Appalachia Seasons

Two Seasons in One Day

Spring In Appalachia

“The  morning had started out cold, but grew progressively warmer. That was how spring announced itself in the mountains. Days were chilly at their beginnings, but by noon or thereabouts, everything changed, and temperatures could leap up with giddy abandon, like small children allowed to go barefoot again for the first time since last August. Cold and then hot: A spring day in the mountains was like two different days. It was as if —during this one magical season—your time on earth suddenly doubled.”

—Julia Keller – “Bitter River”

Spring days in Appalachia do often feel like two different seasons. There may be a skiff of frost on the windshields of a morning and by evening its warm enough to contemplate wading in the creek.

Wednesday our temps are forecasted to dip back into the upper twenties making me glad all my tender plants are still safe and warm in the greenhouse.


Subscribe for FREE and get a daily dose of Appalachia in your inbox

You Might Also Like


  • Reply
    Gerald Brinson
    April 22, 2021 at 8:57 am

    I was just trying to remember all the Springtime “winters” we have around here:
    Dogwood Winter, Redbud Winter, Blackberry Winter, and Linen-Britches Winter are all I can think of at present.

  • Reply
    Doug Bishop
    April 21, 2021 at 10:15 am

    Today, 20 April , in SE Illinois started out cool, progressed to freezing with snow fall. Was the latest snow in many years.

  • Reply
    April 20, 2021 at 8:02 pm

    We could possibly have frost Wednesday and Thursday nights in Richmod, Virginia. Last year we had frost on Mother’s Day!

  • Reply
    April 20, 2021 at 4:39 pm

    I think we are having black berry winter. The redbud and dogwoods have already bloomed here in Good ole Tn. Well the frost got our pear tree. I hate that. It also kill 2 if our beautiful pink bloom trees we set out . Also one of my snow ball bushes. (Nature) no stoping it.

    • Reply
      April 20, 2021 at 9:27 pm

      Sometimes you can stop nature, Gigi. Here in New York and Pennsylvania we grow fig trees but we have to wrap them up every winter and they have survived for decades and give lots of fruit in summer. I don’t know about pear trees, but it might be worth learning how to winter them. I do know that in some areas people have to cover the pear trees at night and sometimes even during the day because of winter sunburn. Sometimes I think there is more to growing trees and gardens than to growing kids. Why don’t you go online and see if you might want to try another pear tree. Good luck.

  • Reply
    Allan Guy
    April 20, 2021 at 1:19 pm

    We had two inches of snow this morning in Kansas City. This afternoon it is supposed to be close to 60 degrees

  • Reply
    April 20, 2021 at 12:39 pm

    Roller Coaster Weather here too – – our winter got so cold (Texas) that even several of our “Live Oak” trees didn’t survive – – I’d never seen them suffer from our usual Texas winters.

  • Reply
    Wanda Devers
    April 20, 2021 at 11:26 am

    I love Julia Keller’s books. In fact I was just now sorting through them–I will keep them all.

    We were gifted a lot of plants–many , many cabbages, several tomatoes, cucumbers (I have never done anything but seed directly), a lot of onions, and almost a full tray of thyme. Here in Middle TN we are expecting a temperature around 35 tonight. I’ve got a tiny greenhouse but it is already full. We’ll have to cover them up with something. The old folks used to say we could plant after Good Friday but if we had it would have frozen several times.

  • Reply
    April 20, 2021 at 9:09 am

    I suppose this is the first year in I cannot remember when that I have not had a garden. I am needed elsewhere. Maybe I will be fortunate enough to sneak some onions and lettuce in the flower bed. I always thought and hoped to be planting something my last day on earth , and that is still the plan. My Grandpa continued to plant even with Dementia. I was always taught in my Appalachian upbringing that our paths are kinda already laid out. So, I will just make myself happy with some herbs in the window for the Summer. Then I will recharge by catching up daily on how Tipper’s garden is coming along and maybe some BP readers sharing their garden stories. Many a day I have scattered sheets all over the garden only to run and remove in time to go to work. I read that after a frost to spray the blossoms on a tree with water early before the sun hits them. One year I had apples on one side of a tree.

