Dogwood Winter

Dogwood at Granny and Paps

Here, in the Southern Highlands of Appalachia, we have been experiencing Dogwood Winter. Each spring there is a cold spell of weather right around the time the Dogwood trees bloom. Folks throughout the south refer to this as Dogwood Winter.

A little over 2 weeks ago-we even had a skiff of snow settle on the early blooms in the area. Summer time temps are forecast for the next few days-and I’m ready for it.

Around the house today I noticed: bees buzzing, lettuce thriving, wild Iris and wild violets blooming.

Over the last week-we’ve began to eat from the bounty of our spring garden-radishes, lettuce, green onions, and spinach.

To increase our garden area-we had hoped to build several raised beds over the winter. With the downturn in the economy-the money just wasn’t in our budget to buy the materials.

I had given up on the idea-thinking it was something we would get to eventually-but not this year. The Deer Hunter surprised me by building the beds from logs cut from our property. So far-the only thing I have planted in this bed-is the Asparagus seeds Hubert shared with me.

I’m all into rustic-so I’m thrilled with the way they look-and by using the logs we don’t have to worry about chemicals leaching into the soil from lumber. My favorite thing about the beds-The Deer Hunter used what he had and made do-I like that mentality.

Hope you enjoyed peeking into my spring growing season. What about you-do you have a Dogwood Winter where you live? What’s growing in your yard or garden?


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  • Reply
    David Templeton
    April 29, 2009 at 2:21 pm

    Here on the prairies of northern Indiana the main thing people grow is a lawn and it’s funny, because it’s like some strange kind of narcissism by extension; some of them get out and cut their grass two or three times a week. And, just gleam when the neighbor notices it.
    My yard isn’t like a printed tee-shirt with me; I don’t care if people look at my yard or if they comment about it. I have grass just so I don’t get mud between my toes when I go out to the mailbox.
    But, still, I don’t like weeds coming up in the yard.
    So, for me, instead of a Dogwood Winter, I recognize what I call The Moon of The Dandelion.
    And, it must have been a big moon over the weekend because the dandelions are everywhere.
    Oh, well! With the dandelions, so also come the wild spring greens. I just picked a mess of curly dock and wild turnip greens yesterday. The mushrooms are up now in the woods, too, but that’s too much trouble.
    It’s a rite of spring with me; gathering greens and savoring the bounty. Oh, Lordy! There is nothing quite like the taste of greens.
    I don’t eat the dandelions,though; I spray them. And, hope the moon stays hid a while.

  • Reply
    April 26, 2009 at 12:14 pm

    We were looking at Dogwoods at the garden center yesterday. I love the blossoms. They are beautiful.
    I see the Deer Hunter is very good at improvising. We had wanted to purchase landscaping stones to edge our flower bed but with the economy the way it is, we used bricks that matched our house. My neighbour had hundreds of them and told us we could have as many as we wanted. I posted photos of the flower bed that’s going to be partially a vegetable garden this year. We can’t plant anything much for a while, but did transplant our rhubarb.
    Take care and enjoy your garden truck.

  • Reply
    Old Red Barn Co.
    April 26, 2009 at 9:43 am

    Sounds like your spring garden is doing well. Love the raised beds! Great job Deer Hunter Dude!

  • Reply
    noble pig
    April 25, 2009 at 9:43 am

    What a great idea with the logs. I am so happy ypu will have your garden.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    April 25, 2009 at 7:45 am

    Hi Tipper, the pictures are a real joy to look at. I am ready for warm weather.
    I remember Blackberry Winter as well as Dogwood. I always thought the little cold snaps helped these plants to bloom. But to tell you the truth I don’t know where I got that notion.
    The raised beds are a very good idea for your hill. You are fortunate to be married to a man who can do anything!!
    I don’t know if we lost our resourcefulness or if it was taken away from us by progress.

  • Reply
    Greta Koehl
    April 24, 2009 at 10:28 pm

    Your Deer Hunter is a real keeper. I would love it if my raised beds looked like that. The flowers are gorgeous; I am another one of those people who have never seen (or don’t remember seeing) wild iris, and I love iris of all sorts. Thanks for the pictures!

