Appalachia Folklore Gardening

Spring In Appalachia


Bloodroot – Photo by Don Casada

Shortly after I started the Blind Pig & The Acorn back in 2008, I asked a few local folks what they remembered from the Springs of their childhood days.

Pap said

  • listening for the Spring birds
  • his father always planted potatoes on Good Friday
  • when its warm enough to see barefoot kids you know its spring

Ailene Tanner said

  • when the bloodroot blooms
  • when the Sarvis tree blooms
  • her mother always planted green beans on Good Friday

Mary Alice McCoy said

  • early blooming flowers
  • her mother said anything you plant on the first day of spring will live
  • her mother aired out all the quilts, mattresses, and pillows each spring

Spring always brings thoughts of new birth and starting over. But spring also reminds me of what went before, of the past.

Each spring as I drive the roads around my mountain home I see daffodils and yellow bells blooming where there are no houses, no buildings, just woods and grass.

I know the flowers are from old home places. Each spring as I look for them, I wonder who planted them? Was their life harder than mine? Happier than mine?

I like to think a mother like me planted them to add beauty to her life, or maybe it was a grandmother or grandfather who planted them, or even a husband trying to prove to his wife things would get better.

Spring is a new beginning, a new start. I just know the ones that planted the flowers, the ones that went before, have something to teach us if we will but listen.



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  • Reply
    Susie Swanson
    April 27, 2016 at 10:59 am

    I agree Tipper. There are lots of things to look at when spring arrives and all its beauty. We can only embrace it with a song in our hearts for new beginnings.

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    April 4, 2015 at 8:58 am

    The answer was Dandelion…
    We had gazillions of them in the Secret City…along walkways, drive ways, grassy medians, and lawns. One time a visitor from across the sea asked our local newspaper “What are those beautiful yellow flowers that bloom along all the sidewalks in your city?” In all her travels she had never seen anything so beautiful…In other mans weed is another ones beautiful flower!
    I remember helping spread the Dandelion seeds many times…as did all the children in the neighborhood…lol
    The poem THE DANDELION was written by John Tabb
    Thanks Tipper,
    PS…That Ed is such a smart fellow!

  • Reply
    Rev. RB
    April 3, 2015 at 9:29 pm

    Very poignant thoughts here today. I’ve always wondered about the early days of long gone old homesteads too.
    Here in Angier, NC, there is a lovely brick house where a couple once raised a family, then grew old and now are gone. Across the street from this house is an earthen bank in front of the woods that is just packed with what must be thousands of yellow daffodils.
    Each Spring when they bloom, I’m brought to wondering if the lady that once lived in that house planted all those bulbs so she could see the profusion of blooms out her front door each Spring. And I found out recently, I’m not the only one who’s noticed those blooms and have wondered about them.
    Whoever she was, each Spring, many of us here remember her with gratitude and kindness because of those beautiful blooms that herald the advent of Spring.
    God bless.

  • Reply
    Don Polite
    April 3, 2015 at 5:44 pm

    Thank you for putting the playlist back. I enjoy listening to it when I’m reading.

  • Reply
    April 3, 2015 at 5:16 pm

    No planting over here yet – we’re still in snow and mud – but if dizzy houseflies is a sign of Spring it must be so :). Always enjoy reading about your Appalacian life. Blessed Easter to you and yours!

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    April 3, 2015 at 5:04 pm

    and Ed….yes!

  • Reply
    Paul Certo
    April 3, 2015 at 4:00 pm

    We watch for the Redwings to come back, and now we’re waiting for Spring Peepers. Should be time about now.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    April 3, 2015 at 3:03 pm

    Could B.Ruth’s riddle be eaten in a salad or brewed into a tea? Could it leave brown tracks across a green lawn attesting to the effectivness of Round-Up?
    Could it be used as a childhood prank? Close your eyes and open your mouth!

  • Reply
    April 3, 2015 at 1:39 pm

    I love the change in the air this
    time of the year. You can tell
    Spring is here from all the new
    birth, and gardening time is near.
    The Good Lord planned the four
    seasons for us and I’m glad He did.

  • Reply
    Ken Ryan
    April 3, 2015 at 12:21 pm

    As spring nears I watch for the tiny azure bluets,the smell of yellow jasmine,and the blooming of the fringe trees (what we call grancy gray beards).

  • Reply
    Aquilla Yagoda
    April 3, 2015 at 12:02 pm

    My husband’s family firmly believe you can only plant peas on Good Friday.
    Spring meant yellow bells coming to life and all the budding spring flowers, including wild daisies.

  • Reply
    eva nell wike, PhD
    April 3, 2015 at 10:00 am

    Well Tipper: I can’t improve on Henry Horton’s story and his plans of devotion for an old home place! But let me tell you that I have more ‘MARCH FLOWERS’blooming than you could count!
    Eva Nell

  • Reply
    April 3, 2015 at 9:34 am

    Nothing sounds more beautiful than hearing the frogs for the first time in the spring. We always planted potatoes on Good Friday. There won’t be any planting in my area today unless it’s done indoors. It stormed all day yesterday and through the night as well. It’s still raining today with possible severe weather expected.

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    April 3, 2015 at 9:31 am

    Guess what this is? Then you will know what I remember about the first signs of Spring where I grew up as a child…..
    Thanks Tipper,
    PS…If folks will answer on your blog then I will give the source of my poem/riddle and IF the answer is correct…..

  • Reply
    Beatrice Bland
    April 3, 2015 at 9:21 am

    I really like Henry Horton’s description. Thanks for commenting.

  • Reply
    April 3, 2015 at 8:59 am

    There is nothing more beautiful for me than to see the beauty of spring, mother nature coming back from a long winter’s sleep, and the colors of the flowers. I realize then that my work with planting and preserving beauty was well worth it.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    April 3, 2015 at 8:44 am

    It is spring in Appalachia and I’m in my new home and happy as a pig in mud. The spring flowers are beautiful and oh so welcoming.
    My kids are 3 miles down the road, I can go to the gym every day. It feels like the spring of my life, even though I’m an old girl. Like the flowers, it’s a new beginning.

  • Reply
    Henry Horton
    April 3, 2015 at 8:25 am

    As usual, Tipper you set me up for the day and as i live my first Appalachian Spring and remember Ozark ones i know what you mean about those places where only daffodils and yellow bells show lives long past. Strange, those bits of living beauty so fragile and yet they remain after all else is gone. At the neighbors drive just down the creek stands a beautiful old fireplace and chimney, complete and intact. Have fantasied what it would be like to build a beautiful wood and glass cabin agin it. But will talk to the “owners” and see if they’ll let me ‘landscape’ it this fall; add to the few daffodils that remain and plant some yellow bells and wild roses and maybe a native clematis to climb the old stones. And maybe, just maybe, if i am quiet enough and reverent enough the spirits that hauled those rocks and warmed themselves by the fire will bless the work and the new wild garden and down the years hearts will leap each spring at the never ending beauty of an Appalachian Spring. Blessings be. Thank you. – hh

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    April 3, 2015 at 7:12 am

    I just love Spring in the mountains.

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    April 3, 2015 at 7:12 am

    I just love Spring in the mountains.

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    April 3, 2015 at 7:12 am

    I just love Spring in the mountains.

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    April 3, 2015 at 7:12 am

    I just love Spring in the mountains.

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