Appalachia Wildflowers & Trees Of Appalachia

The Cheer Of Yellow Bells

yellow bells forsythia in Appalachia

Seeing Yellow Bells (Forsythia) in bloom is such a cheery sight. Taking a nod from Granny, I let mine grow wild and allow the yellow laden limbs to spray in whatever direction they decide to take.

I am beyond blessed. I hardly ever have a bad day, but recently I did have an absolutely frustrating day.

As I walked to my car that afternoon I spotted a rounded yellow bell by the corner of a building across the way. Silly I know, but seeing that rounded yellow glow made me teary eyed. Never mind that I had walked past it that morning with nary a glance in it’s direction-I guess I had walked by it for a good few days without noticing it.

I instantly felt a lift in my spirits and thought “Well that’s a nice gift to brighten my way.” I couldn’t wait to get home and see if the yellow bells that line my driveway were in bloom too. They were. I have no idea if they’ve been blooming for a few days or a week.

Back in the day when we first moved into our house and I was looking for things to plant in our barren red clay yard, Granny showed me how to plant yellow bells. She said “Come Spring of the year we’ll get you some cuttings from my forsythia bushes, all you have to do is stick them in the ground and they’ll live.”

It wasn’t that I didn’t believe Granny, but it seemed impossible that all I had to do was cut a piece off and stick it in the dirt and I’d have my own yellow bell bush. Nineteen years later those yellow bells are still alive welcoming Spring and bringing cheer.


You Might Also Like


  • Reply
    March 22, 2015 at 9:26 am

    The snow is melting down to under two feet now, and the dusting we got yesterday didn’t add much. Not a glimmer of flowers here yet, but soon the early leafing trees will be showing that mist of color on the hillsides, and then: Spring! Yellow bells! Skunk cabbage! Everything!!!

  • Reply
    Ruth Binder
    March 20, 2015 at 6:07 pm

    I love forsythias too, and agree with you that they should not be shaped but left free-flowing. As much as we look forward to them each year, last year was a very disappointing time in this part of Ohio. For some reason which has not been explained, very few of the forsythia bloomed at all. What a disappointment! Right now we’re looking forward to those bright yellow bells and trust this brutally cold winter will not hinder their appearance.

  • Reply
    Rev. RB
    March 20, 2015 at 4:50 pm

    Our maternal Grandma had the healthiest green thumb I’ve ever known in this lifetime. She could literally poke what looked like a plain old dead stick in the ground, and it would grow and flourish. That’s how the forsythias, pussy willow, willow trees and many other things she stuck in the ground came to be in the yard of our family home. And come Spring, the yard would be abloom with them all, along with many colors of lilacs, some in lightest lavender which are ancient and were in the yard when we moved there, along with others in white and deep purple that she got as suckers from bushes in a Great Aunt’s yard.
    Our youngest sister’s name is Cynthia, and as a little girl, she thought the yellow flowered bushes were called “For Cynthia” and were all for her. LOL
    God bless.

  • Reply
    Ethelene Dyer Jones
    March 20, 2015 at 4:34 pm

    In Choestoe, we called forsythia “March Flowers” (to indicate the month they bloomed there). Tipper (and others) call them “Yellow Bells.” Whatever the name, their beauty and persistence in blooming are unparalleled. Harbingers of spring, they can lift any “down, droopy” spirit with their golden glow! When I moved to Milledgeville 12 years ago from Epworth (near Blue Ridge, Ga–not Epworth-by-the-sea, but Epworth-near-Tennessee), I brought some Forsythia cuttings from my Epworth house. They had been taken from the Choestoe house (my childhood home) to Epworth–and some moved again to Milledgeville. They do well wherever I’ve encouraged them to root and take hold. And my reward: March flower blooms!

  • Reply
    March 20, 2015 at 1:44 pm

    Our yellowbells haven’t started to bloom yet but our crocuses have and are beautiful,still looking for the daffys too.We really enjoy your writing and the music,thank you for the recipes too!

  • Reply
    March 20, 2015 at 1:42 pm

    Daffodils are stating to show here; happy First Day Of Spring, everyone!

  • Reply
    Pamela Danner
    March 20, 2015 at 1:16 pm

    I love the bright cheery yellow of the forsythia and daffodils!You know it’s time for Spring when you see them. I also love the beautiful purple Lilac with it’s wonderful fragrance. I know what you mean about getting teary eyed. I had not seen a lilac in over 40 years and, one day saw a bush a picked some. I cried. I also carried them from room to room the whole week so I could enjoy their beauty and fragrance.

  • Reply
    March 20, 2015 at 11:39 am

    40 years ago my kids called it the Banana Bush. The un-opened flowers looked like tiny Bananas

  • Reply
    Mary Lou McKillip
    March 20, 2015 at 11:38 am

    Tipper, I love those yellow bells and have them growing here and in Mo. as well. I have a hedge of them so beautiful.

  • Reply
    Sheila Bergeron
    March 20, 2015 at 11:37 am

    You remember that scripture, something like be still and know He is God? That was just a reminder “I got your back Tipper, I got your back.” Daddy G always has us doesn’t He?

  • Reply
    March 20, 2015 at 11:18 am

    I love my Forsythia (yellow bells) bush. I look forward to its blooming every spring. Thanks for reminding me. It was one of the first bushes I planted at the house in NC. We had them as kids!

  • Reply
    Ken Ryan
    March 20, 2015 at 11:09 am

    I feel the same way about the yellow jasmines blooming. They bring back my childhood when the aroma fills the air.

