Appalachia Appalachian Dialect Wildflowers & Trees Of Appalachia

It’s Green Up Time

Mountains turning green in spring

Photo by Don Casada: taken from Shuckstack fire tower looking NW towards Gregory Bald. The drainage coming down from the middle right to lower left is Twentymile Creek. 
The ridge just left of center that descends down to the creek which is leafless on top and fairly advanced on its lower end is Long Hungry Ridge.

One of my favorite aspects of greening up is the up part here in the mountains. You need to be at a place where you have a view of a mountainside with a couple thousand or more feet of elevation range. Down at the lower elevations, the trees will have taken on their dark summer hue. The shade of green grows lighter and lighter as you look up the mountain until there’s but a faint hint of green that’s taken holt in the warm pocket on the south face of a hollow.

Above that, occasional splotches of white-pink from sarvis blooms or maple seed reds show all the more brightly against the unashamed naked browns and grays at the higher elevations. 

How sad it must be to live in a city surrounded by things made by man.

Flowers springing, birds singing, mountains greening, and the gloaming lingering are reminders that in spite of all the craziness in this world, the One who made it is still in control, as Robert Browning asserted a couple of centuries ago:

The year’s at the spring,
And day’s at the morn;
Morning’s at seven;
The hill-side’s dew-pearl’d;
The lark’s on the wing;
The snail’s on the thorn;
God’s in His heaven –
All’s right with the world.

—Don Casada 2016

Like Don I enjoy looking at the green as it moves on the mountains, but I also enjoying noticing the first leaves from my favorite place to sit in the livingroom.

When the first hint of green appears out the window I can almost believe if I watch closely I can count the leaves as they unfurl, but that never happens. I notice the creeping green until suddenly one day I look through the glass and see a world of green and realize the trees have all put on their summer garments.

Last night’s video: Eat Dandelions: They’re one of the Super Foods, They’re Free, and They Taste Great!


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  • Reply
    Cheryl Miller Brown
    April 27, 2022 at 7:31 pm

    Tipper, this may be a bit off subject, but I had a couple of questions. I just retired from the Culinary Arts Institute at Mississippi University for Women (was in management-not a chef) During one of my Spring trips to Maggie Valley, NC one of our chef instructors called me to ask that I bring him some ramps. A little 12 yr old boy dug the ramps for me & brought them to my motel along with sassafras tea his Mom had made & some branch or creek lettuce he picked by the creek. The best I remember the chef put some of the ramps in stock the students were making, and the students cooked them in eggs & spinach. Some students liked the ramps, some hated them. Can you or your great subscribers tell me what you do with creek/branch lettuce? Also, does sassafras tea have any nutritional value & do you make the tea out of the root? In addition, what does a sassafras plant look like & does it only grow in the Spring & is it a wild plant? I always told the Chefs that they were going to starve to death & die if they didn’t start eating cornbread and Southern Food. Most of our chefs were from up North.
    Warm regards to you & all of your wonderful subscribers!

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    April 27, 2022 at 11:09 am

    Not surprisingly, that “sweet swan of Avon” (William Shakespeare) considered April his favorite month and wrote about it frequently in his timeless works. My favorite quotation from him in that regard is: “April hath put a spirit of youth in everything.”

    That is certainly the case. Somehow the world’s annual reawakening infuses extra vitality not only in plants but in humans. There’s more pep in an old man’s step and more sprightliness in a young lad’s boisterous doings.

    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    Hank Skewis
    April 27, 2022 at 10:42 am

    Beautiful! Thank you for sharing.

  • Reply
    April 27, 2022 at 10:38 am

    I’m from E.KY. and we do have some beautiful places like the many gorges and the mountains in the SE. but they don’t have the beauty of the Smoky Mountains. If I could have chosen my place to have grown up in, it would have been the Smokies. I hope to be able to make it there at least one more time.

  • Reply
    April 27, 2022 at 10:32 am

    Sadly, I no longer live in the mountains, but in area with plenty of farm land close by, lots of trees around us and wooded land behind us. I feel blessed to see the changing of the seasons and love them all. In Spring the beauty of the colorful blossoms and green foliage. In summer everything is fully alive and growing in gardens, fields and activities all around. In fall the changing of the leaves, bountiful harvest and in winter with all the leaves gone one discovers places, structures and roads that were hidden by all the camouflage that Spring and Summer had hidden.
    If I had to chose Spring would be my favorite because it reminds me how God makes all things new again in every area of His creation. Just like His Son, Jesus, gives us New Life through His redeeming blood and His amazing Grace.

    • Reply
      Kathy Patterson
      April 27, 2022 at 10:18 pm

      Your description of the seasons is beautiful. Yes, Spring is so special in many ways. I like spring for all the reasons we talk about plus, I enjoy seeing the new calves that are born when it gets warm. Kathy Patterson

  • Reply
    Dan O’Connor
    April 27, 2022 at 10:00 am

    Nice post Don, I hope all is well with you old friend.

    • Reply
      Don Casada
      April 27, 2022 at 12:20 pm

      Doing as well as a old man has a right to expect, Dan! Hope the same for you.

