Plants And Wildlife That Signal Spring Is In The Air

By Nikki Tilley | April 1, 2022
Image by Vasyl Rohan
by Nikki Tilley
April 1, 2022

Because our weather is so unpredictable, warm when it should be cold or cold when it should be warm, it’s often hard to tell when the seasons are changing. There are a few telltale signs that spring is near, though.

Harbingers of Spring in My Garden

Sometimes it feels as if we experience all seasons in just a one week! For instance, just this past week (mid-March at the time of this writing), we experienced near summer-like temps, then crisp autumn air followed by menacing winter winds and snow. And now we’re back to springtime weather. It’s crazy! So, when it comes to spring’s arrival, I have to rely on other clues besides just the current temperature, which can be misleading. 

Plants and wildlife are great indicators of weather conditions. For me, I can usually tell that the spring season is near by the first sounds of our spring peepers, aka tree frogs. Their lovely chorus can be heard every morning and late evening. They generally don’t come out until it remains relatively warm for an extended period. When I hear those sweet sounds, I know spring is close. My resident toad comes out from hiding soon after and I can always count on Toady to emerge once the warmth of spring is around for good. Robins are another harbinger of spring normally, but nowadays they seem to appear just as much during the milder days of winter.

Spring Plants

In addition to my wildlife friends that signal spring’s imminent arrival, the sudden popping up of chickweed and wild violets in the garden are good indicators too. When the flowerbeds begin filling with chickweed, spring is in the air. I used to deplore this weed. Now I embrace it. The plant is not only edible, but it makes a nice living mulch that my other plants don’t seem to mind, and it eventually dies back so I’ve decided to take on the “live and let live” approach while reaping its benefits. Wild violets are another harbinger of spring in my garden. Once I see the heart-shaped leaves appear, which soon give way to white or purple blooms, I know it’s safe to start planning my spring garden cleanup.

You’ll notice I didn’t mention the spring-flowering bulbs. There’s a reason for that. Many of them, especially daffodils, tend to sprout and bloom prematurely during our unseasonably warm winter days. By the time spring finally arrives, they have already gone kaput.

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