Sunday Story: The Winters of Spring

Due to today’s storm threat, the Sunday Story was delayed….until now!

The cold, wet winter we just experienced has many folks begging for the warm days of spring. There’s nothing quite like watching the trees bud and the flowers bloom.

With the coming of spring we have to expect the occasional nips of cool air that come down from the north from time to time. These cool snaps keep us on our toes with our tender vegetation that tries to bud early. Keep in mind that the average last frost for the plateau is around the second week of May.

A southern tradition is to name our spring cold spells. The name of the cold spell is associated with whatever tends to be blooming at that time.

There are five “winters” that you may be most familiar with. The first is usually Redbud winter. That corresponds to the blooming of the Redbud trees. Next is Dogwood winter, a time of chilly weather when the Dogwoods are in bloom. Native Americans looked for this winter as a sign to begin planting corn.

Locust winter usually follows Dogwood winter and coincides with the blooming of the Locust trees. That winter is followed by Blackberry winter. A frost on the blackberry bushes signals the blackberry canes to start growing.  

There’s also a lesser known type of winter known as Cotton Britches winter. This is usually the last of the winters. Folklore says that, ‘When this little cold spell is over, you can put on your cotton britches because winter is over.”

Other folks believe the last winter is called Whippoorwill winter. This cold snap is the least harsh of them all and coincides with the time when Whippoorwills are calling for a mate.

Enjoy that beautiful spring weather but stay on guard for that next cool snap, whatever you choose to call it!


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