Happy Wednesday friends. It is cool here. Only about 50 degrees F right now and it is 7:00 PM. It is supposed to be 36 Degrees F in the morning at sunrise. Do you know what this means? It can only be Blackberry winter here in the south. You have probably heard me mention Redbud Winter and Dogwood Winter but those are not the only winters we have in the spring in the south. There are actually five little winters in Tennessee and they all take place in the spring. Let me explain.
After the weather starts to turn warm in early March, and some of our days can get really warm, we always have a few cold snaps. They almost always fall at the same time give or take a day or two. Farmers have used their belief in the “winters” to know when to plant crops. These little bits of cold weather are sometimes a shock to your system. Just when you think you have packed away all of those sweatshirts and sweaters and things, you wake up and it is 36 Degrees!!!! Frosts and freezes can occur which can damage or kill tender vegetation that’s already started blooming. So here are the five winters in the order in which they arrive.
Redbud Winter: This usually happens around late March or Early April when the Redbuds bloom. This one isn’t such a shock to the system because winter is still in the rearview mirror and we know it is awhile before true warm weather arrives.
Redbud blooms. They are only red when they first bud out then they turn purple.
Now the Redbuds look purple.
Dogwood Winter: This happens around mid to late April when the Dogwood trees are blooming. And well, it is just such a beautiful time that I think we barely realize that it has gotten a little colder. The Dogwood trees are flowering and the air is soft and it is just a nice sweet time.
Dogwood, my mama’s favorite.
Locust Winter: This happens in Early May when the Locust trees are blooming. I have to say this is one winter I haven’t ever really noticed that much. I remember thinking in Early May about a week ago that it got really cool for a couple of days and I was thinking is it Blackberry Winter? But I knew the blackberries hadn’t started to bloom. So I guess it was Locust Winter. I will pay more attention next year.
Blooms from a Locust tree
Blackberry Winter: This is what we are experiencing right now!!! It usually happens early to mid May. I know that almost every Mother’s Day Sunday it is cool and everyone attributes it to Blackberry Winter. Sure enough the blackberries are flowering in full force. But flowering is the key word. We won’t actually have blackberries until mid summer. They are only starting to bloom now.
Flowering Blackberries, they will not produce fruit until mid summer.
Britches Winter/ Whippoorwill Winter: This one is the last winter that we have in the south. It usually happens in late May. The way I know we are getting close to Whippoorwill Winter is the Whippoorwill start calling like crazy. This is usually at dusk, just after dark or early in the morning just before daylight. I love to hear the sound. There is a lot of folklore that surrounds a Whippoorwill call such as, does it foretell death, marriage or woe? Can your aching back be cured by its call? All I know is I love to hear the sound. The reason it is also called Britches Winter or Woolen/Britches winter is that it happens just when you think you have put your long underwear up for the winter and all of a sudden it is cold for a few days and you need it again. As I said I have always called it Whippoorwill Winter. And I love to hear the song.
So there you have it. The five “winters” in Tennessee. I hope you have enjoyed learning a little about them.
I added a category to my blog posts called Southern Secrets. I hope you enjoy those posts.
Love your day your way!!!