Wildflowers & Trees Of Appalachia

Appalachia Through My Eyes – The Ivies Are Blooming

blooming mountain ivy

Over the last two weeks the Ivies have started putting on their annual show of beauty.

They start out as a faint smudge of whitish pink along the sides of the mountains and before you know it their brilliant blooms are set before you almost every where you look in a true feast for the eyes.

If you’re unsure about what Ivies are, here’s a few links to help you out.

Mountain Ivy = Mountain Laurel = Rhododendron

The Mountain Ivy is Blooming

Tipper

bowl of vegetables

Come cook with me!

MOUNTAIN FLAVORS – TRADITIONAL APPALACHIAN COOKING
Location: John C. Campbell Folk School – Brasstown, NC
Date: Sunday, June 23 – Saturday, June 29, 2019
Instructors: Carolyn Anderson, Tipper Pressley

Experience the traditional Appalachian method of cooking, putting up, and preserving the bounty from nature’s garden. Receive hands-on training to make and process a variety of jellies, jams, and pickles for winter eating. You’ll also learn the importance of dessert in Appalachian culture and discover how to easily make the fanciest of traditional cakes. Completing this week of cultural foods, a day of bread making will produce biscuits and cornbread. All levels welcome.

Along with all that goodness Carolyn and I have planned a couple of field trips to allow students to see how local folks produce food for their families. The Folk School offers scholarships you can go here to find out more about them. For the rest of the class details go here.

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21 Comments

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    May 22, 2019 at 4:54 pm

    It almost rained all day long here. Don’t misconstrue that as it rained almost all day long here because it didn’t rain at all but it almost did.

  • Reply
    SusieQ
    May 22, 2019 at 3:42 pm

    Mountain Ivy, what a beautiful name = to Rododendron,( a mouthful) which I looked at 3 times up there to get the spelling right down here ,I know the word but do not write it often :),,,,,,they are so pretty. After seeing them in the mountains, I came home and bought my husband’s Mother one for Mothers Day….it bloomed so pretty , more every year . Tipper, I love the way you described it . Whenever we were in the mountains, in their season, they were everywhere , and lovely to look at, among many other beautiful growing and blooming things. it seems like only yesterday, I was longing for March, and now it’s heading toward the end of May….. Happy May Day all 🙂

    • Reply
      SusieQ
      May 22, 2019 at 3:55 pm

      As I sip tea, and begin to read through the other nice peoples sharings, I was thinking …” The Ivies Are Blooming”, that would be a lovely title for a tune.

  • Reply
    Ethelene D. Jones
    May 22, 2019 at 2:26 pm

    One of the sights I really like to see near my home in Choestoe Valley, Union County, Blairsville, GA was the “mountain ivy,” “mountain laurel,” or whatever name we wanted to call it. I know there’s a difference, technically, but much of the Ivy grew on banks along the dirt road between my house and Choestoe Public School, the two-teacher I attended from “Primer” (the old name for Kindergarten) the grade before first grade–through 7th grade. I spent all of one day in “Primer’ because I knew all my ABC’s, could both say and write them from memory; and I knew my numbers to 100 as well; and I could already read the “Dick, Jane and Spot” Readers of first grade, too. But I had to “stay” in first grade all year. In the “corner” of P-3rd grade classroom was a closed cabinet–which I soon learned was a “bookcase” with all the library books the school owned for P-3rd grade. I loved books, and was acquainted with what we had at my house. But I determined early in first grade that I would finish my lessons so I could go sit by the book cabinet and choose books–in order–to read. I wanted to read all of them before I finished third grade and was promoted to “Upper Grades”–4th – 7th! Talk about being in a “poor” school situation??? With a good teacher, Mrs. Merta Shuler Collins, who was also my Primer Sunday School Teacher, in 1-3 grade, I thought my situation was heavenly! And I still think so, 83 years later!!! I got an excellent start in school, even in a two-teacher country school. And I am grateful!

  • Reply
    Melissa P (Misplaced Southerner)
    May 22, 2019 at 2:20 pm

    Now I’m missing our home in Waynesville on Eagle’s Nest Mountain even more. We used to spend all day crawling all over the mountain – looking for Boojum’s treasure – and enjoying the changing flowers, It would go from the pink and white laurel to the purply (is that a real word?) rhododendron, to the brilliant yellows and oranges of the flame azaleas. Down in the darker thickets, we would find the bright white then softly pink trillium. My mind wanders back to those places and times so often. We can’t grow laurel, the same type of rhododendron or the flame azalea here, but I have scattered as many trillium as possible just to bring forth a bit of home.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    May 22, 2019 at 1:05 pm

    AW may have a take on this to but – I grew up calling mountain laurel (Kalmia latifolia) “ivy” and the white-flowering rhododendron (Rhododendron maximum) “laurel”. It seems the laurel and ivy terms get thoroughly mixed in what they refer to within the range of the two species. If memory correctly serves, two other names for the”ivy” (Kalmia) is “sheepkill” and “calico bush”. The first comes from pioneer times when if the sheep browsed mountain laurel in winter in the search for something green it would kill them. The second name comes from the color variations from bud through bloom along with the brown limbs and green leaves reminded people of the floral design calico cloth.

