Appalachia Appalachia Through My Eyes Wildflowers & Trees Of Appalachia

Appalachia Through My Eyes – The Orange Is Calling To Me

My life in appalachia orange azaleas

The Mountain Azaleas are in full bloom in my part of Appalachia. Some folks call them wild honeysuckle, others call them flame azaleas. Me-I just call them pretty. Mix together the clear blue sky of spring, the deep lustrous green of new growth and the bright orange of the azalea’s and you’ve got a pretty sight.

Silly as it sounds the orange azaleas have been calling to me. The one on the ridge out from my kitchen window says “Don’t you want to climb through the brambles to get a closer look at me? Don’t you remember the piece of barbwire growing through a tree near where I grow? If you come see me I bet you might find another treasure from days gone by. Just leave those dishes in the sink and come look at my beauty before I’m gone for another year.”

The one at the bottom of Doosenberry Hill calls to me as I drive to and fro to work. “Hey Tipper don’t you want to stop and sit a spell? I’ll tell you about the days when Pap was little. Do you know the Island Ford was just below here where Brasstown Creek flows into the Hiwassee River? Did you know your Pap used to roll up his overall legs and walk across the ford on his way to the mill? How about the time your Great Uncle Frank tried to cross the ford with a wagon when it was froze solid-now boy that was a sight!”

The one farther up Doosenberry Hill shares a varying message with me-depending on the way I’m traveling. On the way to work it says “Stop it’s not too late! Turn around and go back to my brother down the way. After he tells you stories about Pap he’ll tell you stories about other Brasstown families.” On the way home it says “SLOW DOWN! There’s a message waiting for you at the bottom of the hill-LISTEN to what my brother says and stop for awhile!”

The Mountain Azaleas are in full bloom in my part of Appalachia. Some folks call them wild honeysuckle others call them flame azaleas. Me-I just call them pretty.


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

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  • Reply
    May 15, 2014 at 7:52 pm

    Once again you have summoned memories from my childhood. The Flame Azaleas as we called them were always so beautiful as we traveled from Tennessee to Highlands, NC to visit my Great Aunt who had a mountain home there. The first time I saw them I was amazed and couldn’t wait to find out what they were. Thanks again for sharing and causing me to remember wonderful childhood memories.

  • Reply
    May 15, 2014 at 4:07 pm

    I love the word pictures you paint!

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    May 15, 2014 at 2:54 pm

    A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that the blackberries were beginning to bloom and we had a cold snap…Me, (the old geizer) decided that it must be blackberry winter…I think I messed up…”cause the blackberries are now in total full bloom, the green stems are just covered, white as snow! It is so doggone cold here and tonight it is supposed to go down in the forties…Help me, help my plants…Soooo, I must have misdiagnosed the winters…I heard the Chuck-Wills-Widow back then the next night…so I think it was Whip-poor-will/Chuck-wills-widow Winter instead of Blackberry winter…If this ain’t blackberry winter, what could it be? Is there another one I have forgot?
    Thanks Tipper,
    and Ed…
    PS…I hope I won’t need to go covering all those cucumbers, zuchinni, tomato plants…MERCY!

  • Reply
    jose Luis
    May 15, 2014 at 1:12 pm

    Dear Tipper:
    Today I will make a small comment about the wild azaleas that are in Argentina.
    Flowers are beautiful and are a nice complement to decorate a living room, but should be careful that they are not where a child can take them.
    My grandson Ignacio, when I was little, take a leaf and chewed it to see what it was, and as has calcium oxalate, should be taken to a hospital for children with severe irritation, tongue and inside your mouth.
    Sorry this review of grandfather. It is better safe, than sorry.
    A very warm greeting to all readers and you, José Luis.
    (Perhaps azaleas here, are not equal to those of there … but if they were equal, …)

  • Reply
    Suzi Phillips
    May 15, 2014 at 1:02 pm

    Beautiful! The store boughts are in bloom here, but my wild one shows nary a flower. Love them-

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    May 15, 2014 at 12:56 pm

    I love the fragrance of our mountain
    flowers along the creekbanks. When the
    honeysuckles do their thing, I can sit
    for hours just breathing in and listening to all the birds. Every
    season has it’s wonders…Ken

  • Reply
    May 15, 2014 at 11:41 am

    The azaleas are done here in the Sandhills, but the rhododendrons are in high bloom. When we moved here some years back, the nursery said rhodos wouldn’t grow well in NC, too warm. Well, they’re going gang-busters everywhere we drive where we see them, some larger than the houses they’re with which leads me to believe they’ve been there for years. So go figure! And the scent of honeysuckle is heavy in the air here now too. Beautiful!!!
    God bless.