  • Reply
    April 20, 2021 at 8:46 am

    The weatherman said we should stay up late tonight to watch ‘the show’ that will start around midnight. Heavy snow is predicted later tonight after we enjoy a 70 degree day with lots of sunshine. We always dress in layers about seven months out of the year here in KY. My poor fruit trees have survived some brutal 20 degree mornings this month but they may not be so lucky in the next 24 hours.

  • Reply
    Gayle Larson
    April 20, 2021 at 8:36 am

    I was told by a neighbor when I moved here that planting before Mother’s Day was a waste of time and money. I think he was right and I have followed this rule most years. I did plant early a few times and had to cover and pray my plants would survive.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    April 20, 2021 at 8:34 am

    Yep, about now is the battle of winter and spring. Spring wins but they have a tussel for awhile. I think it is blackberry winter. At least my blackberries are starting to bloom. We are not forecast to reach freezing and I can usually escape a general frost now. Might frost down on the creek. I am on the upper third of a south-facing slope. I am really suprized to hear you all are going back into the twenties in mid-April. Surely that must be a rare event.

    I did plant corn and okra too soon. Just hoping it will wait in the ground and germinate later. I do have cucumber up. Hope they do not take “cold sets”. Not worried about tomatoes or peppers. They will just sit and think about it a bit longer.

    • Reply
      April 20, 2021 at 11:05 am

      Dogwoods are just now blooming here so I’ll be having another round of cold temperatures when blackberries bloom. Oh well!

  • Reply
    Gary Smith
    April 20, 2021 at 8:21 am

    “Of a morning” is a phrase I haven’t heard in a while. You usually hear “in” the mornings or simply mornings.

  • Reply
    Ray Presley
    April 20, 2021 at 8:13 am

    Our little corner of Pennsylvania, lying just five miles north of the Mason-Dixon Line, doesn’t know whether it’s North or South. And it provides an abundance of “roller coaster” weather. Tonight it will go down into the 20s after having been in the 70s yesterday. Our spring plants are inside the garage, but the new bulbs I put in the ground about two weeks ago, won’t dare come out until some time next month. They even forecasted snow to the NW of us yesterday. Be glad you don’t have that in Brasstown.

  • Reply
    Margie G
    April 20, 2021 at 8:04 am

    I was just thinking yesterday about how in Appalachia we can see 3 or 4 seasons in a single day and just probably how rare such an occurrence is in other parts of this country and the world. I’m completely OVER the cold and simply must roll my big brown eyes about the “S” word- snow! If I want cold and snow, I will stick my head in the freezer until sense returns….my plants will have to come in tonight and others will have to be covered in their pots with heavy plastic to hopefully survive. But I know anything goes weather wise until about May 5 in southern WV. Stay snug, y’all!!!

  • Reply
    April 20, 2021 at 7:52 am

    Lovely thought, 2 seasons. Spring is my favorite, but as you said as quickly as new life comes toward a killing freeze is around the corner until May 10th. Many a gardeners work Will be laid to waste in the next couple of days if precautions aren’t taken.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    April 20, 2021 at 7:49 am

    I have some herb plants ready to go in my little herb garden but I knew better than to put them out yet. We almost always have some cold mornings while spring is trying to break through the winter chill. Here is my rule of spring planting…I plant when Tipper plants!

  • Reply
    Janet Smart
    April 20, 2021 at 7:25 am

    It is like that where we live. We know not to plant in the garden yet, but unfortunately my perennials come up way too early and my fruit trees and bushes bloom way too early and we end up having to cover up what smaller plants that we can a number of times in April. We are forecast to have a couple of very cold mornings this week and I’m afraid my pears, apples and blueberries may suffer from it. But that’s the way it is and we just have to get used to it happening every spring.

  • Leave a Reply