    • Reply
      Tipper
      May 22, 2019 at 1:41 pm

      Ron-we do the exact same thing. I know the names are wrong but in my mind there’s Ivy and there’s Laurel 🙂

    • Reply
      aw griff
      May 22, 2019 at 2:07 pm

      Ron I have read that honey made from their blooms is poisonous.
      Years ago while hiking in the red river gorge I drank water that was running through the roots of a rhododendron thicket. I became dizzy and weak for about 2 hours. I didn’t know at that time there was anything poisonous about them. Maybe it was low blood sugar but anyway I’ll never chance that again.

  • Reply
    Mike McLain
    May 22, 2019 at 12:13 pm

    I have heard Rhododendron called Mountain Ivy, but never heard Rhododendron called Mountain Laurel. The plant that blooms in May is Mountain Laurel and the native Rhododendron, Rhododendron Catawbensis, with a different flower and much larger leaves, will not bloom until mid-June. The whole back of my yard is covered with a mix of both, so we wll enjoy the Mountsin Laurel for another week or so, then the native Rhododendron will bloom. Quite a show.

    • Reply
      b. Ruth
      May 23, 2019 at 1:01 am

      Mike…Same here…I’ve heard Mountain Laurel called Ivy for years…Because the leaves are so similar folks mix up Mountain Laurel with the native Rhododendrons…Both beautiful plants…When I hear Ivy I think of my Aunt who taugt school on Little Ivy, NC…then went on to Big Ivy, NC…LOL I was much older before I knew that Mountain Laurel was called Ivy in the mountains of my grandparents..LOL

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    May 22, 2019 at 10:56 am

    Tipper,
    One time Daddy took Mama up to Wayah Bald to see all the Mountain Flowers. There you could look down on Franklin and Highlands and the Rhododendron, Mountain Ivy, and Laurels were in bloom as far as you could see.

    We’ve Deer Hunted a lot up in there, saw several does, but never did harvest one from that area cause The Game Warden has a house right near the top. The Forest Service built it for them. Right near the Ridge Line, you take a deep left and drive a few miles to get to the Bald. I don’t know for sure if it’s May or June because of the elevation, but it’s a Beautiful place. After you drive a far piece, there is a paved path that leads to the top where a rock house is, and you can go inside to view and Behold such Beauty.

    At Cragy Gardens, about 35 miles North of Asheville, N.C. on the Parkway Road, you can see parts of seven states on a clear day and the trees are little bity things. …Ken

  • Reply
    aw griff
    May 22, 2019 at 9:14 am

    I rode up the holler recently on the ole family farm and the mountain laurel is in bloom but the honeysuckle blooms (pinxter azalea) were already gone. In NE. KY. the natives lump mountain laurel and rhododendron (rosebay) as all mountain laurel.
    At the risk of showing my sentimental side, I have always thought a rhododendron thicket looks sad on cold winter days with it’s evergreen leaves drooping down.

    • Reply
      Tipper
      May 22, 2019 at 9:53 am

      AW-me too!

      • Reply
        aw griff
        May 22, 2019 at 10:33 am

        Well Tipper, I don’t feel so foolish now.

    • Reply
      Ron Stephens
      May 22, 2019 at 12:52 pm

      AW I see you call the pinxter azalea ‘honeysuckle’ just like I did growing up. It seems to be a KY term as I have not heard it elsewhere.

      • Reply
        b. Ruth
        May 23, 2019 at 1:04 am

        My Dad from Mars Hill NC always called the Pinxter Azalea…pink honeysuckle…When I was a youngster all we ever saw here was the vine..native yeller to white or white to yeller…LOL

  • Reply
    Shirl
    May 22, 2019 at 9:02 am

    Sadly they don’t bloom in my part of the country. I have heard so much about the Mountain Laurel, it would be worth the trip just to see them. Lots of folks have made the trip only to find they had already bloomed. Someone told me the ivy blooms closer to home, just over the state line in Virginia around the Breaks Park area.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    May 22, 2019 at 8:21 am

    I saw some in the park on the river at Cherokee, NC nearly two weeks ago with dark red buds. There are several cultivars with color variations. I planted an all-white variety some years ago. They were originally found in the wild near Aiken, South Carolina.

  • Reply
    Elizabeth Wagoner
    May 22, 2019 at 7:42 am

    there is a difference in Mountain Ivy and Mountain Laurel. Love the Laurel best
    As a child growing up on the Tennessee side of the mountain, I couldn’t wait until spring when it made the mountains a wonderland.

  • Reply
    Gayle Larson
    May 22, 2019 at 7:25 am

    They have been especially full this year. Maybe from all the rain we have had. You hardly see any green at all. Hope they last for awhile.

  • Reply
    Tmc
    May 22, 2019 at 6:02 am

    Several years ago we traveled to the Smokies and caught them in full bloom, the beauty was indescribable. Would hope to do it again sometime.

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