  • Reply
    April 24, 2009 at 9:08 pm

    I wish I had lettuce now! I do have some planted in a window box, and perhaps in a week or two… I think your new bed is perfect!
    It’s so wet here, Papa got the garden tractor stuck in the mud in the garden tonight, and I had to pull him out with the van! The farmers always say, “it’s too wet to plow…”

  • Reply
    Matthew Burns
    April 24, 2009 at 4:05 pm

    I’ve not heard of Dogwood Winter before, probably because our seasons are so late here on the mountain, that once the flowers, and blooms come out, it is pretty much late spring. I know we can’t plant without fear of frost until June 1. WE have our taters planted, and the other roots crops though.
    This past Monday & Tuesday, we had a snowstorm here. We got about 2 inches of accumulation, but its melted now, and it is in the mid 80’s! The chickens are so mixed-up, they don’t know whether to lay or roost! And I’ve seen the same tulip come up 4 times already this spring!
    I’m loving this music you have posted on here.

  • Reply
    April 24, 2009 at 12:57 pm

    Tipper I love the new beds! I only have a tiny little garden spot so there’s not room for much but I hope to have some tomatoes and squash soon. blessings, marlene

  • Reply
    April 24, 2009 at 12:24 pm

    Hi Tipper, we have what we call a Blackberry Spell. We had it a couple weeks ago, and I brought in the rosemary and lavender. We have been in the 80’s and 90’s the past few days. I want it to cool back down! Love your raised beds. So nice to look at.

  • Reply
    Fishing Guy
    April 24, 2009 at 11:21 am

    Tipper: It is wonderful to see the garden producing. We are not far enough into spring to grow anything. The nights have been in the 30’s and the grond is too cold to sprout.

  • Reply
    The Appalachianist
    April 24, 2009 at 10:09 am

    Tipper, myself, I planted Creasy Greens…I know, but, I wanted them in the back yard, Butter Nut Squash, Crooked Nack Squash, Trucker’s White Corn, and some Silver Queen. Onc it all gets about a foor high, I’ll plant the beans to grow up the stalks. I’m doing it Indian style, my corn is in pods of four stalks with the squash in between. Dog Wood Winter, wasn’t all too bad. Still got Black Berry Winter to go. It better be a nice one, too many gardens being counted on.

  • Reply
    Sheila Bergeron
    April 24, 2009 at 9:43 am

    Hello! You have a lovely garden and the raised bed was smart. We don’t have a dogwood winter, just have a cold spell the last minute like this year. In the spring I always look for redbud trees then dogwood and pear blossoms. I think the thistles are pretty too.

  • Reply
    April 24, 2009 at 9:43 am

    Beautiful! I love Dogwood! My mom says where she lives once the daffodils bloom it’s sure to snow once more. At my house it’s rain, rain and more rain but this week we had sun and I loved every minute of it.

  • Reply
    April 24, 2009 at 8:57 am

    we have had lovely summery days here its been lovely

  • Reply
    Julie at Elisharose
    April 24, 2009 at 8:52 am

    Love the pictures! What a beautiful area you live in.
    I think logs are awesome. A few years ago my mother and I thinned out our own yards and went to surprise a friend of mine who lived in a rent house with a barren yard. We made a bed on the side of her garage with a fun mixture of ferns and other shade loving plants. We edged it with some logs from our pile of firewood. I know it won’t last forever, but it looked great. I was so pleased with the result. Very earthy and woodsy.
    Good luck with the asparagus. One of my favorites.

  • Reply
    April 24, 2009 at 8:49 am

    Tipper, those radishes are beautiful! I’m jealous – our soil here is just too dense and full of clay for radishes to do any good. Your lettuce looks really pretty, too!
    Yep, that dogwood winter never fails. The only cold snap we have left is blackberry winter, then we should be good for the rest of the spring.

  • Reply
    April 24, 2009 at 12:06 am

    What a neat idea for your raised bed garden. I wish I had the space for one. I’m just planting a small herb garden in the small area I have that gets sunlight.