  • Reply
    Ginny Peterson
    March 20, 2015 at 10:46 am

    You are so right this yellow flowered brush with the morning sun welcomes Spring into the area.
    I would sugguest you plant it where it has room to grow because they do like to spend and take over just a little.
    But a very hardy brush with lots of years to enjoy if placing them in the correct space.

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    March 20, 2015 at 10:25 am

    I know my Forsythias were not in bloom early on the morning of the
    18th as we drove down our driveway. We did notice a crabapple leafing out as we walked to the car…That evening, I couldn’t believe it how many blooms were open on them as we came back up the driveway. Most of the daffodils are blooming as well.
    This first day of Spring begins sometime late this evening. It is cloudy and overcast today with showers but I hope by tomorrow the sun will be shinning ushering in all the blooms…I love Spring!
    Our onion and leek slips arrived this week…It has been way to wet to even think about planting them…A little wind and sun should dry up our raised beds so we can get in some garden!
    Thanks Tipper,
    You are right…yellow is a cheerful color and peaks your mood!

  • Reply
    Paula Rhodarmer
    March 20, 2015 at 10:14 am

    Tipper, I love Yellow Bells too. Since they often bloom around Easter, my mother took a lot of pictures of us children in our Easter dresses standing in front of the Yellow Bell Bush. There are a few other old fashioned flowers that touch my heart in Spring; the Bridal Veil Bush, Violets, and that pink bush that I don’t know its name. Spring is a beautiful time in the mountains.

  • Reply
    March 20, 2015 at 9:27 am

    I always feel sorry for the clipped bushes.

  • Reply
    March 20, 2015 at 8:58 am

    I had never heard forsythia called “yellow bells” but they do brighten up a place.
    Our dewberries have just started to bloom. For the next few days heavy rains are predicted but I’m looking forward to carpets of white when the sun comes out again,

  • Reply
    Jane Bolden
    March 20, 2015 at 8:56 am

    Mine are blooming now. They came from my grandmother’s house. I hate to see them trimed like a bush.

  • Reply
    March 20, 2015 at 8:36 am

    Spring is here, and the forsythia and daffodils are going to be displaying their yellow flowers in this area soon. I had heard of yellow bells, but I did not realize they were forsythia. I used to cut them, bring them indoors, and let them bloom in water.
    Plantings can touch your heart very unexpectedly. My Younger sister and I once planted fast growing maples at my former residence. She proudly called them the sister trees. When I occasionally pass by those trees touch my heart, and they are such a sweet reminder of a sister who is no longer here.
    Cares of this life can sometimes cause us not to stop and smell the roses. Nature has such a gentle calming way of getting our attention.

  • Reply
    barbara Gantt
    March 20, 2015 at 8:19 am

    I love my yellow bells too. When we bought out house, there was one. I have rooted more and planted them around the yard. This time of year, I like to cut a few branches to bring inside. I put them in a jar of water and soon there are yellow bells in the kitchen. Ours wont be blooming til May. I miss those early Spring flowers in NC. Especially the dogwoods. Barbara

  • Reply
    Melissa P (Misplaced Southerner)
    March 20, 2015 at 8:03 am

    I was actually thrilled to find out that yellow bells grow up here in Michigan! It’s odd how happy it makes me that I didn’t have to leave ALL the plants I love behind when we moved north. No, azaleas and rhododendron aren’t common up here (some rhodies do make it). Actually, most of the plants of most of my life can’t make it through the double-digit below zero winters. The best growing of the lot are my forsythia! I planted three small bushes 12 years ago when we moved here. They are now large, unkept (the way I like them) shrubs. It will be several weeks before they start to bloom here, but you can bet your boots I’ll be happy to see them.

  • Reply
    March 20, 2015 at 8:01 am

    When the forsythia bush blooms, it’s a sure sign that spring has arrived. Your area must be way ahead of mine with the onset of my favorite season.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    March 20, 2015 at 7:55 am

    Tip, I’m sorry that you had that frustrating day and ever so grateful that the yellow bells were there to wash it away. Those yellow bells announce hope for the future with every glowing petal. I love them too. I remember them from my grandmother’s yard when I was a little girl. Her yard was always full of flowers of all kinds but it is the yellow bells I remember most.

  • Reply
    Don Casada
    March 20, 2015 at 7:38 am

    Cherokee County is several days ahead of Swain, apparently. I’ve got a bloom or two threatening, but that’s about it.
    I’d guess that I’ve found yellowbells growing at a quarter or a third of the old home sites in the Smokies. Keep in mind that it’s been between 70 and 85 years since folks lived in those homes.
    I’ve often wondered if there aren’t different strains of it. In some cases, there’ll be a single shrub or two – presumably staying put right where a Tipper/Granny-like forebear stuck a cutting in the ground. But I’ve also seen it spread out and cover an area of a thousand square feet.

  • Reply
    eva nell wike, PhD
    March 20, 2015 at 7:32 am

    Well Tipper: I have never heard the wonderful flowers called yellow bells. But I love their early show of color!
    HOWEVER I have a shrub with an
    earlier show (Feb) that is more beautiful! It is called ARNOLD’s PROMISE witch hazel! i discovered it in Nashville and could not resist buying it because IT BLOOMS IN TIME FOR MY DADDY’S BIRTHDAY in February! And it is still looking as good even now!
    Eva Nell

  • Leave a Reply