It was a long winter here in North Georgia…especially after living either in New Orleans or Coastal Georgia for the last twenty years. Spring arrived but I found that I couldn’t put away my winter clothes. I hadn’t seen nor worn my flip flops in nearly six months and I feared that I would never get the okay from the local farmers, so I could till the earth (or watch the men in the family do it) and plant the garden.
Eventually new life did spring forth.
And the fishing started long before it was warm enough for me to put my feet in the creeks…but others jumped at the chance.
Since we’ve only lived here during the fall and winter, many of the flowers are foreign to me.
My new favorite tree flower is the Tulip Poplar.
All winter long I had seen trees holding large dead seed packets that resembled dried tulips, but I had no idea how beautiful they would be in May.
The Tulip Poplar is one of the largest native trees to the Eastern United States, and in the virgin forests of the Appalachian Mountains it’s lowest limbs are found 80-100 feet off the ground. Most fast growing trees offer weak wood and therefore cheap lumber, but this is not the case with the Tulip Poplar. This fast growing and long lived hardwood, which can have a trunk up to 10 feet in diameter, is the perfect candidate for lumber. It is also highly regarded by bakers for the deep rich honey created from it’s nectar.
Of course when it comes to nectar, it is hard to compete with the intoxicatingly sweet smell of the honeysuckle. This vine literally grows everywhere in the mountains. It seems to grace every tree, bush, and fence post. As I worked planting my tomatoes, the odor drifted around me and I felt like I was gardening inside a Bath and Bodyworks store.
The Mountain Laurel and Rhododendrons blooms are just beginning to wane.
The blackberry blooms offer hope of sweet dishes like cobbler and jam in the months to come.
In the mountains it is a joy to see spring arrive and to see nature renew itself and begin living again.
I know that many despise Monday, but as a control freak and a lover of routine I’ve always been happiest sipping my morning coffee on this day. This is one of my favorite quotes regarding the first day of the week.
“Mondays are the start of the work week which offer new beginnings 52 times a year!”
― David Dweck