In Bloom: See and Taste Early Signs of Spring in the Garden
There’s something truly special about this time of year. The hustle, bustle and cheer of the holiday season is past, we’ve enjoyed the chill of winter and time spent around the fire, and – if you’re like me – you’re ready to get outdoors and into the garden.
As winter wanes, I keep a close eye out for signs of spring approaching at my garden retreat at Moss Mountain Farm. Both blooms and garden delicacies remind me that a new year full of promise is about to take to shape.
When it comes to blooms, daffodils are one of my first thoughts when spring comes to mind. At my farm, we have planted 300,000 (yes, I truly love daffodils) bulbs to create a blanket of yellow for the land around my home. Daffodils are one of the first plants to bloom, and I love how their cheerful shape and color seems to remind us to perk up and welcome warmer days.
While I might be partial to daffodils, they aren’t the only signs that spring is in the air. The branches of forsythia, witch hazel and quince all bloom as winter draws to a close. If you’re looking for a bloom that is not only attractive, but also enlivens your sense of smell, seek out winter honeysuckle. These fragrant blooms can transport you to a sunny day in no time.
You may also have noticed these blooms aren’t newcomers to our farm landscape. I think the nostalgia of seeing a specific bloom year after year plays a key role in alerting us to the start of a new season. Perhaps we saw winter honeysuckle while riding our bikes at our family’s homestead, or we may recall sunny daffodils popping up in our mother’s garden.
Whatever the reason, if these blooms signal spring in your mind, I encourage you to plant a few of your own next year.
At my farm, flowering plants aren’t the only ones noting spring’s arrival. What’s growing in the vegetable garden is equally important. I love to enjoy spring delicacies, such as fiddlehead greens, mushrooms, asparagus and leeks. Just as the blooms of spring hold a bit of nostalgia, so do these vegetables. You’ll begin to see them appearing in your garden (and hopefully on your menu) around the same time you take note of spring blooms. Filling your plate with these vegetables while they are at their peak can take you back to a family gathering in no time. Just like the blooms, I encourage to you plant these seasonal delicacies and enjoy the goodness of spring!
Nature’s Signs of Spring
After winter’s coldest days pass, you start to notice a sense of optimism or expectation in the air. The trees seem to perk their limbs slightly, the sky loses its gray and becomes just a bit bluer, and fresh green grass starts to peek up from the ground. What’s more, we are all ready to get out of the house and explore nature once again. Here are a few of the signs of spring I look for on walks around my farm this time of year:
A Greener Outlook: As I mentioned, greening grass is one of the first signs we often notice to signal spring is on its way. However, it’s not just the grass – look for shrubs, vines and trees to all start slowly taking on the shade of spring.
Peeking Buds: Remember all those bulbs you planted in the fall? Look for them to make their debut and watch for quick growth over the coming weeks. This is one of my favorite signs of spring!
Barnyard Activity: Just like us humans, animals tend to take it easy and find a warm place to relax in the winter. However, at the first hint of spring, the sheep, dogs and chickens at Moss Mountain Farm are more active than ever. They seem to know longer, warmer days are headed their way.