  • Reply
    April 23, 2009 at 11:14 pm

    That pink dogwood is beautiful! And I don’t guess I’ve ever seen a wild iris. Beautiful!
    All kinds of things planted. Nothing up yet. I’m beside myself with anticipation.

  • Reply
    Helen G.
    April 23, 2009 at 11:11 pm

    I don’t remember any term for a late winter storms growing up here in Oklahoma, but it sure wasn’t unusual to have snow on Easter weekend. Being raised in the city I missed out on a lot of the old sayings like this. Your photos are beautiful and as soon as I get to feeling better I’ll be outside taking photos of what is blooming out.

  • Reply
    April 23, 2009 at 10:59 pm

    I like your new “rustic” asparagus bed. Reminds me of some years back when we moved to a little house in the country on a hill. We worked hard digging out the rocks –some as big as my head– to make a hillside garden. But, I was never satisfied, always extending the end of a bed. When I had no more handy rocks to pile up, I raided the wood pile for the extensions. It worked. Sorta. We had a lot of good veg from those beds.
    Now, I’m gardening in the backyard at the edge of town. I’ve just finished planting my summer garden. A little late this year because the weather has been a bit odd. I really like dogwoods, but they aren’t grown much here, probably because this is such a hot, arid area.

  • Reply
    Coach Daley
    April 23, 2009 at 9:47 pm

    Your pink Dogwoods look wonderful. I planted some in my yard about three years ago. The white ones are just now having a little color but the pink ones are slower to turn out. They’ll come though I guess.
    We do have the Dogwood winter but it is often a little more tragic where I am. Maybe 100 miles south of you but enough that the plants come out just a little earlier. And that is the trouble b/c if the cold snap is too cold it kills. This year wasn’t so bad and new foliage just got blackened. But last year it got so cold that it killed much of the new leaves on the trees. Two Japanese Maples had half of their leaves dead all summer and all of the leaves of my Ginko tree died and had to regrow. That took a good couple of weeks.
    The bad part about winter here is that if it never gets really cold we have twice the bugs out about this time. So I like the Dogwood winter in that it makes sure that only the hardiest of bugs live and all of the weaker ones just don’t make it.
    At any rate I’m glad I have screened in a portion of my deck.
    The Deer Hunter is a good guy to make sure you got what you wanted.
    Coach Daley

  • Reply
    Dee from Tennessee
    April 23, 2009 at 9:29 pm

    Dee from Tennessee
    Throughout springtime, we always have Dogwood winter, Blackberry winter and Redbud Winter…

  • Reply
    April 23, 2009 at 9:26 pm

    Love your new raised bed. The logs are great instead of boards. What a great idea! Your climate is so much warmer than mine ~ we have another month of changeable weather. So far we have ducked the snow that was forecast for this afternoon. I can’t believe you are already harvesting veggies from your garden!

  • Reply
    April 23, 2009 at 9:08 pm

    Love your pictures. Unfortunately, we haven’t planted anything yet. The only thing we have growing are flowers which come up every year.

  • Reply
    April 23, 2009 at 8:56 pm

    I say Dogwood or not…I am all wintered out. We did not plant any early spring seeds. We typically wait until Derby weekend to plant. So, all is tilled and waiting. We had some cold temps in the low 30’s earlier this week. My husband had said (a couple of weeks ago) that he had built his last fire in the wood stove. He had to eat those words.

  • Reply
    April 23, 2009 at 8:30 pm

    Oh yeah, we’ve had dogwood winter but I think we’re through it now. I’m ready myself. I envy your garden. One day…
    Right now, all we have growing in the yard are some wild violets, honeysuckle, some wild onions and another pretty little purple flower. We’ll have wild strawberries soon under the weeping cherry. I kinda like the wildness.

  • Reply
    April 23, 2009 at 7:03 pm

    I could have cried to see that snow on that beautiful blooming tree!
    We have had a cold snap too, but warming up this week-end.
    I went ahead and planted some more hosta plants in the front bed. My oriental lilac is budding…it smells heavenly in bloom! My yard slopes downhill and I don’t think I could plant a decent garden and tend it like I should so I will be trecking a few blocks over to the Farmer’s Market every Saturday. It is all local grown only so you have to get there early to get the good stuff.

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