Sheila Bergeron
    July 5, 2012 at 9:52 am

    I always remember seeing these around Mamaws- and here in Florida too. Also seeing yesterday’s post, I see how the girls have grown and how talented they are–well the apples don’t fall far from the tree now do they ? God bless you all. oxox

  • Reply
    Ethelene Dyer Jones
    July 5, 2012 at 9:51 am

    For one day it spreads its cheer,
    Beautiful in its dress of blue.
    Along hedgerows it may appear,
    Or along stream banks you may view
    The nodding dayflower come to say
    “Enjoy life’s litlle gifts each day.”

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    July 5, 2012 at 9:32 am

    The plant looks familiar but I don’t remember seeing the bloom. I musta been there of an off day. Miss Mildred seems like my kind of people. Maybe I can meet her some day.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    July 5, 2012 at 9:17 am

    Pretty blue flower. My dad used to call that plant Bear Grass. At least I think it was the same plant. His had the same lovely little blue flowers. It grew in my grandmothers yard. You would have liked her, Tipper. She was a true daughter of the mountains with a yard full of flowers.

  • Reply
    benny watt terry
    July 5, 2012 at 9:17 am

    I really like the new format. It gives me a host of songs to listen to. I especially like the gospels.

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