Saturday, March 24, 2012

Dogwood Winter

Dogwood winter is a term used by Southerners to describe a period of cold weather that coincides with the blooming of the local dogwoods.  Typically the dogwood trees bloom sometime between mid-April and mid-May (depending on the weather variations of the season) and such a cold spell is often the last winter-like weather of the season.

It is still March and I am wearing shorts and sandals!  We are having a very early summer spring.  I sure hope Mother Nature does not have a late surprise in store for us.  The dogwood is one of my favorite trees. There are several wild dogwood trees growing in the woods behind Thistle Manor.

Old-timers in the Appalachians know there are several named " little winters" following winter.  Blackberry Winter, Locust Winter, Whippoorwill Winter, Redbud Winter and even Linsey-Woolsey Britches Winter.  Being an excellent gardener, Grandmother Bessie was very familiar with these "winters."  Grandmother did not always have access to a calendar or the weatherman, she relied on the signs of nature.
Linsey-Woolsey britches is an old nickname for long johns, usually spun from a combination of linen and wool.  This end-of-spring cold snap marked the day when the Linsey Woolsey britches could be packed away for the season.

Folklore of the eastern United States tells gardeners not to plant until after the dogwood trees have bloomed.   Blackberry Winter will be in a few weeks.

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