  • Reply
    Mike McLain
    May 15, 2014 at 11:17 am

    We have 3 Flame Azaleas on our homesite and they are beautiful. Before next spring rolls around, we will be living there in our house, and I can’t wait.
    We also have blackberry blossoms all over, and we know what that means in a couple of months, if we can get to them before the bears and mockingbirds do!

  • Reply
    Garland Davis
    May 15, 2014 at 10:59 am

    I cannot speak to the mountain flowers, but when I take my morning walk the aroma of the Mock Orange, the Plumeria and the Gardenia is almost overwhelming. I have recently added some red, yellow and orange Hibiscus to my landscaping. Looking forward to them starting to bloom.
    Note: Okra is a member of the Hibiscus family. And that reminds me to plant some today.

  • Reply
    May 15, 2014 at 10:54 am

    Plants do tell stories. (That’s part of why I like “Passalong” plants.)
    And the flowers in your part of the world are exquisite. When hubby was stationed in DC we lived in Alexandria, Va. The first thing I noticed was having real seasons, the second thing (the year our first child was born) was the glorious Indian Summer (end of Sept, early Oct.). Winter snows were fascinating. Then came spring – oh the flowers!! We went for drives in the country, along Skyline Drive, anywhere I could see the “exotic” (to me) flowers!! And your orange azaleas were among them. We have our own beauties here in Central Texas; but the wildflowers in your neck of the woods are truly wondrous.

  • Reply
    May 15, 2014 at 9:11 am

    I can just imagine the beauty of the orange Azaleas. I have longed for one here for many years, but the ones I planted just didn’t thrive. Once again this year I have purchased a couple and look forward to their growth next year. Of all the Azaleas I have in my landscaping, there is nothing more beautiful than the orange ones. Maybe next year I will have ones to enjoy along with the beauty of my existing ones.

  • Reply
    May 15, 2014 at 8:57 am

    The pink and orange honeysuckles are starting to bloom here on the farm. I have crops on one side of my lane and woods where the flowers grow on the other side.
    Your post is just as beautiful as the flowers. I know I will be slowing down as I drive down the road-anxiously awaiting the stories as I admire their beauty.

  • Reply
    Sue Crane
    May 15, 2014 at 8:52 am

    I need a mountain fix!!!!!!!

  • Reply
    May 15, 2014 at 8:40 am

    Yes! Our blackberries are in full bloom too…and the forecast for the next few days includes a overnight temp of 38. That =s blackberry winter : )
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Celebrating and Preserving the
    Culture of Appalachia

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    May 15, 2014 at 7:30 am

    I haven’t seen any flame azaleas here yet but yesterday I spotted wild cucumber trees in bloom. Dozens of them. Over on the other side of Mineral Springs Mountain.
    Blackberries are just now in full bloom. Ain’t that when we get Blackberry Winter?

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    May 15, 2014 at 7:27 am

    Yes, Tipper, yes! The wild azaleas are glorious this year. Everything is so lush and green. I want to touch it. I want to roll around in it. I want to merge with it and become a part of it. It speaks to me with alluring promises. I love all the four seasons here in the mountains but the season I love most is…….which ever on I am in at the moment. They are all fabulous in their own way.

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    May 15, 2014 at 7:24 am

    How wonderful, I love the wild azaleas, we have a few on our property too and they bloom on both sides

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    May 15, 2014 at 6:10 am

    They are beautiful aren’t they? We noticed them when we went to Martins Creek a couple of weeks ago. I love them. I also love the Pinxster-Flower also known as Purple honeysuckle. It is more common here. In fact we had several growing up on the ridge along with some Laurel…I moved a couple of the plants down to the wooded area in the back yard years ago. They lived for a long, long time. Conditions changed and they quit growing as well. The elevation is probably not quite right for the Flame azealea in my back yard. You are very lucky to enjoy native blooms like the Flame that does look like it is a flame! I treasure all my native plants and try to keep the conditions just right for them.
    My Trumpet Honeysuckle (red) was outstanding this year and is still putting on new blooms..the hummingbirds are beside themselves. Swooping and diving trying not to share a bloom with any little necter beggar!
    Right now the evenings are intoxicating with the white/yellow bloom fragrance of the true wild honeysuckle. Farmers hate it..I love it!
    How much I love your stories of your Flame azealeas…
    For this the fruit, for this the seed, For this the parent tree; The least to man, the most to God-A fragrant mystery
    Where Love, with Beauty glorified,
    Forgets Utility. ~~John Tabb~~
    Thanks Tipper,
    PS..The rain in Spain is falling clearly here!

  • Reply
    May 15, 2014 at 5:55 am

    They are absolutely beautiful, ours are the pinkish variety of wild azalea but both orange and pinkish are a picture hard to describe..

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