      For some greening up pictures that I was too slow on the draw to get to Tipper (took them yesterday with intent of getting them to her today), take a look at the Friends of the Bryson City Cemetery web site:

  • Reply
    April 27, 2022 at 9:47 am

    My husband always loved Spring! He thought of it as all nature coming to life. In looking out on the flower bed or fruit trees blooming in early spring, I am constantly filled up with an excitement of joyous feeling in my spirit. Even as I drive down country roads, the spring scenery is awesome – Red Buds blooming, Dogwoods blooming, Apple trees blooming, Tulip trees blooming. Many times I am saying out loud, thank you Lord for letting me see such a beautiful display of your creation.
    In your video on cooking dandelion blooms, as you took them out on a plate, I said, “It looks like Okra,” and the next second in your video you said it looks like Okra fried up:) I sure love Okra but never ate dandelions, although I’m always trying to get rid of them in the lawn. I have seen videos on you tube showing that they can indicate what type of soil you have in your yard and they say if left alone, over time, they will actually remedy the problem of compacted clay type soil. It may not only be good to eat but all so good for the soil.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    April 27, 2022 at 9:21 am

    I love a mountain view from just that kind of distance. There is an every-shifting kaleidoscope of colors; textures; shadows; wind ripples; snow, rain and fog plays and more. At greater distance they become indistinguishable and become the blue haze, also beautiful but much less changeable.

    I also love to watch the green-up climb the mountain sides. I wonder just how many shades of green there are come spring? It must surely be in the hundreds, maybe more. There are the bronze-green holdover leaves of Christmas fern or galax on the dark end. And there is the white-green of opening buds. In between is such a range many of them must not have a name.

    And then in fall, there is a reverse color progression. The poplar that was the first will be the first to turn yellow. And the northern red oak that waited till nearly last to leaf out will hold its deep red leaves when all the others are already bare.

  • Reply
    April 27, 2022 at 8:47 am

    Two weeks from now …Spring will just be starting too bloom up on the Blue Ridge ParkWay …

  • Reply
    Martha Justice
    April 27, 2022 at 8:13 am

    I fried dandelion blooms in the past and they are tasty.The only discouraging fact for me was that I have a big family so I could not keep up with the demand .LOL. Back during the depression my daddy’s sister used every part of the dandelion plant to feed her family. Where there’s a will there’s a way. LOVE CELEBRATING APPALACHIA ❤

  • Reply
    Larry Paul Eddings
    April 27, 2022 at 8:01 am

    I love this time of the year. Watching Spring green up as the leaves steadily advance up the sides of the Sequatchie Valley to the tops of the surrounding mountains is a wonder to behold. Don is right, God is still in control.

  • Reply
    April 27, 2022 at 7:47 am

    The greening of the hills is indeed a welcoming harbinger of spring giving way to summer. I’ve always heard when the leaves pop out on the top of the mountain, then you can plant above ground. The poem was enjoyable as well. Then I see dandelions was the hot topic on your YT. There’s something I’m into right there- natural stuff. It’s worth the looking up on dandelion root tea and flower tea too for what ails you. I hear it combats inflammation. I am not above a dandelion leaf salad either. Enjoy the trees greening up- I know I have and will (if I live.) I’m not sick as far as I know but I can’t tell you if I will be earthbound or heaven sent by this time tomorrow. I mean who knows such a thing. But for today, I’m here thank the Good Lord!

  • Reply
    April 27, 2022 at 7:37 am

    The changing of the seasons are delightful. I’m one of those that watches for the very first change in leaves for Fall. Around here that’s usually the sumac.

  • Reply
    April 27, 2022 at 7:36 am

    That is something I had not noticed, but then maybe my mountains are not as tall or are north of your mountains. I need to pay more attention! What I always loved was that brief time when the mountains take on a dusty rose hue from the zillions of small buds. I chose most of my life to use my profession so I could be outdoors and see daily the changes nature brings with the seasons. No matter the stress or problems life brings, I could just always have my spirit lifted by feeling the sunshine and hearing the birds, as I viewed God’s beautiful works. I lived in a city and did not like that every tree was a big deal. I recall as a child when the coal mines were booming, there was a dark dust that would even settle on the leaves of the trees. The constant running of the coal trucks and coal trains left a dusty film on everything, I loved the way each year the leaves would begin anew, and with new undergrowth every ugly thing was soon covered. For a time the forest and mountains were again beautiful. I never see dust covered trees anymore as the coal trucks no longer run constantly.

  • Reply
    April 27, 2022 at 7:28 am

    “How sad it must be to live in a city surrounded by things made by man.” Tipper, I couldn’t agree more. I know some people love the city but I could not imagine living in a place surrounded with high rise buildings and not having any nature to observe and live in. We love being outdoors and bathing in all of God’s amazing creation. I love the changing of the seasons and Spring is my favorite followed by Fall. I am SO thankful that God is truly in control. Some may not think it with all that is going on in the world but He IS working to bring about his purposes, we just need to be patient and wait on His timing and continue to trust Him. Tipper, we are so thankful for you and that you acknowledge our Heavenly Father.

  • Reply
    Sanford McKinney
    April 27, 2022 at 6:29 am

    My Mother used to roll pumpkin bloom in cornmeal and fry them. Not sure if she used “beat-up” eggs. I do remember the blooms were gathered early in the morning because they were fully opened and tender. The bloom had a flavor somewhat like fried squash. Do not remember eating fried Dandelions, but have eaten the leaves, stewed.
    I just did a search and came up with the following about pumpkin bloom being edible.

    Is pumpkin flower edible and what are its culinary uses …
    With bright yellow colour, pumpkin flower is a part of winter squash plant that’s popular for its association with Halloween. Contrary to the claims, this flower is very much edible and is popular in southern India. Fresh pumpkin flowers are plucked to prepare thoran, which is best enjoyed with rice.

  • Reply
    Glenda G. Page
    April 27, 2022 at 6:08 am

    To see the terrain with no leaves and vegetation is interesting…you wonder, where have all those things been?..and as soon as the greening begins you realize what the green has been hiding. I always look forward to the sweet light color at the beginning of Spring and the vibrant green in the summer…such are the times of life.. God Bless and thanks for your insight.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    April 27, 2022 at 5:58 am

    I love the greening in the mountains, it is a majestic thing to see! We are fortunate to live right here in the middle of it! We don’t call this God’s Country for nothing!

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